Rep. Paul Ryan has a must-read op-ed in the Wall Street Journal tonight on ending the fiscal impasse in Washington.
It’s perhaps more notable for what it doesn’t once mention — Obamacare — as what it eventually proposes. That omission seemed to ignite the ire of conservatives Tuesday night.
The key proposition in Ryan’s op-ed, though, is a trade of entitlement reform for repeal of the sequester cuts.
From the op-ed:
For my Democratic colleagues, the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act are a major concern. And the truth is, there’s a better way to cut spending. We could provide relief from the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act in exchange for structural reforms to entitlement programs.
Ryan also proposes a few ideas for entitlement reform — making wealthier Americans pay higher premiums for Medicare, reforming “Medigap” (Medicare supplement) plans to “encourage efficiency” and reduce costs, and asking federal employees to contribute more to their own retirement.
Ryan’s entry into the current debate is significant — until now, the former Republican vice presidential nominee had been almost entirely silent.
That said, it’s not likely that the White House and President Barack Obama would accept this sort of deal without additional revenue included. And the White House has insisted that Obama won’t negotiate with the threats of economic calamity hanging overhead.
Moreover, this is a far cry from the debate that has produced the impasse that has incurred a federal government shutdown. That debate involved conservatives’ insistence that any bill to fund the government stripped any funding for the Affordable Care Act.
Three times in 10 days leading up to the eventual shutdown, the House inserted language into its version of a continuing resolution that stripped funding for or significantly altered certain portions of Obamacare.
Because of that clear omission, Ryan’s op-ed was immediately slammed by conservative groups that have led the “defund” charge. Here’s Dan Holler, the communications director for Heritage Action, taking a jab at Ryan on Twitter:
And it’s likely that Ryan’s op-ed will face more ire from conservatives who want changes to Obamacare.
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