Dem leader expects near-unanimous vote against GOP budget

A top Democrat said Friday he expects almost all Democrats to oppose the 2012 GOP budget in a Friday vote, and said it is possible all Democrats will vote against it.

Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), the fourth-ranking Democrat who serves as caucus chairman, said he didn't expect any Democrats to break ranks and support the fiscal plan offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

"You never can tell, of course, but I think there will be near unanimity, if not unanimity," Larson said on MSNBC.

Democrats, led by President Obama, blasted Ryan's plan this week. At a private fundraiser last night, audio of which was posted Friday by CBS News, the president took Ryan and Republicans to task, saying the Budget panel chairman's plan was "not on the level."

"Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, he's just being America's accountant," Obama told supporters. "This is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my healthcare bill — but wasn't paid for."

Republicans have said Obama's rhetoric has galvanized GOP support behind Ryan.

Of course, the strong rhetoric against the plan is no guarantee Democrats won't break ranks on the budget; 108 House Democrats broke with Obama to back the 2011 spending agreement backed both by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Obama in a vote on Thursday.

Larson downplayed that vote, saying that the president "had a gun to his head" during negotiations with Boehner. 

"Whether it was back in December with the Bush tax cuts being made permanent, we understand that the president had a gun to his head," he said. "But that's what was going on. And same thing now."

But on the Ryan budget, Larson said there is no daylight between House Democrats and the White House.

"There's never unanimity in the Democratic Caucus, but there is great unity and we stand behind our president, and never more so than on Wednesday when he drew a line in the sand on the most important issue we are going to face, and that's the ending of Medicare as we know it," he said.

Updated 12:07 p.m.