House Democrats say Medicare vote already hurting GOP with voters, cite NY special election
May 11th, 2011
08:19 PM ET
12 years ago

House Democrats say Medicare vote already hurting GOP with voters, cite NY special election

Washington (CNN) - House Democrats are pointing to a special election to fill an upstate New York congressional seat as evidence that House Republicans' support for a proposal to dramatically change Medicare is already hurting GOP candidates with voters.

Asked about the impact of the Medicare issue on the New York race, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said Wednesday, "That certainly is a race that was not in play and now it is."

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey was more blunt, predicting the issue is producing blowback for Republicans not just in New York.

"Medicare has razor-blade-sharp edges and it's drawing political blood in New York, as it's going to across this country," Markey said.

The House Republican 2012 budget, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, passed the House last month without a single Democratic vote and included a proposal to overhaul Medicare. Under the plan, the government would no longer directly pay medical costs for those 55 and younger, but instead would offer subsidies for seniors to use to get private health insurance coverage.

A special election is scheduled for May 24 to fill the seat of New York Republican Rep. Chris Lee, who resigned in April after the gossip website Gawker posted photos and e-mails from the married Congressman soliciting a date with a woman through the website Craigslist. A three-way race to replace Lee includes GOP State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Democrat Kathleen Hochul and a Tea Party Candidate Jack Davis, who is a conservative Democrat.

Paul Lindsay, spokesman for the House Republicans' campaign arm, said the race is close not because of Medicare, but because of the impact of a third-party candidate. "This race is close because Republican Jane Corwin is running against two Democrats, one of whom is deceiving voters by claiming to be a Tea Party candidate."

Lindsay added, "It's become the cause du jour for Nancy Pelosi because she hopes this election will send another Democrat to Washington to help advance her party's plan to empower bureaucrats to cut Medicare."

The district, which includes the suburbs in Buffalo and Rochester, voted for John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, but the race has gained national attention this week with an outside group supporting the Republican by purchasing major advertising time, and the House Democrats' campaign arm also spending significant resources on the contest. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia also have made trips to New York to campaign for Corwin in recent days.

Possible GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared to back up the Democrats' contention that Medicare is playing a role in the special election. Appearing in New Hampshire Wednesday, the real estate mogul criticized Ryan for releasing a proposal that he said is allowing Democrats to do "a number on that plan like I've never seen."

Trump said, "I would not have done it the way he did it. Too early, too soon, there was no reason for him to do it," adding, "there's no reason for it so Medicare and Medicaid all of a sudden come in and it's put in by Republicans and you've got elections to win."

Referring to the Republican candidate in New York, Trump said Corwin is "having a hard time defending that whole situation with Medicare."

House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson Connecticut said he was "hopeful" about Democrats chances to pick up the seat and tweaked the GOP by pointing to Trump's comments on Medicare, saying, "We thank Donald for joining the choir."

Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, who narrowly won re-election in 2010 by a few hundred votes, and is again a likely target for Republicans, answered a reporter's question about whether the GOP Medicare vote was "politically suicidal" by joking, "I for one don't think it's suicidal and I hope that they'll stick to their guns."

Filed under: House Democrats • Medicare • New York
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Be careful what you wish for !

    Overreach will kill you every time ! The Republicans pulled a fast one on everybody in 2010 and people are starting to have a serious case of buyers remorse with them ! They told everyone that they would focus on job's but they haven't to this date proposed one job's bill ! Classic bait and switch ! They have worked tirelessly to give , and give, and give, to people who don't need help aka ( the wealthy ) , while shafting the middle class to pay for it ! It's become so gross that people are getting tired of their act ! I get the feeling that they are going to be in for a rude awakening in the next election ! l

    May 11, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  2. Walter

    The left can squawk all they want, the bottom line is that by 2025 every penny the government takes in will go towards Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the debt. There is no amount of "taxing the rich" that's going to change that. Major cuts are coming to ALL entitlement programs, and nothing can be done to change that.

    May 11, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. Hryan

    Honestly, do you really think that the election is in play because of Medicare, or because the previous representative was basically attempting to solicit sex through Craigslist?

    May 11, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  4. GonzoinHouston

    The democrats are going to hang Paul Ryan's budget around the necks of their opponents the same way they hung W on their opponents in '08. And with similar results. Ryan's bill contains every single republican economic policy, including those policies that will destroy the middle class, minorities, seniors, and everyone who isn't in the richest or best-paid 5%. The fact that many of these policies have never been shown to work, and many others have been proven conclusively to no work, is completely irrelevant.

