Senate Republicans aren’t so eager to vote on the Paul Ryan budget.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the top Republican on the Budget Committee, told a handful of reporters Tuesday that Republicans may not offer the Ryan plan as an amendment when Democrats bring up their budget resolution for a vote later this week.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan’s budget doesn’t come up one way or the other in this process,” Sessions said on the same afternoon that his caucus met with Ryan on the budget. He praised the House budget chief’s work as “honest” and “wonderful” but said Senate Republicans “might have different views” on how to move forward.
Nearly all Senate GOP members are already on the record voting for the Ryan budget in 2012 and 2011, so another vote would not be a huge deal. And most of them have nothing but praise for Ryan and his work. But Sessions’ remarks could suggest that after an electoral drubbing last November while campaigning on the Ryan plan, Senate Republicans, unlike their House counterparts, are ready to explore other avenues.
Senate Democrats, on the other hand, may want to force a vote on Ryan’s budget anyway, because they believe it’ll be politically damaging for Republicans and put them in a tough spot between their right-wing base and the broader electorate.
“I’d be surprised if the Ryan budget didn’t get a Senate vote,” a senior Democratic aide said Tuesday in response to Sessions’ remarks.
Regardless, the broad goals of what Senate Republicans say they are considering aren’t that different from Ryan’s budget blueprint.
Session said he intends to offer an amendment that may not be identical to Ryan’s plan but “does put us on a path to balancing the budget … over 10 years, with growth and without taxes.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), the author of the Democrats’ budget, took to the floor to accuse Republicans of seeking to delay the budget process by slowing down passage of a government funding bill.
“We’re ready to go,” Murray said. “We have a budget. We want to debate it. … We want to get started. Where are our Republican colleagues on this empty floor? They’re filibustering.”
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.