Some in GOP squirm over Ryan budget

April 13, 2011


Some Republicans are already squirming over a vote that provides a ready-made campaign ad for their opponents: Rep. Paul Ryan’s fiscal 2012 budget, which will restructure Medicare, alter Medicaid funding and slash $6 trillion from federal spending over 10 years.

Whether they’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, they’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, Murphy’s chief of staff, said it’s a “high-profile vote” that they are “still taking a look at.”

Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Republican from western Florida with a district in which roughly 20 percent of its residents are older than 65, is “still looking it over and trying to decide.”

“Last I talked to him [Monday] night, he was still trying to figure out what all is in it and what might be affected,” said his spokesman, Creighton Welch.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), one of the most high-profile freshmen, said he’s undecided. Rep. Steve Southerland, a Republican who took Democrat Allen Boyd’s northern Florida seat, is in the same place as Bilirakis. So is Ohio freshman Rep. Jim Renacci.

“He’s still reviewing it,” said Southerland spokesman Matthew McCullough. “He’s looking at what the long-term implications are for reducing the deficit. We’re still in a holding pattern as to what he’s going to say on that.”

With 241 lawmakers in their caucus, House Republicans can afford a few defections, so their budget isn’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 that’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 — Ryan’s budget is dead on arrival in the Senate, still ruled by Democrats.

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1 Comment - what are your thoughts?

  • Jeremy says:

    My fellow citizens,

    We elected these people into office to make tough decisions. We need our fellow republicans to bring us back to fiscal responsibility and to carry out the will of the people. No one wants to cut spending for people in need, but no one wants our country to go bankrupt either.

    If a republican politician is not going to provide the votes need to make the changes needed and support the party’s agenda, what good did we do by electing them? If a politician is more worried about appearances than making the right decision, then “we the people” should ask for their immediate resignation.

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