House Republicans will make a defining choice this week on a sweeping plan to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid, and many are not eager for a vote that could put their jobs at risk.
Democrats, however, are eager to see the House take up the Republican 2012 budget plan. They say it represents an on-the-record endorsement by Republicans of a plan to upend a social program cherished by a growing number of aging Americans. The House vote planned for Friday will commit the Republican Party—particularly its youngest generation of officeholders and perhaps its presidential contenders—to a perilous political path. Past GOP attempts to scale back entitlement programs, including former President George W. Bush's 2005 attempt to privatize Social Security, have been shunned by voters.