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Scott Brown Will Be ‘No’ Vote on Ryan Budget

Sen. Scott Brown said he won’t vote for the budget of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) because he doesn’t support the plan to overhaul Medicare.

The Massachusetts Republican had been quoted May 14 in a local newspaper, the Newburyport Daily News, telling constituents that he would vote for the Ryan plan, but in an opinion piece in Politico on Monday, Brown said Ryan’s Medicare proposal goes too far.

Brown wrote that changes need to be made to Medicare to root out waste and cut costs.

“But I do not think it requires us to change Medicare as we know it,” he said. The Ryan budget calls for replacing traditional Medicare with subsidies for private insurance for future beneficiaries.

Brown’s opinion piece follows days of questions about whether he actually supported Ryan’s budget blueprint, with Brown attempting to slowly walk back his original comments.

Though Brown’s statement that he would vote for the plan quickly became a Democratic talking point, the Associated Press in a later story reported that Brown backed the general direction of the Ryan plan. But in that story, he would not say how he would vote or whether he supported the Medicare overhaul. Later, the Newburyport Daily News quoted a Brown aide saying that the Senator meant to say he would vote “on” the budget, not necessarily “for” it.

Brown was also one of 47 Republican Senators asking Democrats to produce a budget alternative of their own Monday.

The controversial Ryan plan has been causing heartburn for a number of Republicans, including presidential contender Newt Gingrich, who spent the past week trying to mitigate the damage from his comment a week ago that Ryan’s plan went too far and represented “right-wing social engineering.” Gingrich made those comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”