Ryan offering a face-saving path for all sides?

posted at 12:01 pm on October 9, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Paul Ryan flex his leadership muscles, perhaps as long as last year after his unsuccessful bid for the Vice Presidency on Mitt Romney’s ticket. That seems especially odd in the context of the months-long budget fights on Capitol Hill, as Ryan chairs the House Budget Committee but seems to have been all but eclipsed by other Tea Party figures such as Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.  Ryan re-emerges in a Wall Street Journal column today with a plan to end the stalemate:

If Mr. Obama decides to talk, he’ll find that we actually agree on some things. For example, most of us agree that gradual, structural reforms are better than sudden, arbitrary cuts. 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.

These reforms are vital. Over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office predicts discretionary spending—that is, everything except entitlement programs and debt payments—will grow by $202 billion, or roughly 17%. Meanwhile, mandatory spending—which mostly consists of funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security—will grow by $1.6 trillion, or roughly 79%. The 2011 Budget Control Act largely ignored entitlement spending. But that is the nation’s biggest challenge. …

Here are just a few ideas to get the conversation started. We could ask the better off to pay higher premiums for Medicare. We could reform Medigap plans to encourage efficiency and reduce costs. And we could ask federal employees to contribute more to their own retirement.

The president has embraced these ideas in budget proposals he has submitted to Congress. And in earlier talks with congressional Republicans, he has discussed combining Medicare’s Part A and Part B, so the program will be less confusing for seniors. These ideas have the support of nonpartisan groups like the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and they would strengthen these critical programs. And all of them would help pay down the debt.

We should also enact pro-growth reforms that put people back to work—like opening up America’s vast energy reserves to development. There is even some agreement on taxes across the aisle.

The payoff is worth the climbdown, Ryan argues:

Reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code will spur economic growth—another goal that both parties share. The CBO says stable or declining levels of federal debt would help the economy. In addition, “federal interest payments would be smaller, policy makers would have greater leeway . . . to respond to any economic downturns . . . and the risk of a sudden fiscal crisis would be much smaller.”

A few people noticed that Ryan avoided mentioning ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act.  Ryan’s office explained that ObamaCare would be included in entitlement reform.  The broader categorization allows for a little face-saving on the part of Democrats, presumably, but Ryan’s broader entitlement reforms have always addressed the ACA as part of what needs to be changed in entitlements anyway.

NBC’s political crew wonders whether this isn’t the escape path for all sides:

Yesterday, Republicans began floating proposals that had nothing to do with health care. Moreover, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan argued for “both sides” to “agree to common-sense reforms of the country’s entitlement programs and tax code.” What he called for were some of the very things that Obama and Democrats have already put on the table. Medicare means-testing? Check. Further long-term entitlement cuts (like Chained CPI?)? Check. Bipartisan tax reform? Check. Most important, however, was what Ryan DIDN’T MENTION in the op-ed: any changes to the president’s health-care law. So Ryan’s op-ed is a pretty big deal; it’s an olive branch (from its tone) and it lays a potential way out.

The big question, of course, is if conservatives will feel betrayed by this potential way out — that is, some legislative process fix that forces the White House into debt talks that will include zero real changes to health care. Already, Heritage Action’s spokesman tweeted, “Much like White House press, Paul Ryan doesn’t mention Obamacare in WSJ oped.” The Senate Conservative Fund quipped, “@PRyan Obamacare is the #1 job killer and it will bankrupt our country. Your plan does nothing to stop it.” And conservative commentator Erick Erickson went off on Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) for reportedly criticizing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at a closed GOP meeting. Over the past few months, we’ve had this question for Republicans and conservatives: What is victory for them? Is it some compromise entitlement changes and tax reform? If so, that outcome looks attainable. Or is it a significant rollback to the president’s health-care law? For the conservative leaders in Washington, it’s clear they would prefer a focus on debt and entitlements. For some of these conservative grassroots leaders, it’s Obamacare or bust. This is, of course, what Boehner’s been worried about all along.

Clearly, the Democrats are being hurt by their refusal to negotiate, but they’re not losing on the repeal-ObamaCare front, either. The rollout has already happened and won’t be undone by this Senate or President.  Based on its disastrous rollout, Republicans should be looking for ways to get out of the way of the trainwreck so that Americans get the best possible view of it.

The question will be what Republicans can get from this standoff that actually helps on debt and spending.  Ryan’s at least looking for badly-needed reforms as potential wins.  With the original impasse strategy at an end, we need to acknowledge the facts on the ground, adapt to them, and look for ways to win concrete improvements in the status quo.


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Most of what Ryan says sounds like what was contained in Simpson-Bowles. Why not pass that plan and put the Democrats on the defensive? How can Obama commission a committee to reduce our federal deficit and then abandon it during a shutdown?

djaymick on October 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Why do our leaders consider a need to save face?

Haven’t they been doing the peoples’ work?

BobMbx on October 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

“Means-testing” is a euphemism for class-warfare. It is the very heart and soul of socialist/communist propaganda and a tool to grab power. Envy. They have stuff I want and didn’t earn, let’s use the coercive power of the state to take it from them.

