Bipartisan opposition to GOP Medicare plan grows

With the Senate majority still pushing to bring the House Republican budget plan to the floor for a vote, the list of GOP opponents keeps growing. As of today, the total stands at four, but it’s not done.

Maine’s Republican senators will vote against the House Republican 2012 budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, with Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe in opposition to the House GOP-proposed Medicare changes.

Snowe confirmed her opposition this afternoon during a Capitol Hill interview, while Collins reiterated a position she first made known last month.

Collins was first out of the gate, announcing her opposition to the Republican agenda before it was fashionable for a GOP senator to do so. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) was next, announcing his intention to vote against it earlier this week, though he originally said he’d vote for it, before it dawned on him it would likely ruin his career.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), oddly enough, said yesterday he’ll oppose the Paul Ryan plan, too, though he’s doing so because it’s not right-wing enough. “I can’t vote to add that much debt,” he said.

And with Snowe’s comments today, that makes four Republicans who won’t support the House GOP agenda. Snowe’s announcement is of particular interest, since her opposition to the far-right budget plan will likely be used against her in a Republican primary next year.

Will any other GOP senators run away from their party’s agenda? We’ll see soon enough, but keep an eye on Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who, as of yesterday, has “concerns” about the right-wing plan. Mark Kirk of Illinois also hasn’t said which way he’ll vote.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) were considered possible “no” votes, but both announced their support yesterday.

For Dems, this is still shaping up to be a win-win scenario — if Republicans back the House GOP plan, it’s a vote that can and will be used against members going forward. If Republicans balk, it sows divisions within the GOP, and makes those who supported it look that much more extreme.