Some Republicans are already squirming over a vote that provides a ready-made campaign ad for their opponents: Rep. Paul Ryanâ€™s fiscal 2012 budget, which will restructure Medicare, alter Medicaid funding and slash $6 trillion from federal spending over 10 years.
Whether theyâ€™re new lawmakers in formerly Democratic seats or House veterans who represent districts with large elderly populations dependent on Medicare, a significant number of Republicans realize that embracing the Ryan plan may be one of the most treacherous votes of the year.
So rather than taking a strong stand, theyâ€™re hedging during the leadup to the roll call.
Rep. Tim Murphy, a fifth-term Republican who represents a western Pennsylvania district south of Pittsburgh with roughly 17 percent of residents older than 65, is still undecided. Susan Mosychuk, Murphyâ€™s chief of staff, said itâ€™s a â€œhigh-profile voteâ€ that they are â€œstill taking a look at.â€
Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Republican from western Florida with a district in which roughly 20 percent of its residents are older than 65, is â€œstill looking it over and trying to decide.â€
â€œLast I talked to him [Monday] night, he was still trying to figure out what all is in it and what might be affected,â€ said his spokesman, Creighton Welch.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), one of the most high-profile freshmen, said heâ€™s undecided. Rep. Steve Southerland, a Republican who took Democrat Allen Boydâ€™s northern Florida seat, is in the same place as Bilirakis. So is Ohio freshman Rep. Jim Renacci.
â€œHeâ€™s still reviewing it,â€ said Southerland spokesman Matthew McCullough. â€œHeâ€™s looking at what the long-term implications are for reducing the deficit. Weâ€™re still in a holding pattern as to what heâ€™s going to say on that.â€
With 241 lawmakers in their caucus, House Republicans can afford a few defections, so their budget isnâ€™t in danger of going down in flames. But annual budget resolutions are intended as party unity moments, in which the majority passes a spending plan thatâ€™s a statement of its long-term vision on spending.
Privately, rank-and-file offices on Capitol Hill are whispering that the Republican leadership is asking its members to take a tough vote on a bill that has no chance of becoming law â€” Ryanâ€™s budget is dead on arrival in the Senate, still ruled by Democrats.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53075.html#ixzz1JMfFgCxT
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