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.With outside groups already been launching ads against vulnerable Republicans who voted for Ryan’s budget, it’s safe to assume that the same could happen to Senators who voted for the bill. Reid’s decision to bring the Ryan budget up for a vote is a very smart move politically. Since there are some rumors of division among the GOP in their support for the extreme measures found in Ryan’s budget, forcing the moderate Republicans in the Senate to vote on the measure could also further divisions within the GOP.
“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.
While the vote could make an uncomfortable situation for Republicans in the Senate, it’s still unlikely to actually pass. With the public opposition to the proposal already increasing every day, however, this measure would keep the GOP’s cut to programs like Medicare in the news. This could be very important in the coming weeks because I've heard that the Gang of 6 will have some trouble gaining support for the proposals it comes up with. Instead of the press focusing on how the group trying to come up with a moderate proposal is in danger of becoming irrelevant, having the Senate on the Ryan budget is therefore a way to keep the story on the extreme measures proposed by the GOP instead of the lack of an alternative that could pass both chambers.
With all that being said, it looks like Congress is struggling to get a budget. So if balancing budgets one of your strengths, check out online accounting degrees so you can have the qualified degree when you put your voice forward.