Mitch McConnell Will Not Urge Senate Republicans To Support Ryan Plan
The latest example of the extent to which Senate Republicans do not wish to associate themselves with the Ryan Plan comes in the news the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will not try to persuade his caucus members to support the plan when it comes up for a vote:
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is leaving Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget plan to its own fate in the Senate by not whipping his GOP colleagues on the vote.
Republican senators say McConnell has made it clear he will vote for the House Budget Committee chairman’s plan, but has said rank-and-file members should vote as they want on the 2012 budget proposal.
Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), the second- and third-ranking members of the Senate Republican leadership, say they will also vote for Ryan’s plan.
But as for the rest of the GOP conference, “every senator will have to decide that for himself,” Alexander said.
House GOP Leaders whipped the vote on the Ryan budget, and it was approved with only four GOP defections. Every House Democrat voted against it.
The decision to let GOP senators vote their conscience means there might be more “no” votes on the budget plan from Republicans in the Senate.
One GOP senator who spoke on the condition of anonymity expressed his belief that Ryan made a serious tactical mistake by spelling out Medicare reforms in his budget plan.
“All Ryan had to do was set an overall number and leave it up to the policymaking committees how to come up with the savings,” said the lawmaker. “The important number to focus on is that the federal government takes in $2.2 trillion and spends $3.7 trillion.”
The lawmaker, who did not want to be quoted on the record criticizing a fellow Republican, said that by laying out specific Medicare reforms, Ryan gave Democrats political ammunition.
“The only people talking about Medicare are Republicans, and we’re just arguing with ourselves,” said the lawmaker.
A few things likely factor into the Senate GOP’s reluctance to get fully on board with the Ryan Plan, but they all boil down to the simple fact that there’s no way the Ryan Plan is going to become law. Senate Republicans are looking at 2012 and seeing a chance to regain the majority for the first time since 2006, and being tied to a controversial budget plan that includes alterations to one of the most popular entitlement programs in existence is not necessarily smart politics, especially since Senate races are more likely to be dominated by national issues than House races.
The only question is how long it will be before we hear someone call Mitch McConnell a traitor.