Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Senate Democrats shoot down GOP's House budget plan. Now what?

Wary of the impact on Medicare, five Republicans joined Senate Democrats in defeating the Republican budget plan written by Rep. Paul Ryan. But the Democrats have no plan of their own, and this could hurt them.

By Staff writer / May 25, 2011

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., left, joined by Majority Whip Dick Durbin D-Ill., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks to reporters following a budget vote late Wednesday. The Democratic-run Senate voted down a controversial budget plan from the Republican-majority House that calls for turning Medicare into a voucher-like program for future beneficiaries.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP



The Senate Wednesday voted to defeat a highly controversial House budget plan for fiscal year 2012 that quickly registered as a liability with voters for lawmakers that supported it. But, in an omission that could also be controversial, Senate Democrats have failed to produce their own plan for getting the nation back on a sustainable fiscal path.

Skip to next paragraph

Democrats voted unanimously to defeat the House budget plan, drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin, which would cut $4.4 trillion in spending over 10 years and reduce Medicare to a government subsidy to purchase private insurance.

They were joined by five Republicans, Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of Maine. The measure failed 40 to 57.

The president’s budget, deemed a nonstarter because it projects a $1.1 trillion deficit for FY 2012, failed to win a single vote from either party. Proposals by Sens. Pat Toomey (R) of Senate and Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky also failed.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada called the vote a victory for priorities.

“The Ryan plan ends Medicare as we know it and breaks a solemn promise … that if you work hard and contribute, Americans will make sure you are protected in your golden years,” he said on the floor before the vote.

Medicare and New York's special election

The defeat on the Senate floor comes on the heels of an upset win for Democrat Kathy Hochul in a special election Tuesday on traditional GOP turf in New York’s 26th congressional district. Her come-from-behind campaign was waged mainly on the threat to Medicare in the Ryan budget.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York calls defeat of the Ryan budget “the first serious step” toward a bipartisan budget agreement.


Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story