Senate GOP Faces Tricky Vote On House-Passed Budget
Democratic leaders are terming this week's Senate vote on the House-passed Ryan budget, including its proposal to revamp Medicare, a "defining issue." Meanwhile, some Republican senators have announced that they won't back the plan.
The Hill: Reid: House Republican Budget Would 'Shatter A Cornerstone Of Our Society'
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) opened the Senate on Monday with a fierce attack on the House Republican budget, which the upper chamber is scheduled to take up later this week. Reid ripped the GOP budget for its proposed reforms to Medicare, which Democrats for weeks have been criticizing. "The Republican plan would shatter a cornerstone of our society and break a promise to our elderly and to our sick," Reid said. "People are talking a lot about that plan because there is a lot to fear ... It's a bad deal all around" (Ryan, 5/23).
Roll Call: Senate GOP Faces Tricky Budget Vote
The Senate vote this week on the budget blueprint of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will be a gut-check moment for Republicans, who risk angering constituents no matter what they do. After seeing GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich get pummeled for calling the House Budget chairman's plan to overhaul Medicare "right-wing social engineering," Republicans have begun to realize that opposing Ryan does not come without a cost from the party's base. But changing Medicare into a subsidy for private insurance is a big loser in general election polls, and Ryan's plan is giving Democrats new hope that they will take back the House and retain the Senate in 2012 (Dennis, 5/24).
Kaiser Health News (Video): Democrats Push Senate Budget Vote On GOP Medicare Plan
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about Democratic efforts to get Senate Republicans on the record regarding an increasingly unpopular GOP budget that includes big changes to Medicare. A vote is scheduled this week. The move is seen by some as a strictly political step that won't bring lawmakers closer to agreement on a budget. A transcript is also available (5/23).
Politico: Schumer: Medicare Vote a 'Defining Issue'
Sen. Chuck Schumer says the House budget vote this week is a lose-lose situation for Senate Republicans, promising the Democrats will make the vote a key issue in 2012. Schumer said Medicare will be a "defining issue" in 2012, pointing to the success Democrat Kathy Hochul has had in the traditionally Republican 26th House District of New York. She's up 4 points ahead of Tuesday's special election (Haberkorn, 5/23).
The Hill: Schumer: Alternatives To Ryan Budget 'Not The Point'
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) downplayed the lack of a Democratic budget proposal Monday, saying there's simply no room to deal with an alternative until the Senate has voted on the House GOP's controversial proposal. "To put other budgets out there is not the point," Schumer told reporters. He said nothing will - or should - happen during budget negotiations this week to take the focus away from the Senate's vote on the House budget, specifically its plan to convert Medicare into a sort of voucher plan (Baker, 5/23).
Los Angeles Times: Scott Brown Won't Back GOP Medicare Overhaul
Republican Sen. Scott Brown has come out against Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan and its proposed overhaul of Medicare, a move that further exposes the deep divisions within the GOP over the proposal. In an Op-Ed article in Politico, Brown, from Massachusetts, said he couldn't support Ryan's plan because it would force seniors to pick up too much of the burden for rising health care costs (Hennessey, 5/23).
The Wall Street Journal: Second GOP Senator Opposes Medicare Plan
Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.), who is running for re-election next year in a heavily Democratic state, on Monday became the second Republican to announce opposition to the Medicare plan, joining Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Mr. Brown's opposition comes a week after he was quoted in a local newspaper saying he would vote for the Ryan plan, but a spokesman said he was misinterpreted (Hook, 5/24).
National Journal: Scott Brown To Oppose Ryan Medicare Plan
Scott Brown of Massachusetts is the first Senate Republican to say he won't be supporting the House budget plan to turn Medicare into a subsidy program. The plan is unacceptable because it would force the elderly to pay a higher price for their health care, Brown wrote in a Monday opinion piece in Politico. "The cost of private plans will outgrow the government premium support - and the elderly will be forced to pay ever higher deductibles and co-pays," Brown wrote (McCarthy, 5/23).
Politico: Lisa Murkowski May Not Vote For Paul Ryan's Medicare Plan
Sen. Lisa Murkowski has become the latest Senate Republican to shy away from Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, saying she may not vote for the House budget later this week because of her concerns about how it might affect Medicare. "I have not yet firmly come down on the Ryan budget," the Alaska Republican told Politico on Monday, saying she's clearly "concerned" that it could further limit access to providers in her state. "I'm not so sure about the components of his Medicare proposal." She's the fourth Senate Republican who has either come out against the House Medicare plan or expressed doubts about it (Haberkorn, 5/23).