Ryan Says Politics Prevents ‘Grand Slam’ Agreement on Reducing U.S. Debt

May 6, 2011 05:13

[Ryan] said he believes that Democrats aren’t likely to agree to cuts to Medicare and Social Security because they are more interested in creating a political narrative that works to their benefit. – Bloomberg.com

By Heidi Przybyla at Bloomberg.com


House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said he doesn’t expect a “grand slam” deficit-cutting agreement that addresses the main drivers of the long-term debt, mainly Medicare, before Congress votes on raising the debt limit.

Last month he proposed a plan to privatize Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly, as part of his 2012 budget blueprint. The proposal, passed by the House, has become a flash point for Democrats who say Republicans are trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and elderly.

Congress needs a “straitjacket,” Kyl said yesterday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “We’ve got to constrain the spending.”

“My hope at this moment is to get a single or a double,” he said, using baseball terminology. “We’re not going to get a big comprehensive agreement because of just the political parameters that have been set.”

Other areas for potential compromise are the mandatory spending programs outside of Medicare and Social Security, such as farm aid, Ryan said.

“We should means-test these programs,” he said. “We shouldn’t be giving corporate farms these large agribusiness subsidies. I strongly believe that.”


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