    May 11, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. GaryB

    I think if the Republicans had proposed re-working Medicare in a vacuum, then it wouldn't have been such a big deal. But by defending tax cuts that only benefit the wealthiest Americans and remaining silent on the multi-billion dollars worth of white collar welfare that we give to the oil industry while going after Medicare, the GOP has effectively started a class war with them on the side of the wealthiest against the middle class.

    May 11, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  6. Ancient Texan

    Medicare has already been stripped of $500 Billion To help fund the Healthcare "reform" advanced by the Democrats. It's broke folks. It needs fixing or it's going away entirely.

    May 11, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. Charlie from the North

    Good the GOP deserves to lose votes for their meaness and stupididty.

    May 11, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. john

    I hope Ed Markey is right about this, but it doesn't seem an obvious call to me.

    May 11, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. Liz the First

    I hope this isn't the only thing that's making Americans wise up to what the republicans are really all about. everything that party wants to do benefits them and screws the rest of us. no one who isn't a multi-millionaire has any reason to vote for republicans. a lot of multi-millionaiares even realize the folly of the republican fantasy that we can have a civilized country without paying taxes and are ready and willing to pay their fair share again. republicans line to portray themselves as the party of fiscal responsibility. that is a myth! they want government out of our lives, except for our bedrooms and wedding chapels. they worry about how changing our ways to protect the environment may hurt the economy but don't see how climate change is ravaging our economy right now. Medicare is in trouble because everyone on it is either old or sick or both. the only way to save it is to open it up to everyone. it's the basic rule of insurance, spread the risk. if republicans were truly fiscally responsible, they'd be screaming FOR universal healthcare because it would eliminate the need for 50 different state beaurocracies managing medicaid in one form or another. but what they really want is to suck even more money out of the government and the average American and funnel it into the pockets of the wealthy insurance companies. the social issues they claim to care about are only the bait they dangle in front of gullible people to make them vote against their own financial self-interest. it's time America woke up to these evil people's agenda.

    May 11, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  10. Ryan NC

    So what Trump suggests is to deceive the electorate until after the elections...

    May 11, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  11. Ryan NC

    So what Trump suggests is to deceive the electorate until after the elections, right? Seems pretty typical conservative tactic... Didn't they do the same for jobs creation?

    May 11, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  12. Aaron

    Not sure who Lindsay is, but he is obviously not good with the truth. Pelosi cut Medicare? The woman would triple it, extend it to illegals, and residents of other countries if she could get away with it.

    May 12, 2011 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  13. Positive

    Republicans voted to destroy Medicare, give whatever is little is left to health insurance CEOs in the form of vouchers which will do little to insure the elderly, while voting to give more tax cuts to the top 2%.

    Is there anyone outside of the wacky Republican House echo chamber that thinks this is a good idea?!?!?!

    May 12, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  14. J.V.hodgson

    THe first real test of Republican budget ideas and Health care, and overall non attention to jobs and the economy, and in fact with republican governors canning education Jobs and others with Budget cuts.
    I think Corwin has a very uphill battle to win, this election.

    May 12, 2011 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  15. Chris

    Throughout the Healthcare debate, Republicans kept telling everyone that the Democrats were messing with Medicare. So people should vote for the GOP, because they were the only ones who would protect Medicare from the Dems.

    The Republicans take the majority, and what happens? They immediately propose a plan that would effectively completely gut Medicare.

    That's not playing politics – that's just bald faced lieing.

    May 12, 2011 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  16. johnmenacherjr

    Ha ha good ole Paul Ryan who would have guessed! The man is a total liar nothing new if you are from Wisconsin. Look what he and his party have done here, power plants for a buck, voter fraud of almost tem thousand in Waukesha county and now Privatize Medicare? They wont stop at anything except in creating of jobs which is what they all ran on. Things are backfiring on them they just a bunch of crooks.

    May 12, 2011 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  17. Ray E. (Georgia)

    The Federal Government has no business in the Medical Business, the Welfare Business and in most cases Collecting and Disbursing money. The 14.5 Trillion Dollar Debt should never have happened. But as it is said from time to tiime, The Road To Hell is Paved with Good Intentions. And the downturn in the Economy, it is going to last for 30 or more years. So if you have bet on the wrong Horse, happy landings. And look for the 1930's to rear it's ugly head again, all those Social Programs that was supposed to fix all those problems, what happened Marlkey?

    May 12, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  18. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    In politics, especially in a democracy that is designed to be a lumbering, piece-by-piece, two-steps-forward-one-step-back affair, you get BURNED when you overreach, and the Republicans, led by Ryan and his phony, ridiculously expensive plan, have just put their hands on the scalding hot stove. They also have handed another hammer to the President, who is laughing to himself about it. Yeah, the community organizer is growing in the job, no?

    May 12, 2011 07:59 am at 7:59 am |