House Democrats want to kick House Republicans where it hurts, and are exploring ways to force the minority party to take a stand on Rep. Paul Ryan's budget "roadmap" that has become a political minefield in advance of this fall's elections.
A Democratic leadership source told TPMDC they are considering options for turning the Ryan plan into a bill. Once that's done the Democrats would put the bill on the floor, forcing Republicans to vote for or against a plan they don't want to talk about.
Why is it such a minefield? Because he wants to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, and has put GOP leadership in a very difficult position: of course Republicans want to get rid of Social Security and Medicare, it's been their raison d'etre since the programs were established. But they're coming off of a year in which their loudest opposition to the Democrats' healthcare reform bill was "Medicare cuts." Yglesias links to a Roll Call story:
Republican leaders bashed the Democratic health care plans for cutting more than $400 billion out of Medicare, but GOP budget hawks view controlling Medicare costs as essential to balancing the budget.
A Republican who asked to have his name withheld said the party’s leadership and rank and file aren’t ready to follow Ryan’s lead. “There’s a lot of worry that we beat the Democrats up on health care for cutting Medicare and now we’re going to turn around and do it,” the Republican said.
As Matt says, the major difference here is that the Dems had very targeted cuts aimed at whittling away at inefficiencies in Medicare, while Ryan's budget "just goes after Medicare with a chain saw." And he's doubling down on his plan, despite opposition in his own party.
A floor vote on Ryan's Republican budget could be the best thing that's happened for Democrats in months. It exposes the depths of Republican hypocrisy in the HCR debate and would force an extremely difficult political vote. What Republican wants to vote to slash Social Security and Medicare in an election year, other than Paul Ryan.