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Congress: Show votes all around

The Boston Globe’s top story: “GOP’s Medicare plan falls in Senate.” The story: “Senate Democrats voted down a Republican budget yesterday along with its controversial plan to partially privatize Medicare, a vote that forced many GOP senators to endorse cuts to a popular program deeply valued by older voters.”

“Senate Democrats enthusiastically rejected the House’s budget blueprint Wednesday in a politically charged vote over the future of Medicare,” Roll Call writes, adding, “A handful of Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Scott Brown (Mass.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — joined Democrats to reject the House budget, 40-57. Paul voted against it because Ryan’s plan still adds $8 trillion to the debt over the next decade. As dramatic as the vote on Ryan’s budget was, the next vote was even more jarring: 97 Senators voted against President Barack Obama’s budget proposal, with none voting in favor.”

The Washington Post notes that most Senate Republicans stood by the Ryan plan. “Wednesday’s vote underscored the pressure being exerted by the party’s tea party base to stick with the plan … and the calculation by Republican officials that they have time before the 2012 election to neutralize any of the Democrats’ political advantages. Moreover, in the Senate, the GOP has some breathing room, with only 10 members up for re­election next year and just one considered vulnerable.”

“A day after a crushing defeat in a New York special election, House GOP lawmakers defended their vote to reform Medicare but grumbled that their leaders must do a better job of messaging,” The Hill writes.

Changing the conversation: “House Republicans will seek to reset the economic-policy debate Thursday, offering a broad plan to boost jobs and growth by easing tax and regulatory burdens. The plan includes a 25% top tax rate on corporations and individuals, compared with the current 35%, as well as higher domestic-energy production, new curbs on government regulations and overhauls of U.S. patent and visa systems to help entrepreneurs and high-tech firms,” the Wall Street Journal says.

The New York Times: “Several lawmakers from both parties on Wednesday accused President Obama of violating the War Powers Resolution by continuing American participation in NATO’s air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, but they struggled with the question of what Congress can or should do about it.”

“In single-handedly blocking reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act, Sen. Rand Paul has finally done what many expected when the Kentucky Republican arrived in Congress earlier this year — he's holding the Senate hostage,” Roll Call reports. “And many of his colleagues aren't happy about it.”