Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) plans to hold a
bald-faced political stunt vote on the Paul Ryan budget this Thursday. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has already said he would not be whipping the caucus, so members will be free to vote as they see fit.
The obvious storyline here will the number of GOP Senators who end up voting no. That, in fact, is the whole point of the vote — to force Republicans to go on record either 1) for a plan that Democrats believe will be politically volatile in 2012, specifically when it comes to Ryan’s proposal to reform Medicare, or 2) against Paul Ryan and the House Republican majority (which didn’t turn out so well for Newt Gingrich).
Sens. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) and Susan Collins (R., Maine) have already confirmed their opposition to the plan (See: here and here). And this afternoon freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) became ‘no’ vote number three, arguing that Ryan’s plan “doesn’t go far enough” to address the country’s debt crisis.
Sen. Richard Lugar (R., Ind.), a moderate Republican facing a difficult primary challenge in 2012, told reporters he would vote for the House plan, but didn’t exactly endorse Ryan’s Medicare reforms. “Medicare is not going to continue in it’s current form,” he said. “I support the creative the thinking expressed by Congressman [Ryan].”