On Wednesday, the Senate voted 40-57 against a motion to proceed on the House-approved GOP fiscal year 2012 budget resolution (H Con Res 34), effectively ending all further debate on a bill that included a proposal to overhaul Medicare, the New York Times reports (Steinhauer, New York Times, 5/25).
Under the budget rules, a motion to proceed must receive at least 51 votes to pass (Friedman, National Journal, 5/25).
The House budget resolution was widely expected to fail in the Democrat-led chamber. However, Senate Democratic leaders said they wanted to force Republicans to take a public stance on the Medicare proposal.
The proposal -- a centerpiece of House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget blueprint -- would have given beneficiaries fixed, lump-sum vouchers to purchase private health insurance (California Healthline, 5/24).
In recent months, the proposal drew strong criticism from Democrats, elderly voters and several prominent Republicans, forcing Ryan and other House leaders to defend it (California Healthline, 5/23).
Five Republicans -- Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) -- joined the 52 Democratic caucus members who were present in voting against the measure, The Hill reports (Bolton , The Hill, 5/25).
Excluding Paul, the GOP senators expressed reservations about the Medicare overhaul proposal (Taylor, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 5/25).
Obama's FY 2012 Budget Proposal Fails 97-0
Senate Republicans countered Democrats' attempts to force their hand on the Medicare voucher issue by forcing a floor vote on President Obama's FY 2012 budget proposal, CQ Today reports.
All 97 senators present for the vote rejected the proposal, which Democrats and Republicans criticized for failing to effectively address the nation's fiscal problems (Friel/Lesniewski, CQ Today, 5/25).
Last month, Obama expanded on his February proposal by releasing a deficit-reduction blueprint, which was designed to serve as the basis of ongoing bipartisan budget discussions being led by Vice President Biden and Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) (Rogers, Politico, 5/25).
According to The Hill, aides said before the vote that Senate Democrats would vote against the February proposal because it has been supplanted by Obama's new deficit-reduction plan (Bolton , The Hill, 5/25).