Senators tell Biden to reject GOP Medicare plan

By HENRY C. JACKSON | June 6, 2011 | 2:58 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Five Democratic senators are calling on Vice President Joe Biden to reaffirm his commitment to keeping major Medicare changes out of budget and deficit negotiations.

Sens. Claire McCaskill, of Missouri, Jon Tester, of Montana, Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Bill Nelson of Florida express their concerns in a letter sent Monday to Biden. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

Biden has made progress in negotiations, the senators note. As talks move to areas of less consensus the vice president must insist that significant changes to Medicare are off the table. They say that's important because Republican leaders maintain their Medicare proposal is still a part of negotiations.

All five senators, from states with significant elderly populations, are up for reelection in 2012.