- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sen. Charles E. Schumer on Sunday had some political advice for his Republican counterparts: Throw Rep. Paul D. Ryan overboard.

“The only way we are going to come to an agreement on the budget and the debt ceiling is if [Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] and his Republican colleagues take the Ryan plan off the table and take it off now,” Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, said of the budget plan proposed by Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee.

At the center of Mr. Ryan’s plan are major changes to Medicare, which some, including Mr. Schumer, believe will be fatal to Republicans’ political future.

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,”, Mr. Schumer urged Senate Republicans to ditch the Ryan plan entirely. The proposal failed in a Senate vote last week but garnered the support of all but five Republicans.

“We will oppose them in the budget negotiations if they don’t abandon Ryan,” Mr. Schumer said, adding it will be a “major issue” in the 2012 campaign. If Mr. McConnell and other Republican leaders do not disavow Mr. Ryan’s plan, Mr. Schumer speculated, the Democrats could recapture the House and strengthen their hold in the Senate.

Mr. McConnell voted for the Ryan budget this week but said the ultimate reforms to Medicare will come after negotiations with House and Senate Democrats and the White House.

While Mr. McConnell refused to discuss details, he said the status quo is unacceptable to him and the GOP as a whole.

“The one thing we know we can’t do is nothing,” Mr. McConnell said on “Meet the Press.” “Medicare is going down” without major changes.

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