WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats will propose the Ryan budget as an amendment and bring it to a vote on Thursday to force Republicans to take a stance on a plan that they see as unpopular.
The House Republican budget, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, passed the House Thursday morning. It is not expected to pass the Senate.
But at a press conference of Democratic senators on Thursday, the sole purpose of which appeared to be to attack the newly passed Ryan budget, Sen. Debbie Stabenow told reporters to expect a vote on that very plan, a political maneuver that Democrats will use to get their Republicans on the record as supporting a budget that they say will be damaging to the lives of middle class and poor Americans.
“The bottom line on the Ryan Budget is very simple: it was crafted by a hard-right group in the House, and most Republicans would rather run away from it,” said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. “We saw that happen during the presidential campaign. And we’re not going to let them run. We are going to make sure that they vote on the values that the budget is, the core values their party professes.”
“Let’s see if they really believe that they’re party professes these values,” he said.
If Senate Republicans, who did not present their own budget, do not propose the Ryan budget, Stabenow said Democrats will.
“Well, if Republicans want to offer it,” she said, a statement at which Schumer let out an audible “ha,” “we certainly would welcome that.
“We think it’s a very important opportunity to debate the values and the direction of the country, and so one of our members will offer it if they don’t,” Stabenow said.
A Republican Senate aide said of the Ryan budget that “we fully expect it to be proposed and that Republicans will proudly support it.”
“Perhaps not Sen. Collins, maybe one or two others, but the vast majority of Republicans back it,” the aide added.
“The focus, and the reason for the vote today is the Democratic budget,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Republican ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, told reporters Thursday afternoon.
“They are very, very determined to change the focus away from their plan to the Ryan plan, and I’m not interested in talking about that right now,” he said. “We should talk about the one that’s before us.”
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson added that he did not feel bringing the Ryan budget to the vote would be a problem for Republicans.
“My guess is Republicans are going to be happy to support what Ryan’s doing,” he said.