Déjà vu: 2014 wars begin over Medicare, budget
March 12th, 2013
09:12 AM ET
2 years ago

Déjà vu: 2014 wars begin over Medicare, budget

(CNN) – Not wasting a minute, Democratic campaign groups in Congress are bringing Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan–which he's set to release Tuesday–into the line of fire, attempting to make it a wedge issue in the 2014 midterm elections.

But Republicans are hitting back, attacking Democrats for their lack of a balanced budget one day before Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray is expected to make public the Senate's budget plan.

The political war over Ryan's budget is a familiar storyline, one that was seen in last year's race for the White House and in multiple congressional races after the Wisconsin Republican congressman was tapped to be GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate. It also played a big role in key races during the 2010 midterm elections.

And Ryan's budget is again shaping up to be a controversial bill, full of Democratic sticking points–no taxes, changes to Medicare, a repeal of President Obama's health care reform, and support for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal published online Monday night, the House Budget Committee chairman said his plan would balance the budget in 10 years without raising taxes.

Perhaps one of the divisive provisions in the plan would be the major adjustment to Medicare starting in 2024. According to the proposal, seniors would have a choice of health care plans, including traditional Medicare, and would receive support from the government toward paying their premiums based on their income level and health.

But the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee labels the budget "extreme" and says the budget would force "seniors to pay more out of their pockets each year for health care." The DSCC confirmed that it's targeting 16 Republican Congressional members considered to be potential Senate candidates in 2014. That list includes two senators running for re-election: Minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas.

Meanwhile, the House Democratic campaign arm is using Facebook Tuesday to direct voters to an online petition against Ryan's budget plan. The Facebook ad will target people nationwide who are 50 years old and older. As of Monday evening, the petition had 300,000 signatures, according to the group.

"Help us reach 500,000 strong telling Paul Ryan and House Republicans not to destroy Medicare," the petition states.

And House Majority PAC, an independent group dedicated to helping Democrats take control of the House again, released a web video attacking Ryan for trying to "voucherize Medicare." The video feature news clips and headlines that argue Ryan is doubling down on his Medicare plan that has thus far failed to pass Congress.

While Democrats aim to reuse the Medicare fight in 2014, some say the tactic may not play out.

"I think both parties have used up the mileage they are going to get from the Ryan budget," said Nathan L. Gonzales, deputy editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report. "The Ryan budget was the issue that was supposed to win back the house for the Democrats in 2012 and it didn't happen."

While they made an eight seat pickup last November, the Democrats fell far short of winning back control of the House.

Also in anticipation of the Senate Democratic budget being laid out Wednesday by Sen. Patty Murray–the first Senate budget introduced in four years–Republicans are going after Democrats for what's expected to be a plan that doesn't balance the budget in 10 years, as proposed in Ryan's budget.

The National Republican Congressional Committee sent a release to 20 Democratic districts, calling on House members to stand up to their party and urge their leaders to propose a balanced budget.

"Democrats cannot be trusted to help fix our country's fiscal mess, if they cannot be trusted to balance the budget and create jobs," the release states. "The choice is clear: Democrats' perpetual deficits or Republicans' plan to balance the budget and spur economic growth."


Filed under: Budget • DCCC • DSCC • House Majority PAC • Medicare • NRCC • Paul Ryan
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. steve

    I guess elections mean nothing anymore.

    March 12, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is the law of the land. It is settled law in the SCOTUS. It has long since been settled law in the Congress. Yet, House Republicans keep writing bills that repeal it over and over again, only to have it rejected. The last Congress passed well over 30 bills that included language to repeal Obamacare. When you consider that they passed less than 150 bills in total last year, that means they've expended 10% to as much as 20% of their legislative time repealing Obamacare.

    The Ryan Plan was resoundigly criticized in its' original version. Likewise for the second version. Likewise at the polls last Novermber. And, likewise it will again be rejected this spring. What are the Republicans offering besides their firmly entrenched position and their economic belief system that only promotes economic apartheid.

