Tester Two-Stepping the Ryan Plan

Aaron Flint posted on April 07, 2011 21:29 :: 1689 Views

In classic fashion, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is doing another dance around cutting the national debt. 

First, The Politico’s David Catanese noted what sounded like Tester’s support for what is being termed “The Ryan Plan,” an effort to cut the budget by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI).  This, as Catanese listed Montana as home to the number two US Senate race in 2012.    


2. MONTANA (Up 3 Spots) — If the numbers are right, the hardened match-up in Big Sky Country is almost as competitive as Virginia.  First-term Sen. Jon Tester remains in solid shape with independents, which is key to his ability to maintain a dead heat with GOP Rep.  Denny Rehberg in a difficult political environment.  The current budget showdown could be a flashpoint in a state with a rich tradition of class-warfare — and a potentially tricky vote for Tester. On MSNBC, the incumbent called Rep.  Paul Ryan’s draft budget “a good place to start.”

This certainly must have put the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in an odd position, as just days ago the DSCC was attacking Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) over the Ryan plan. 

As The Hotline noted:

National Democrats have been closely monitoring how Republican candidates respond to the Ryan budget proposal. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a statement noting Rehberg, among other GOP Senate candidates, is considering the Ryan plan. And they have quickly gone after candidates who have acknowledged supporting Ryan’s proposal.

We all know that Tester is unlikely to actually support the Ryan plan, as he has been tough on spending with words, but liberal on spending with actions.  However, even his words of support may spark a backlash from the left. 

Here’s how The Missoula Independent’s George Ochenski characterized the Ryan plan earlier this week:

On both the state and federal level, the Tea Party, which has become the radical wing of the Republican Party, is putting tremendous pressure on more moderate Republicans to slash spending. Some would say they’ve already gone a long way in their quest by getting Obama and his Senate Democratic majority to agree to a whopping $30 billion in reductions to the federal budget for the remainder of this fiscal year. And that doesn’t count the much larger plans an-nounced this week to seek a reduction of more than $5 trillion in federal spending over the next decade.

Perhaps emboldened by their success so far, Congressional Republicans are now indicating their willingness to “touch the third rail” and go after what are called “entitlement” programs, such as Social Security.

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