Scott Brown: I didn’t mean to say I would vote for Ryan Plan

May 23, 2011

By Theo Emery, Boston Globe Staff

Senator Scott Brown says he misspoke when he recently told a business group that he would vote for a House GOP budget plan that proposes sweeping changes to Medicare.

“When I said last week that I was going to vote for the House GOP’s plan to abolish Medicare what I really meant was I was going to vote on it — and I have no idea yet which way I’m going to vote,” the Massachusetts Republican said in comments reported by Talking Points Memo.

Brown was speaking to the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce on May 13 when he told the group that he would vote for the budget proposed by Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

“The leaders will bring forward (Ryan’s budget) budget, and I will vote for it, and it will fail,” he said. “Then the president will bring forward his budget, and it will fail.” Those politicized votes would provide grist for attack ads, he went on to say, and then those lawmakers serious about compromise would sit down to forge a bipartisan plan.

The comments ignited a storm of criticism, because the comments implied a willingness to vote for the most contentious aspect of the Ryan budget: a provision to turn Medicare into a voucher system.

Ryan’s budget, which the House has passed, would also turn Medicaid into a block-grant system and reduce spending by trillions of dollars more than the president’s proposal. The plan could come up for a vote in the Senate, but has no chance of actually passing in the Democrat-controlled chamber.

After the speech was reported, Brown aides said his comments were simply observations on the politicized nature of Congress. While Brown supported the general thrust of the Ryan plan, according to a spokesman, he had not yet made clear how he would vote it came up in the Senate.

Aides made no mention of his having misspoken. Brown’s comments to Talking Points Memo appear to be the first time that he has claimed to have intended to say one thing and instead said another.


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