    March 12, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  3. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The voters already rejected the lyin Ryan plan but the brain dead gop morons like the bribe taker lyin Ryan continue to push their losing agenda at our expense ,should you trust this gop teaparty loser???? 2014 mid terms is the time to get rid of this gop trash and Ryan is one of them . Still pushing romney bs!!!!

    March 12, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    America, you don't rely on this guy on budget–the most inexperienced in life and congress that lacks full-substantial thinking.

    March 12, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    The immediate problem is not the budget deficit. The slow growing economy and unemployment problems should be addressed before solving the budget deficit. The budget deficit wil look a lot more manageable after the economy recovers and Americans are back to work.

    March 12, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    Yeah, well. You want an improving economy? Try helping the middle class get back on its feet.
    You want economic stagnation? Keep the middle class in chains.

    Talk is cheap, CNN. No matter what side of the aisle the chatter is coming from. Or who pays the advertisements for said chatter.

    March 12, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. Name

    I am so tired of the Republican Party and their lack of support for our President. We we voted President Obama back into Office for a second term we were saying we (The People) agreed with his plan to get our Economy back on track. But the Paul Ryans, Mitch McConnels, John Boehners and John McCains of the Republican Party are a bunch of self serving Red Necks that do not have the best interest of the American people at heart. The Economy created 367.000 jobs last month and Unemployment is down to 7.7%. So we are headed in the right direction under the President's leadership. This comes from a group of people who tried to give us McCain and Palin and then Romney and Ryan. Really??? Can't wait for the 2014 Congressional election so we can get rid of some of these greedy bastards. These clowns do not Govern themselves the way the govern the rest of us because if they did they wouldn't give themselves these rediculous pay raises and be entitled to free Medicare or full retirement and benefits after one term in office without the people's approval. They have taken the Constitution manipulated it and screwed all us in the process of doing so.

    I am a Retired Veteran

    March 12, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Bill

    Let's start but cutting the pay of ineffective and ideologically-driven clowns like Ryan, who try to pass as legislators. When was the last time anything introduced by Ryan became law? And how about Michelle Bachman – third term congresswoman has not once (in 6 years) had any legislation she has introduced become law. Throw them all out.

    March 12, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. Tom

    So can we get a pool going on how many times House Republicans will vote to repeal Obamacare this year? Last year it was something like 33 times. Can we set a new record this year?

    March 12, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. critical thinking

    It's a very simple solution, increase eligibility to age 67 if you are now the age of 50 to 55, move to age 69 if you are age 45-49, and 71 if you are below 45.

    March 12, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. Pete

    Ayn Rand diciple Ryan can't keep his mouth shut can he..Everything he's advocating taking 10 years or more and in that time where's he gonna be hopefully not in government I hope..He wants changes or eliminating of the ACA bill which was by SCOTUS voted into law making it constitutional right and John Roberts your most outspoken Obama critic finalized it didn't he!!Remember too how your Ryan traveled around most states lying about his families struggles when most times they lived the life of Rielly and his mother on Medicare ,SocialSecurity when she too lied having two residences in two different states,does that sound like struggling because I'd like to struggle like that anytime buds!!Remember too how Ryan lied and used his dead fathers SocialSecurity death benefits to go to college when his family were multi millionairs because of his fathers construction business,isn't that fraud but then again he's been on the governments teat since before his dad died , most of his dads work was state or federal contracted,nice ha!!Just keep pushing your anti American crap Ryan and you'll see after midterms where most of you will be and its not in Washington I can tell yah!!

    March 12, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    Vouchers for Medicare will do nothing to lower the cost of medical care; it will only cause more elderly and disabled to suffer for lack of care.

    Pushing food stamps onto the states will cause states to cut public-sector funding to such programs as education, resulting in a populace less capable to compete for living-wage jobs.

    All part of the Republican plan to eliminate the Middle Class and create a large pool of low-skill workers desperate for any low-paying job so the international mega-wealthy corporate owners can better "compete" with the likes of China and India in making crappy goods.

