Every Senate Republican but three voted to repudiate Paul Ryan's Medicare plan. The three? The three teabaggiest of all: Rand Paul (R-KY) Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ted Cruz. Two of the three definitely have their eye on 2016, so it's going to be Paul and Cruz duking it out to see who can be the most ideologically pure, and alienate the most seniors.
The slap-in-the-face vote was cast yesterday as the Senate continued working on its 2014 budget, an opportunity for all sorts of political hay-making, because budget rules allow for unlimited amendments. This one was offered by Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Thursday night. It's a "No Vouchers for Medicare" amendment, repudiating the Ryan budget and "to prohibit replacing guaranteed benefits with the House passed budget plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program." The Senate voted overwhelmingly for it, 96-3.
Ryan's budget as a whole fared a little better. Republicans really didn't want to have to vote on it, but Patty Murray made them, by offering it as one of the first amendments. It failed, 40-59. An interesting mix of Republicans voted with Democrats on this one: Susan Collins, Dean Heller, and our happy Medicare-killin trio of Lee, Paul and Cruz. Strange bedfellows, but the last three are likely there because the Ryan budget just isn't extreme enough.
The Senate continues on today with a vote-a-rama beginning at 3 PM ET. There's everything and the kitchen sink being thrown into the mix, particularly from Republicans. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is trying to repeal Obamacare. David Vitter (R-LA) is trying to ban abortions that don't happen anyway (sex selection), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has an incredibly economy-defeating amendment that would prevent budgets with tax increases as long as unemployment is above 5.5 percent.
This could go on until Saturday morning, but since this is the weekend before a long holiday recess, they'll probably curb their zeal and wrap up late Friday.