With the Senate expected to vote next week on the House Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), Virginia Senate hopeful George Allen (R) won’t say how he would cast his ballot if he was in the chamber.
Since the House passed the fiscal 2012 spending blueprint last month, Republicans across the country have been queried on whether they support the plan, which includes a controversial proposal to change Medicare — only for people currently under 55 — by giving recipients vouchers to help pay for private health insurance. Though Senate Democrats don’t yet have a budget proposal for 2012 of their own, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is planning to put the Ryan budget on the floor next week to put Republicans in his chamber on the spot.
Asked how Allen — the former senator running to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D) — would vote on the measure if he could, campaign spokeswoman Katie Wright didn’t give a direct answer.
“George Allen commends Congressman Ryan for offering a thoughtful plan that has started a much needed debate,” Wright said. “If Allen was in the Senate he would offer his own ideas to get a balanced budget with a stronger economy sooner than the Ryan plan. It is crucial that decisions are made now for the fiscal and economic health of our country. For nearly 25 months we have seen Democrats continue to spend and borrow at dangerous levels without passing, much less proposing a real budget solution.”
That comment is similar to those made by the Allen campaign when the plan moved through the House last month, praising Ryan for offering the measure but stopping short of a clear endorsement.
Allen took a similar wait-and-see approach before last month’s vote on the spending-cut package negotiated between Republican leaders and President Obama. Allen initially declined to say how he would vote on the measure, then eventually said he would support it after taking criticism from two Senate race opponents — ex-Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and former Virginia Tea Party Patriots leader Jamie Radtke (R).
The Ryan budget has proved a vexing topic for some Republicans inside and outside of Congress. Democrats have incessantly attacked the plan, largely because of the Medicare provision, but many conservative activists have pounced on any Republicans — including presidential candidate Newt Gingrich — who sought to distance themselves from it.