Democrats attack GOP Rep. Paul Ryan on his home turf


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put up a billboard in Rep. Paul Ryan's hometown reading "Congressman Ryan: Protecting Millionaires Instead of Medicare." (Courtesy DCCC)

Ahead of Thursday’s anticipated vote on the spending proposal, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee purchased a billboard advertisement that reads, “Congressman Ryan: Protecting Millionaires Instead of Medicare.”

The billboard features the image of an unnamed older man. The ad, as the photo shows above, rises over a neighborhood Pizza Hut and Midas shop at 2235 Milton Ave. in Janesville, Wis., along a busy commercial stretch where Ryan was born and raised.

Budget politics are definitely in focus this week in the House. As The Washington Post’s Rosalind S. Helderman reports today, in addition to Ryan’s plan, the House could vote this week for the first time on a bipartisan deficit-cutting plan, modeled on the suggestions of a presidential commission chaired by former senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former White House official Erskine Bowles, that calls for both spending cuts and new tax revenue.

The proposal is likely to lose to Ryan’s plan. But any signs of significant support could signal new hope for efforts in the coming year to reach the kind of grand deficit-reduction bargain that leaders failed to forge last summer.

Separate from the spending debate, Democrats remain convinced that targeting GOP lawmakers on their plans to overhaul the Medicare program could mobilize senior citizen voters and help Democrats retake the House and maintain a slim majority in the Senate. As part of those efforts, the DCCC has recruited former “West Wing” star Martin Sheen to appear in a new Internet video that asks supporters to sign an online petition urging Republicans not to overhaul Medicare.

Sheen first says that President Obama and Democratic lawmakers have brought the nation back from the brink of economic collapse. Then, as if giving a stemwinder on his old NBC show, he tells viewers: “In this crisis, the same Republicans who obstructed Mr. Obama every step of the way back now want to end Medicare, eliminate it altogether. And what is their goal? Simply to sacrifice Medicare in order to give tax cuts to special interests. That is not the America I was raised in.”

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
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