Reid will hold Senate vote on Ryan budget

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will hold a vote on Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget in an effort to divide the Senate GOP conference. 

Reid said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday that he would hold a vote, saying it would give the Senate GOP an opportunity to say where it stands.





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"Republicans seem to be in love with the Ryan budget. And so they are going to have an opportunity here in the Senate to vote on the Ryan budget and see [how many] Republican senators like the Ryan budget as much as their House colleagues did," he said.



Reid spokesman Jon Summers said that the timing of the vote has not yet been determined.

The idea behind Reid's plan is to force Senate Republicans to vote on the measure, which could put incumbents facing tough reelections on the spot.

The Ryan budget is not expected to pass the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

"I would hope they do," Reid said when asked if he thinks the Senate will reject the plan. "It would be one of the worst things to happen to this country if that came into effect."

Talk of a Republican split emerged last week, when centrist Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she would not vote for Ryan's plan

Reid has considered holding a vote on the Ryan plan for several days, but was waiting until he returned from a congressional delegation trip to China to announce his final decision. 


Senate Democrats strongly oppose the House Budget Committee chairman's plan, which would cut $5.8 trillion over 10 years and make drastic changes to Medicare and Medicaid. 

Democrats and their allies have already tried to turn Ryan's 2012 budget plan into a liability for House Republicans, targeting over two dozen of them with an ad campaign and publicizing rowdy town-hall meetings where protesters have objected to the plan.

Democrats have accused Ryan of gutting Medicare by turning it into a voucher system for future beneficiaries, and President Obama has attacked it for making deep cuts to clean energy and education programs. 

"Here is a piece of legislation that basically changes Medicare as we know it," Reid said. "It would make the consumer who is dependent on Medicare now go out and beg for a doctor to take the voucher the government is going to give them."

A bipartisan group of senators known as the "Gang of Six" is working to hammer out a compromise deficit-reduction proposal, and a group of House and Senate leaders from both parties, led by Vice President Biden, is also working on a plan.

President Obama announced his own plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is also working on a budget plan.

Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), pressured Reid to vote on a Democratic proposal.  

"A better question is: When will he vote on the Democrat budget?" he said. "When [is he] going to vote on the president’s budget?"

— This post was updated at 3:13 p.m.