Rehberg Votes Against Ryan Plan

Aaron Flint posted on April 18, 2011 13:29 :: 1742 Views

In case you missed it, National Journal notes that Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) was one of four Republicans to vote against a deficit reduction plan written by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) known as The Ryan Plan. 

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), running for the Senate against Sen. Jon Tester (D), was one of four House Republicans who voted against Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget compromise on Friday, saying the measure was “rushed through” as he cautioned against changes to Medicare without further inquiry and input.

Worth noting: Sen.Tester’s office refused to comment to National Journal (one of the most respected news outlets in DC).  Tester’s office instead told National Journal to contact the Montana Democratic Party so they could work to link Rehberg to the Ryan plan.  Not too surprising given the fact that Tester told MSNBC that the Ryan Plan was “a good start.”  While getting talking points from the Montana Democratic Party, I wonder if National Journal begged to ask them what they thought of Senator Tester’s remarks as well?  

Here’s how The Bozeman Daily Chronicle quoted Rehberg after his vote against the Ryan plan.

Rehberg said the spending cuts advertized lauded by Boehner as the biggest in U.S. history amounted to “budget gimmicks” that did not achieve “true spending reductions.”

That was a view shared by many other members of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, 59 of who voted against the Boehner-Reid budget.

However, the 2012 budget crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., popular amongst many tea partiers for its large cuts and a provision to heavily reform Medicare, also got a “no” vote from Rehberg.

Rehberg is already getting at least some pushback from Tea Party groups back in Montana.  Eric Olsen, the leader of the Billings-based Tea Party group Montana Shrugged, wasn’t pleased.  He told this to the liberal news website Huffington Post:

Olsen likened Rehberg’s statement to an “election speech,” adding, “it’s Montana this, Montana that, senior this, senior that. It doesn’t have any basis in it.”

“Why would we hold up a $6 trillion attempt to get control of the budget? You know how everything is; it’s negotiable when you get into these things. So why just vote against it right away?” he asked. “I don’t think it helps him in Montana. The Tea Party movement is huge up here.”

Here’s what Rehberg told The Great Falls Tribune:

He registered deep concerns about the overhaul of Medicare in a state where his constituents are disproportionately elderly: 14.6 percent of Montana’s population is 65 or older, the seventh-highest percentage of population in the nation, according to 2009 Census figures.

“This budget … has a lot of good things in it that I fully support,” Rehberg said in a statement. “But there are still too many unanswered questions with regard to Medicare reform, and I simply won’t support any plan until I know for a fact that Montana’s seniors will be protected.”

But will Rehberg’s vote against the Ryan plan hurt the congressman amongst the broader electorate of Tea Party voters in Montana?  Not necessarily, adds David Parker, a political science professor at Montana State University-Bozeman in that same Great Falls Tribune piece.  

“Who votes a lot? Senior citizens.” Parker said. “This could break both ways among hardcore Republican tea party folks. … A lot of tea party folks are older, and surveys have shown they want less spending but they don’t want their Social Security and Medicare touched.”

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