Cantor giving up on Medicare reform? Not so much.

posted at 8:40 am on May 5, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Feathers began to fly on the hill this week when the Washington Post came out with a story indicating that Eric Cantor was about ready to throw in the towel on entitlement reform. The purported reason was the need to find some sort of compromise with Democrats on getting the debt ceiling raised and moving forward with the next budget.

Senior Republicans conceded Wednesday that a deal is unlikely on a contentious plan to overhaul Medicare and offered to open budget talks with the White House by focusing on areas where both parties can agree, such as cutting farm subsidies.

On the eve of debt-reduction talks led by Vice President Biden, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said Republicans remain convinced that reining in federal retirement programs is the key to stabilizing the nation’s finances over the long term. But he said Republicans recognize they may need to look elsewhere to achieve consensus after President Obama “excoriated us” for a proposal to privatize Medicare.

Disappointing news indeed. But was it actually news? The reports of Cantor’s remarks apparently came as a surprise to… Eric Cantor.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is denying a published account claiming Republicans are preparing to ditch Rep. Paul Ryan’s ambitious plan to revamp Medicare in pursuit of a debt ceiling compromise with Democrats — but both sides have begun seeking common ground on oil subsidies, sources say.

The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that Cantor, highly influential with the party’s tea party wing, planned to abandon Rep. Paul Ryan’s controversial Medicare plan, but a spokesman for Cantor said his boss was quoted out of context — and the GOP is keeping a hard line.

“Eric made very clear that our position is the Ryan budget which — as you know — assumes a debt limit increase and includes Medicare, Medicaid and $715 billion in mandatory savings,” Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring told POLITICO. “Whether the Democrats will agree to the proposals we’ve outlined is yet to be seen, but that is our starting point so we don’t continue to kick the can down the road and make real cuts and real reforms this year.”

This may have been a case of wishful thinking on the part of the wapo. In any event, some sort of grand compromise is going to have to be reached if they expect to make any progress, but the Republican base is going to simply explode if the first move the GOP makes is to take entitlement reform off the table. Not a situation that Cantor or any of the leadership wants, I’m sure.

The more disturbing part of the corrected story is the line they slipped in above, stating that the two parties “have begun seeking common ground on oil subsidies.” We’re going to need some serious clarification on that one, and sooner rather than later. As we pointed out earlier this week, there are many targets painted on the energy industry in terms of cost cutting, and lots of the so called “subsidies” are anything but. Real subsidies, of course, should be on the table, and it will be a good job by Congress if they can get both parties engaged in that discussion seriously.

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OT, but did we collectively decide that OOTDs are no longer appropriate now that Obama has flexed somebody else’s muscles?

James on May 5, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Even if they have to give up a little more, the Republicans should make sure the ceiling raise is low enough that another one has to be held a couple months out from the next election.

BadgerHawk on May 5, 2011 at 8:45 AM

James on May 5, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Ed’s on vacation.

myrenovations on May 5, 2011 at 8:49 AM

“have begun seeking common ground on oil subsidies.”

So they aren’t really subsidies or “tax credits”, they’re tax deductions, and they aren’t necessarily specific to the oil industry, but they’re called “oil subsidies”. Good work Politco, your free OFA tee-shirts have been shipped.

forest on May 5, 2011 at 8:50 AM

James on May 5, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Ed’s on vacation.

I’m sure he’s stockpiling OOTDs from the poor management following the OBL mission.

BadgerHawk on May 5, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Rep. Ryan: stay the course!

Khun Joe on May 5, 2011 at 8:53 AM

just heard ryan on bill bennet’s show…he’s standing strong…

cmsinaz on May 5, 2011 at 8:55 AM

BadgerHawk on May 5, 2011 at 8:51 AM

indeed

cmsinaz on May 5, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Cutting farm subsidies would be a very nice start. Nothing wrong with going for the low hanging fruit first.

cool breeze on May 5, 2011 at 8:55 AM

but the Republican base is going to simply explode if the first move the GOP makes is to take entitlement reform off the table

you got that right….

cmsinaz on May 5, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Still, the only sensible presumption – based on long history – is that the ‘pubbies will cave on the important stuff. It’s up to them to prove otherwise.

PersonFromPorlock on May 5, 2011 at 8:58 AM

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-05/jobless-claims-in-u-s-unexpectedly-jump-due-to-special-factors.html

OT: I’m sure this will get its own thread, but here’s why Obama’s bump in the polls won’t last.

Doughboy on May 5, 2011 at 9:02 AM

The more disturbing part of the corrected story is the line they slipped in above, stating that the two parties “have begun seeking common ground on oil subsidies.” We’re going to need some serious clarification on that one, and sooner rather than later. As we pointed out earlier this week, there are many targets painted on the energy industry in terms of cost cutting, and lots of the so called “subsidies” are anything but. Real subsidies, of course, should be on the table, and it will be a good job by Congress if they can get both parties engaged in that discussion seriously.

