Senate Democrats plan to boost Medicare spending by $5 billion over the next two years, a top Senate Democrat said Wednesday, as the party seeks to show its support for the Affordable Care Act and to woo conservative voters in states that are turning red.
“If we’re going to be the party that takes care of you, we have to be able to pay for that,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., told reporters during a news conference with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
Murray said Democrats will spend the money on a number of programs that help seniors.
Some of the money would go to expanding access to care, including the expansion of the Medicare Advantage program, the creation of a new Medicare Advantage enrollment portal and the expansion to provide free prescription drugs.
“It’s going to take some work and we’re not going to do it overnight,” she said.
Murray and Ryan are in a tight race for the Senate majority.
The Wisconsin Democrat has been working hard to woo Republican voters to the party, and she said she and Ryan will be spending the money to do that.
“We’re going after the votes we need,” Murray said.
Democrats have spent the past few weeks trying to make a dent in the GOP majority.
In Iowa, a state where President Donald Trump won the popular vote, the party is planning to spend more than $2 billion to help boost voter turnout.
In Georgia, where Democrats have struggled to hold onto their majority, House Speaker David Gowan is running ads that are targeting voters who backed Trump but voted for Democratic candidates.
Gowan said Wednesday that he expects to spend a combined $4.5 billion on his campaign in the state.
The GOP has been trying to take back control of the House in the wake of the election results, and the Democratic majority in the Senate has been reduced to 52-48.
The GOP has control of both chambers of Congress and the presidency, which is why Republicans have spent a lot of time in the past week trying to persuade conservative voters to support the GOP.
The budget plan unveiled by Murray and Ryan in their joint news conference is intended to provide additional support for Americans with pre-existing conditions and help pay for the ACA.