GOP pollsters warned House leaders not to call a vote on Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, saying its Medicare provision was positively toxic. No matter how positively they framed the bill, the plan’s approval rating never climbed above the upper end of the 30s, and its disapproval numbers were always well above 50%, a GOP operative tells Politico. “You might not want to go there,” NRCC staffers warned in a pre-vote meeting.
Republicans presented a united front in voting for the Ryan budget, but internally there was vigorous dissension. “People in my district like Medicare,” Dave Camp, a major Ryan rival, declared at one meeting. “The Tea Party itch has definitely not been scratched,” one top GOP consultant says. “The feeling among leadership was … we don’t know what to do, but it has to be bold.” But another GOP insider offered this morose assessment: “Jumping off a bridge is bold, too.” (Read more Paul Ryan stories.)