Democrats Vote 'Present' in Effort to Stymie Paul Ryan's Budget UPDATE
12:30 PM, Apr 15, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
While all of the attention has understandably focused on Rep. Paul Ryan's budget versus the President's "framework" -- that's not really a budget but wants to be taken as such -- there are actually a number of budgets floating around Capitol Hill. Democrats have the "People's Budget" from the Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus has put forward a budget and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., has put forth a budget as well. (Ryan actually credited Van Hollen for doing the hard work to put forth a serious budget proposal during his response to the President's budget yesterday.)
On the Republican side, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) also has a budget proposal. The RSC's budget just came up for a vote and in the House, and it failed by the curious tally of 119 - 136, with 172 Democrats voting "present."
Why? By voting "present," Democrats hoped to bring pass threshold down so RSC substitute passed, and Ryan budget would not come up. The RSC budget has no hope of passing the Senate. It would have been a smart tactic had it worked, but it also seems clear that the Democrats do not want to have to debate the specifics of the Ryan budget and would rather demogogue Republicans for passing budget solutions that will gain no traction among moderate senate Democrats.
UPDATE -- it appears that this Democratic tactic was accompanied by a lot of drama: