Paul Ryan Budget Creates Friction in Congressional Race

Thursday, October 11, 2012

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiling his 2012 budget proposal last week. (Getty)

The Paul Ryan budget may have sprung the Republican vice presidential candidate to national prominence, but it is not playing out as well in local races throughout the country. The plan, also named, "The Path to Prosperity," served as the basis for legislation passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives (and later rejected by the Democratically-controlled Senate). But criticisms over the plan's steep cuts to Medicare have made it a talking point for Democrats in tough Senate and House races across the country.

In New York State, Democrat Kathy Hochul secured her seat in a special election in a solidly red district last year by tying her opponent, Chris Collins, to the Ryan budget. She's in a tough re-election campaign this year and employing a similar strategy.  

Meanwhile in Florida, Republican Allen West has launched an aggressive campaign to defend his vote of the Ryan budget, and Dean Heller in Nevada has come under heavy fire for being the only member of Congress who voted for the budget in both the House and Senate (he was appointed to the Senate last year).  

Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich took an in-depth look at the impact of the Paul Ryan budget on local races for a special airing Thursday night on PBS's NewsHour.

The Ryan budget is at the center of not only the Presidential race, but House and Senate races across the country as well. And this, Zwillich says, is really unusual. "There is hardly a competitive house race in this nation," he says, "Where the Ryan budget isn't a key factor."

"Candidates throughout the country are handling the Ryan budget attacks in different ways," Zwillich says. "Chris Collins is a person trying to get into Congress who recognizes the potential political difficulty of the Ryan budget, says 'I've never said I support it,'" though he does say that he supports parts of it — including the changes to Medicare.

"Now, Florida is full of seniors — a totally different case," Zwillich says. Allen West voted for the Ryan budget, and is now being attacked by his opponent. West is an example of a Republican who uses the Ryan budget as an opportunity to talk about debt.

Will the Ryan budget be enough for Democrats to take back the House? "Probably not," Zwillich says. But it is changing the conversation in races throughout the country.

Guests:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [2]

listener

The Ryan budget was "rejected by the Senate" without a debate or discussion like cut,cap and balance.
Is that obstruction?

"Remember Alan West"...who doesn't fit the progressive narrative on the left's endless obsession with race which may be why a reminder of this prominent conservative is necessary for some.

Saying Medicare will soon go broke for everyone if nothing significant is done is the truth and not scare tactics.
Are conservatives a "very sophisticated voting block who understand the details" as opposed to those on the left who are easily hoodwinked with bogus scare tactics about Ryan?

Oct. 11 2012 12:33 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

I'm sorry, I spent the entire segment combining Paul Ryan's name with Ayn Rand...I came up with Paulyn Ryand... Can someone help me make a better anyn-agram

Oct. 11 2012 12:10 PM

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