Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has seen enough of Rep. Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" to declare it dead on arrival. In a statement to reporters on Tuesday, Baucus ripped into the Republican proposal to privatize Medicare while slashing benefits for seniors over time as a betrayal of the program's core mission.
"Independent experts agree the House Plan would make deep cuts to the Medicare benefits seniors count on," Baucus said in a statement. "It would end Medicare as we know it and funnel Medicare dollars directly into private insurance companies' pockets. Under the House plan, seniors' coverage would be cut drastically, benefits would no longer be guaranteed and seniors' costs would skyrocket. We can't allow the House to balance the budget on the backs of seniors and we won't - not on my watch."
Baucus is typically considered one of the less partisan members of his caucus, best known in recent years for delaying health care talks for months in order to try and secure Republican votes that never materialized. But his statement makes clear that even as an opening bid in deficit talks, Ryan's entitlement cuts are a nonstarter.