They Won’t Answer Your Questions

November 15, 2016 5:10 p.m.

A bunch of our readers have been trying to find out where their representatives and senators stand on Paul Ryan’s plan to phase out Medicare and replace it with private insurance and vouchers. Ryan says he wants to push this through in a single bill that also repeals Obamacare. Kellyanne Conway says Ryan may try to move forward with the legislation on inauguration day. That seems dubious. But whenever it happens, Ryan has made clear he wants to do it quickly, like in the first month or two after Trump is sworn in. But virtually all the Reps and Senators are refusing to say where they stand. Sometimes there’s game playing and dodges, others times staffers refuse to say what the Rep and Senators position is. So just as an example. TPM Reader BW just called the office of Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) and was told “There is currently no plan to phase out Medicare. Therefore Zinke does not support any plan to phase out Medicare.”

What Zinke’s office says isn’t true. There definitely is a plan. It’s in the Ryan Budget Zinke and most of the rest of the House GOP caucus has voted in favor of every year since 2011. This is what members of Congress do when they’re trying to avoid taking a position until the vote is already taken and it’s too late.

A number of readers have called Rep. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) to see what his position is. No position. Flat refusal to say where he stands.

On the other hand, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) appears to support phasing out Medicare and replacing it with voucher-subsidized private insurance. That’s according to a letter her office sent in reply to a TPM Readers RL and DL.

What’s also notable is that on the Democratic side, most offices say they haven’t heard anything about it, are sure it can’t happen or don’t know what their boss thinks. So clearly they’re on top of the situation.

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