Attacks against Republicans for supporting Paul Ryan's budget are nothing new. Yet the most damaging claim here is that Cotton supports raising the beneficiary age to 70 — something Ryan's budget specifically avoided doing. (It raises the Medicare age only to 67, and doesn't even touch Social Security.)And we'll see plenty more of Tom Cotton in his military gear, in between Obamascare stuff.
But Cotton is in this hot water because he voted for a budget even further to the right than Ryan's. In early 2013, some conservatives were unhappy that Ryan's latest proposal took 10 years to actually balance the budget — that is, to eliminate the yearly deficit. So the Republican Study Committee proposed its own plan, that balanced in just 4 years. To do so, it had to include major entitlement cuts that Ryan had backed away from, and include them more quickly. But it also proposed that crucial hike of the Social Security and Medicare eligibility ages to 70, starting in 2024.
The vote became an important litmus test for conservatives worried about their budget-cutting credentials. Groups like Heritage Action said they'd "score" it — which meant they'd deem candidates opposing it less conservative. And so that March, when Cotton was just two months into his first Congressional term, he voted for it. Now Pryor looks set to hammer home that one vote for the rest of the campaign.