How warmly are his fellow Republicans regarding Rep. Paul Ryan these days? (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Sam Stein has it from the horse's mouth:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced on Wednesday that he would host a vote on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget as a means of forcing moderate GOP senators to weigh in on the legislation’s controversial proposals. He did not provide a specific date for when that vote will take place.
“There will be an opportunity in the Senate to vote on the Ryan budget to see if Republican senators like the Ryan budget as much as the House did,” Reid said on a conference call with reporters. “Without going into the Ryan budget we will see how much the Republicans like it here in the Senate.”
Reid, who had been traveling with other senator’s in China, accused the Ryan plan of fundamentally changing Medicare and burdening health care consumers with uncertainty and higher costs. By holding a vote on the bill—which his own party will vote against en masse—the majority leader is hoping to not only drive a wedge within the GOP but keep the Ryan budget in the news.
This is really great news. First off, it's simply great politics—it utterly puts the screws to the GOP. But moreover, I'm just glad to see Reid actually following through on this. A couple of days ago, his aides were suggesting such a vote might happen, which had some of us worried it wouldn't. But with Reid confirming a vote on the Ryan plan is a go, now we know he's willing to go at Republicans hammer-and-tongs on this issue.
By forcing a roll call, this will put the GOP on record for years to come about their views on Medicare. And many Republican senators are caught between a rock and a hard place: Vote for it, and you invite a permanent barrage of ready-made attack ads; vote against it, and you risk getting teabagged to death. Olympia Snowe, for instance, already faces that conundrum, but this vote has the power to affect many more senators well past 2012.
And if Reid really wants emphasize the "hard" in hardball, he'll schedule the vote after Nevada Rep. Dean Heller get elevated to the Senate by Gov. Brian Sandoval in a week or so. That would force Heller to be the one guy to vote for Ryan's Republican budget twice—or wind up voting for it before he voted against it. Somehow I feel that neither of these is a winning move... which means that for us, putting this to a vote most certainly is.
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