Yesterday, Dan Drezner put up a post on his blog at Foreign Policy in which he expressed optimism that a “grand bargain” on the federal deficit and entitlements might be arrived at in hyper-partisan Washington. Today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said such a deal was unlikely, at best. The Wall Street Journal reports:
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on Wednesday threw cold water on prospects for a grand bargain to tackle the looming U.S. fiscal crisis, saying the parties were too far apart on crucial issues. But he hopes a deal can be struck to restrain spending and overhaul the Social Security program, he said.
Mr. Ryan (R-WI) said he thought the coming debate over raising the country’s borrowing limit would lead to an agreement with Democrats for at least a “down payment” on tackling the federal government’s deficits and debt.
“Because we have such a difference of opinion on health care, it’s hard to imagine we’re going to have a global agreement,” Mr. Ryan said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires in his Capitol Hill office. “Everyone wants to get a grand slam, but maybe we can get a single or a double.”
The interview with Rep. Ryan was conducted two hours before President Obama’s speech at George Washington University, during which the president took direct aim at Mr. Ryan’s proposal for tackling the federal budget deficit crisis.