On Wednesday, the Senate defeated five different fiscal year 2013 budget resolutions, The Hill's "Floor Action Blog" reports (Wasson/Strauss, "Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 5/16).
In separate roll call votes, the senators rejected motions to proceed on three budget proposals by GOP senators, in addition to House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) House-passed, fiscal year 2013 budget proposal (H. Con. Res. 112) and a measure (S. Con. Res. 41) by Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that is based on President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget proposal (Lesniewski, CQ Today, 5/16).
The Senate voted 41-58 to reject Ryan's proposal (Sanchez, Roll Call, 5/16).
Ryan's budget plan, which passed the House in March, would transform Medicare from a fee-for-service program to one in which beneficiaries could either purchase coverage on the private market or maintain traditional Medicare coverage. The proposal also would reduce Medicaid spending and convert the program to a block-grant system, in which states would receive a fixed amount (California Healthline, 4/18).
Observers note that GOP support for the proposal could lead to attacks from Democrats that Republicans want to cut Medicare while providing tax cuts for high-income U.S. residents.
Senators voted 0-99 to reject Sessions' proposal. Senate Budget Chair Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said the proposal "is not what the president proposed so" it's clear why Democrats would vote against it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the vote was "not surprising when you consider just how bad the president's budget is," adding, "it's bad for seniors because it lets Medicare and Social Security become insolvent" (Roll Call, 5/16).
A proposal (S. Con. Res. 37) by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) failed in a 42-57 vote ("Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 5/16). Toomey's proposal would repeal the federal health reform law, convert Medicaid into a block grant program and freeze Medicaid spending at 2012 levels until 2018.
The plan also includes provisions from Ryan's budget proposal, such as a plan in which Medicare beneficiaries would be given a subsidy to purchase traditional Medicare coverage or a private health plan (California Healthline, 5/11).
Meanwhile, the Senate voted 16-83 to reject a measure (S. Con. Res. 42) by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and voted 17-82 to reject another proposal (S.Con.Res. 44) by Paul and Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) ("Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 5/16).
Ryan, Van Hollen Expect Medicare, Medicaid Changes To Wait Until 2013
Congress is unlikely to approve any budgets that include changes to Medicare and Medicaid until 2013, Ryan and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said on Tuesday, Modern Healthcare reports.
Ryan and Van Hollen said long-term changes to the programs are more likely to be approved next year after a six-month or longer extension of current policies. "In the lame duck, you'll see something to make sure we don't have a train wreck," Ryan said, adding that he does not think there will be "permanent entitlement reform."
Van Hollen said he agreed, based on the knowledge he gleaned regarding the complexity of the two programs' funding issues from his work on last year's deficit supercommittee (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 5/15).