(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats believe the political fallout from Rep. Paul Ryan's cost-slashing budget proposal was evident in their victory in Tuesday night's special election in New York -- and on Thursday they hope a Senate vote on Ryan's plan will cause even more problems for Republicans up for re-election next year.
The victory in NY-26 for Democrat Kathy Hochul was seen nationally as a referendum on Ryan's proposal to overhaul Medicare. Now Democrats in the Senate are poised to force their GOP counterparts to go on the record and say where they stand on the issue.
"Democrats in Congress and even some candid Republicans know the plan to kill Medicare is irresponsible and indefensible. Last night, voters showed the country and the Congress that they know it too," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday on the Senate floor. Wisconsin Republican Congressman Ryan was prepared for comments like Reid's, telling CNN's Morning Joe this week, "The president and his party have decided to shamelessly distort and demagogue Medicare. So we're going to see a 'Mediscare' reform campaign here."
Furthermore, Republicans who support Ryan's package counter Reid's claims by expressing the need to drastically cut the federal budget -- as they claim Ryan's plan will -- was the prime mover behind the GOP's dramatic midterm elections last November.
Reid wants to make vulnerable Republicans like Indiana's Dick Lugar and Maine's Olympia Snowe take a stand on Ryan's proposal. Four Republicans have already revealed that they will break with their party and vote against the Ryan budget. More are expected to follow suit when the Senate votes on Thursday.
Also Thursday, the GOP will force Democrats to vote on President Obama's budget proposal submitted in February -- the same one that Democrats like West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Montana's Jon Tester criticized at the time for not doing enough to reduce the country’s soaring deficits.
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