Senate Democrats today put their Republican counterparts on the record on Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal as the upper chamber of Congress voted down the controversial plan that would overhaul Medicare.
In a procedural vote this evening, five GOP senators opposed the Ryan budget: Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins of Maine, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Every Democrat opposed the measure. The final vote tally was 40-57, sending the House-passed Ryan plan down to defeat. The three senators not voting were Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Pat Roberts of Kansas, along with Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York.
Democrats believe the political fallout from Ryan’s budget helped them win last night’s special election in NY-26 and they have repeatedly said they want to make it a central issue in next year’s elections.
“The Republican plan to kill Medicare is a plan to make the rich richer and the sick sicker,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor.
“That was an easy vote for all of us,” noted Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, at a press conference after the vote.
But in an attempt to turn the tables on Democrats, Republicans then forced a procedural vote on President Obama’s budget submission from February. That measure failed by a vote of 0-97, with all the Democrats voting against it because they believe it is now outdated.
Ultimately, on a race-to-race basis it is unclear how much of an impact today’s Senate vote on the Ryan budget will have in 2012. Snowe and Brown decided to oppose the Ryan budget, while Indiana’s Dick Lugar – who supported it – will face a serious challenge in the Indiana GOP primary. Plus the GOP has one distinct advantage heading into next year’s elections – they only have to defend 10 Senate seats compared to 23 for Democrats. And now they can say the Ryan budget got 40 more votes in the Senate than the President’s did.