Taking a swing at the hanging curve

TAKING A SWING AT THE HANGING CURVE…. When the top House Republican on budget matters unveiled a GOP blueprint this week, some asked why “Democrats aren’t making a bigger deal out of” this.

They’re working on it.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, presented a plan this week that would (eventually) balance the budget by eliminating Medicare and privatizing Social Security. It’s so far out there that Ryan’s GOP colleagues don’t even want to talk about the proposal.

Democratic leaders, however, have plenty they want to say about it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told DNC members yesterday, “Anybody who wants to see the difference between Democrats and Republicans need only look at their budgets. The Republican budget provides tax breaks for the wealthy, it ends Medicare as we know it, and privatizes Social Security. Here they go again. Rehashing the same failed Bush policies.”

But Dems apparently want to do more than just talk about the Republican budget blueprint — they want to start floor debates over this, too.

House Democrats are going to force their Republican colleagues to vote on a resolution opposing the privatization of Social Security. The move shows Democrats are putting their full political muscle into painting the Republicans as enemies of Social Security and using the chief GOP budget writer Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to cut benefits as evidence.

Rep. John Larson (D-CT) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) this afternoon introduced the resolution which “expresses the will of House Democrats to preserve Social Security and reaffirms our commitment to working in a bipartisan way to make common sense adjustments to strengthen the program for generations to come.”

It’s the sort of tough political vote that Democrats have rarely pushed Republicans on since winning back control of Congress in 2006, and similar to resolutions the GOP constantly forced the Democrats to take positions on when they were in power.

It’s not just Dems. Yesterday afternoon, AFSCME, one of the nation’s largest and most influential labor unions, said the Ryan budget plan “woke a sleeping giant.” AFSCME President Gerald McEntee said in a press release, “The Republicans may be morphing from the Party of ‘No’ to the Party of ‘You Gotta Be Kidding Me’.”

McEntee even taunted the GOP over the budget: “To other Republicans in Congress who are considering support of Representative Ryan’s dangerous scheme, we say: ‘Come out, come out, wherever you are.’ We’re happy to take the fight to your districts again if necessary.”

It seems as if going on the offensive is significantly more enjoyable than being stuck on the defensive.