Dem senators to Biden: Ryan Medicare plan should be off the table


by Libby Leist

Five Democratic senators up for re-election next year have written a letter to Vice President Biden to lay out their opposition to Paul Ryan's Medicare plan and to urge that it remain off the table in the bipartisan deficit talks Biden is leading.

Sens. Bill Nelson, Ben Cardin, Sherrod Brown, Claire McCaskill, and Jon Tester write to Biden: "Despite the public's overwhelming rejection of this proposal … many top congressional leaders are now saying they want the [Ryan] plan included as part of a package to reduce the deficit… This proposal would never pass Congress on its own, and it does not belong in a larger deal either."

They continue, "We encourage you to remain unwavering in opposition to this scheme. For the good of the nation's seniors, it must remain off the table."

The Ryan Medicare plan would fundamentally alter the government's health-care program for seniors, privatizing it for those who are currently under 55.

The "Biden talks" — which include Sens. Kyl (R-AZ), Baucus (D-MT) and Inouye (D-HI), as well as Congressmen Clyburn (D-SC), Van Hollen (D-MD) and Cantor (R-VA) — will resume on Thursday. Biden has promised the group will tackle "big ticket" items like Medicare and spending cuts of at least $1 trillion. The talks are tied to a vote to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2.