    Or better yet, all these cuts will result in creating a desperate populace more willing join the military to be fodder for the endless wars Repubs love to wage.

    March 12, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    @Randy, San Francisco: "The immediate problem is not the budget deficit. The slow growing economy and unemployment problems should be addressed before solving the budget deficit. The budget deficit wil look a lot more manageable after the economy recovers and Americans are back to work."

    Now, Randy, stop asking Repubs and their hysterical minions to actually THINK ....

    March 12, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    @Name: Hear, hear! And thank you for your service to our country.

    March 12, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    One of the right wing's favorite critcisms of Pres. Obama that they love to throw around is that he has no experience in the private sector. Yet, the exact same thing could be said about the right wing's "budget wonk".

    Not unless you count the time he once bragged about, when he first hit the Romney/Ryan campaign trail, spent in college "working at McDonald's, waiting on tables." [ Have you ever seen someone waiting tables at McDonald's before? ] Ryan had also said that his McDonald's experience had changed him. He said that he was in awe fo the "Big Hobart" machine, which made him realize, respect and appreciate the power of business. [ A "Big Hobart" would be a large, hot and noisy, automatic dishwahing machine. A dishwasher at McDonald's? ]

    March 12, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  16. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    @steve: "I guess elections mean nothing anymore."

    To Repubs, they haven't since 2008 when they LOST. Repubs have been obstructing the will of the people ever since – time we voted them ALL out!

    March 12, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    critical thinking

    It's a very simple solution, increase eligibility to age 67 if you are now the age of 50 to 55, move to age 69 if you are age 45-49, and 71 if you are below 45.
    ------------------
    Brilliant! You forgot the part about continuing to allow private insurers to drop people once they reach age 65. When he repeals Obamacare, that gets repealed, too. If Congress sets a specific age, then the issue of age discrimination come up.

    March 12, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. CarolinaGirl

    This guy and the Republican Party just doesn't get it.

    March 12, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. livingston

    I try to judge every new budget proposal on it's own merit. If it is found wanting or just plain stupid, I dismiss it.. Mr. Ryan, you are dismissed.

    March 12, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    When he repeals Obamacare, that gets repealed, too. If Congress sets a specific age, then the issue of age discrimination come up.
    --------

    Come now, Rudy. You know as well as I do that Paul Ryan and his ilk never intended for folks my age to ever receive social security or medicare in the short year or so we have left to eligibility. What he plans on doing with us when we reach age 62 is any one's guess. Force us onto the streets? Set up shelters for us to die in (the sooner the better)? Or simply pretend we don't exist to begin with? Paul Ryan IS NOT what I'd call a "critical thinker". I doubt he ever has been a "critical thinker". What the hell. Why should he care? We aren't his "problem" ... so to speak. One major illness at our age and we're out of here anyway.

    March 12, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Aw Yes,
    Fiscal responsibility. Everybody knows it need to be done but who will do it? It is like that Aesop Fable of the mice needing to put a bell on the cat so they could hear him when he was coming. BUT, who would put the bell on the cat. Who was brave enough? Some of you here have Champagne Taste but a Beer Pocketbook. You want services but you haven't paid for them. SO, the National Debt continues to rise. Remember that, the National Debt. Over 16 Trillion now. Somewhere down the line YOU are going to vote for fiscal responsibility and the Ryan Plan. Of course you will be out of Aces and have no clothes. Dream on.

    March 12, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. ART

    I think lying Ryan is so full of it

    March 12, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    The presistent push of "The Ryan Plan" only demonstrates that the only time elections count is when Republicans win them.

    March 12, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. geggyg

    Part of Ryans plan is for the XL pipeline be given access to govt lands . Will he charge the pipeline operators a fee or rent for the use of govt land , or will it be a giveaway to them to help reduce their costs and make them more competive against the evil foreign govt supported oil companies like BP and Shell etc

    March 12, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |