Rep. Price: Medicare Push Not ‘Smart Thing Politically,’ But ‘Right Thing to Do’

May 31, 2011 3:59pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Republican House leaders are continuing to stand by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan, even as Democrats vow to make it an issue in races nationwide next year.

Asked if voting for the plan was a mistake, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., told us on ABC’s “Top Line” today that he doesn’t think it was a mistake to support major changes to a program that’s on a track toward bankruptcy.

“What the American people want and understand is that we’ve got to have something different than business as usual,” said Price, who serves on the House Ways and Means and the Budget committees.

Asked about Democratic attacks, he said: “I think they’ll try. … But we didn’t do this because it was the smart thing politically to do — we did it because it’s the right thing to do. And it’s the right thing because the American people understand that you just can’t keep doing this craziness up here in Washington.”

Price defended today’s vote on raising the debt limit – even though all involved realize the vote will fall far short – to “demonstrate to the president” that Congress does not support a higher debt ceiling without corresponding budget cuts.

And Price had kind words for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose odd bus tour of the East Coast is drawing wide media attention.

“I don’t think she’s the one that dictates how much political oxygen is sucked up because of her activities.  I’ll tell ya, anybody that’s out there energizing the American people is positive.”

Asked if he wants her to run for president, Price said: “I like a broad cross-section of individuals on our side of the aisle. I think we’re going to have a great race. And I think the president — and unless he does something to change his policies and moves in a direction that the American people are demanding — I think the president will have a very challenging election in 2012.”

Watch the full interview with Rep. Tom Price HERE.

We also checked in with Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz about Palin’s latest maneuverings, plus the politics of Medicare.

Watch that portion of the program HERE.


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