Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) announced today that she would vote “no” on Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal when it comes up for a vote on the Senate floor later this week (probably Thursday). Sen. Snowe, who is up for re-election next year, said that she could not support the Ryan plan because of its impact on Medicare.
“I am going to vote no on the budget because I have deep and abiding concerns about the approach on Medicare, which is essentially to privatize it,” Snowe told the Portland Press Herald.
The Ryan budget proposal has no chance of winning passage through the United States Senate. Democrats control the Senate by a 53-47 margin. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) only scheduled the vote to force Republicans to declare themselves on the issue; the idea being that if they voted for it, Democrats could run television commercials saying that this Republican and that Republican US Senator voted to kill Medicare.
The fact that Snowe has bailed on the Ryan plan means that other Republicans will likely follow her lead. Sen. Snowe is highly regarded for her political instincts. She has never lost an election in nearly four decades of holding elective office. She was re-elected to the United States Senate in 2006 with 74% of the vote.