House Democrats united to oppose the House GOP’s budget plan today. The plan passed 235-193, but no Democrats voted for the proposal which would privatize Medicare and slash Medicaid. Four Republicans, including Rep. Ron Paul broke with their party and voted no on this budget. Paul Ryan’s Path To Poverty does not run through the Democratic Party.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi used her floor speech to frame this budget as a question of values, “And I am just going to focus on one part of this Republican budget. I want to say to my Republican colleagues: do you realize that your leadership is asking you to cast a vote today to abolish Medicare as we know it? Because that is the vote that we have. This is not about an issue. This is about a value. This is about an ethic.”
Pelosi later drilled the Republicans for cutting Medicare instead of creating jobs, “Here we are. Yesterday we observed the 100th day of the Republican majority in Congress. In that 100 days, not one job has been created, not one job agenda is in the works. And what are we doing? We are here to abolish Medicare instead.”
Leader Pelosi concluded by calling the Republicans budget deficit hypocrites, “I have heard our colleagues say that the budget deficit is immoral. It’s been immoral for the 8 years of the Bush Administration. I didn’t hear anybody say ‘boo’ while we were giving tax cuts to the rich, having two wars unpaid for, and giving a prescription drug bill to the private sector. Democrats are committed to reducing the deficit. We have demonstrated that we can during the Clinton Administration, and we will. We are committed to strengthening the middle class, to growing our economy, to reduce the deficit and to creating jobs. The Republican budget fails to do that and the Republican budget will not have Democratic support. We are here as one of the previous speakers said: ‘Now is the time.’ Now is the time to preserve Medicare, and Democrats will.”
Rep. Ron Paul signaled that his no vote was coming a few days ago when he openly bashed the Ryan budget. Dr. No hated the budget for the opposite reason as Pelosi. Paul didn’t think that it went far enough, “Neither of those budgets (Ryan’s or Obama’s) will solve our problems, or even come close.”
Paul Ryan’s budget gave the Democrats two gifts, unity, and a big club with which to bash the Republican Party with from now until Election Day 2012. This budget will be used against every freshman House Republican who voted for it in the next election. Republicans are already looking unlikely to keep the House next year, and this budget virtually seals the deal. Ideology has blinded them to the reality that Americans love Medicare, and they don’t want to see it cut.
President Obama emerged from this vote today as a big winner, because The Great Republican Budget Debacle of 2011 has given him an issue with which to contrast himself and campaign on for the next year. Republicans just don’t get it. The nickels and dimes that they are congratulating themselves for cutting from the budget come at a steep political price. Democrats will gladly sit back, toss a few dollars in meaningless cuts the Republicans’ way and let the GOP destroy itself with unpopular budgets.
The budget that the House passed may be one of the least popular budgets passed in American history. Pelosi had it right. Americans didn’t give Republicans control of the House so that they could abolish Medicare.
They are supposed to be creating jobs, but the scoreboard reads:
Number of votes to abolish a popular entitlement: 1
Number of jobs created: 0
This is the kind of math that is going to return Barack Obama to the White House and Nancy Pelosi to the Speakership in 2012, and leave Republicans wondering why they ever let Paul Ryan near the budget in the first place.