Paging Sarah Palin…

steebo77 on May 5, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Doughboy on May 5, 2011 at 9:02 AM

unexpectedly….maybe he’ll show the photos now?

cmsinaz on May 5, 2011 at 9:07 AM

If it sounds like they are going to fold, they are going to fold. The first step to folding is to deny that you are folding. As much as I would love to encourage Republicans not to fold to media pressure, they do it every time. There is not a single Republican figure with enough moxie to stand up to our press and take the heat that will be required to fight raising the debt ceiling or reform entitlements. I would love to be proven wrong.

Angry Dumbo on May 5, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Angry Dumbo on May 5, 2011 at 9:09 AM

ryan and rubio most likely will do it

cmsinaz on May 5, 2011 at 9:10 AM

unexpectedly….maybe he’ll show the photos now?

cmsinaz on May 5, 2011 at 9:07 AM

I don’t know. Maybe Obama thinks milking this for all it’s worth is the way to go. That way he can distract people from the economic disaster we’re facing. That’s tough to pull off though when everyone’s reminded of it every time they go to the gas station or supermarket.

Doughboy on May 5, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Doughboy on May 5, 2011 at 9:13 AM

good point…

cmsinaz on May 5, 2011 at 9:15 AM

If Cantor is considered a leader in the republican party, they are a ship of fools.

volsense on May 5, 2011 at 9:15 AM

cmsinaz on May 5, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Anything to get people on to those trains…

BadgerHawk on May 5, 2011 at 9:23 AM

BadgerHawk on May 5, 2011 at 9:23 AM

yup

cmsinaz on May 5, 2011 at 9:24 AM

I think Trump is right, there is a messaging problem with “Reforming Medicare.” It sounds like a euphemism for slashing benefits for everyone.

It should be called “RESCUING Medicare” or more long-windedly, “Rescuing Medicare from gross squandering, waste, corruption, and incompetence, and from sudden slashing of benefits for today’s beneficiaries in order to thwart the invasive government machinations of those pervasive liars who promise pie-in-the-sky falsehoods while already using our children as economic human-shields for selfish political and monetary aggrandizement; and in order for caring, responsible government to keep paying an INCREASING amount to beneficiaries every year at an optimized rate to ensure solvency forever.”

G. Charles on May 5, 2011 at 9:25 AM

The more disturbing part of the corrected story is the line they slipped in above, stating that the two parties “have begun seeking common ground on oil subsidies.” We’re going to need some serious clarification on that one, and sooner rather than later.

I thought I saw something on Fox News yesterday indicating that some Dem in Congress is proposing legislation to disallow legitimate tax deductions to oil companies. I don’t see how that survives an equal-protection analysis.

BuckeyeSam on May 5, 2011 at 9:37 AM

I don’t see how that survives an equal-protection analysis.

BuckeyeSam on May 5, 2011 at 9:37 AM

But it sounds good to low information voters.

BadgerHawk on May 5, 2011 at 9:40 AM

OT: another lead balloon by dear leader

cmsinaz on May 5, 2011 at 9:18 AM

This is a headline thread now.

BadgerHawk on May 5, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Ryan should be commended for trying something concrete, unfortunately, his plan was released without enough information. As someone with a wife battling cancer and me just being told I probably have it, I don’t think he understands that almost all seniors have some pre-existing condition by the time the reach Medicare age. He was not clear about whether his plan would ensure there would be insurance available for people with Medicare, or if so, whether it would be priced on your medical situation. He also wanted to “means test”. This is also dicey. Is this an “asset based” test, or “income based?” He never said. I object to having lived a frugal life saving for retirement while my neighbors, friends and relatives lived the good life of four vacations, new cars, concubines, etc. and are now broke. They will get the full subsidy and I will be asked to sacrifice again to pay for their irresponsibility. Not me. I fear asset seizure will be the next tool used by the professional political class to atone for their profligate spending. Ryan’s big picture will come back to bite him without the specifics and this could cost us in ’12 as the senior inciters crank it up.

flyoverland on May 5, 2011 at 9:44 AM

I thought I saw something on Fox News yesterday indicating that some Dem in Congress is proposing legislation to disallow legitimate tax deductions to oil companies. I don’t see how that survives an equal-protection analysis.

BuckeyeSam on May 5, 2011 at 9:37 AM

I agree, but until the myth that these are true subsidies is destroyed, good luck with that.

In the next administration we will have to create new, real subsidies for oil companies and other industry to provide incentives to oil companies to invest in the USA. We should even think about a settlement with Shell Oil for being viciously raped by little Bammie last month.

Meanwhile, much more lucrative and truly special subsidies for General Electric and Government Motors seem to be a forbidden topic.

slickwillie2001 on May 5, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Ed’s on vacation.

myrenovations on May 5, 2011 at 8:49 AM

AP doesn’t want to do anything to embarrass Dear Leader?

James on May 5, 2011 at 3:53 PM

By my calculation, we hit the debt ceiling on Tuesday. Next week is going to be interesting. Why do we not have a story about that, by the way?

Theophile on May 5, 2011 at 4:31 PM