“The Republican plan to kill Medicare is part of a plan to balance the budget on the backs of seniors,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said before the vote.
Republicans defended the measure's changes to Medicare as necessary to keep it from becoming insolvent in 2024, as determined by the Medicare trustees in their May 14 annual report.
“We can do nothing and watch the program go bankrupt in 2024,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said before the vote, about the impact of defeating the Ryan plan.
The Senate resoundingly rejected President Barack Obama's proposed budget 97-0 after Republicans insisted on consideration of it to show that even Democrats do not support the growing deficits it would establish. The Obama budget projected a record $1.65 trillion deficit for the current fiscal year and an additional $7.21 trillion in deficit spending over the coming decade.
Also rejected by the Senate 55-42 was a budget proposed by Sen. Pat Toomey that would balance the federal budget within 10 years. That measure included transforming Medicaid into a block grant program, replacing the Medicare sustainable growth-rate formula, and overhauling medical malpractice law.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered another budget blueprint—rejected 90-7—which would eliminate the federal government's annual deficit within five years.