Panther on October 9, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Socialists oppose means-testing because it ensures only those who need a specific program will receive benefits. They want each and everyone of us to be reliant on these programs.

youngTXcon on October 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

BobMbx on October 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Here are 2 VERY obvious reasons which apparently need to be said:

1. Elections are won by people who the voting public do not consider to be flaming a$$holes.

2. Laws are passed by majorities whose cooperation is possible to obtain when others do not consider the proponent to be a flaming a$$hole.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 2:34 PM

youngTXcon on October 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

If more people truly understood that most people take out much more than they contribute to our “trust funds” they would understand why means testing makes sense.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 2:36 PM

If more people truly understood that most people take out much more than they contribute to our “trust funds” they would understand why means testing makes sense.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 2:36 PM

What you don’t understand is that means-testing is already baked into the cake, a fundamental component of our regressive tax system. The rich are the ones already providing more than their share and subsidizing the rest of us.

Even though Sheldon said it was an absolute and not subject to gradation, “You could not be more wrong.”

Panther on October 9, 2013 at 2:47 PM

regresssive = progressive.

I could not have been more wrong.

Panther on October 9, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Here are 2 VERY obvious reasons which apparently need to be said:

1. Elections are won by people who the voting public do not consider to be flaming a$$holes.

2. Laws are passed by majorities whose cooperation is possible to obtain when others do not consider the proponent to be a flaming a$$hole.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Grayson. Pelosi. Reid. Hussein.

Not following your logic above. Perhaps definition of “flaming a$$hole” changes with the amount of free money one gets. Or not.

riddick on October 9, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Panther on October 9, 2013 at 2:47 PM

It isn’t baked in enough because the wealthy still take out much more than they put in. That means that 18 year old Joey the fry chef is subsidizing Bill Gates’ retirement.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Olive branch? More like total capitulation.

NO thanks.

I’ve lost all respect for Paul Ryan.

Norwegian on October 9, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Norwegian on October 9, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Total capitulation at this point would be doing their party and their nation a tremendous service! The GOP needs to take any turd they can get hold of and polish it until shines like a diamond so they can declare victory and end this mess.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

1. Elections are won by people who the voting public do not consider to be flaming a$$holes.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Basically, you’re saying the voting public considered Mitt Romney a flaming a$$hole.

bw222 on October 9, 2013 at 3:40 PM

bw222 on October 9, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Basically, yes. Sad to say but Mitt but was a terrible campaigner. He would have been great in office, but he didn’t have the chops to get there. The Left turned a sincere, good and decent man in to Simon Legree.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Ryan can lose his seat in the house (even to a democrat) and the country would be better for it.
He is nothing less than a salesman with even fewer scruples.

astonerii on October 9, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Ryan is one of the biggest frauds in Congress. He claims to be a budget hawk, yet he has voted for No Child Left Behind, TARP, Medicare Part D, the auto bailout and every debt ceiling increase.

The only thing I remember about Paul Ryan and the 2012 election was the night he served as Joe Biden’s doormat.

I have never voted for a Democrat in my life but I do play to donate to Ryan’s opponent next year.

bw222 on October 9, 2013 at 3:45 PM

The Left turned the public image of a sincere, good and decent man in to Simon Legree.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Ryan’s plan sounds like a sober way to end the standoff. It addresses the runaway entitlement train for the first time in a generation.

That a grandstanding idiot like Erickson opposes it (and any criticism of the grandstanding Cruz) is an effective endorsement.

For those conservatives for whom any deal is seen as a betrayal no matter what policy objectives are achieved, it is decision time. If you can’t get on board with leadership to settle the shutdown, maybe your decades-long threats to leave the GOP have ripened, and it is time to hit the door.

And Jim DeMint, who I encouraged to run in the first place and supported against a GOP establishment field and against the tendencies of Lindsey Graham, should be ashamed of himself. When you reflexively blast Paul Ryan’s plan when he is the only one in Washington with a sane one, and you never bothered to do the hard work to craft an alternative, you are becoming just a malcontent, and that adds nothing to our cause or our country.

Adjoran on October 9, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Paul Ryan wants to put this all behind us so that he can get amnesty for illegal alines back on track. No thanks, crony, I want to stop amnesty just as much as I want to stop Obamacare. Paul Ryan doesn’t want to stop either.

FloatingRock on October 9, 2013 at 12:17 PM

ObamaCare can be reversed; amnesty can’t.

bw222 on October 9, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Adjoran on October 9, 2013 at 3:50 PM

+1

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Total capitulation at this point would be doing their party and their nation a tremendous service! The GOP needs to take any turd they can get hold of and polish it until shines like a diamond so they can declare victory and end this mess.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

NUTS!

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 3:55 PM

He isn’t the best vote getter, but Ryan is a brilliant and practical man. I hope that he can get this done, stat.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 12:45 PM

But, he does make a great looking doormat at national debates. That’s something you can’t take away from Paul.

bw222 on October 9, 2013 at 3:57 PM

bw222 on October 9, 2013 at 3:57 PM

That’s ridiculous. Biden was a complete oaf who stood out only for rude, phoney derision and buffoonery. Ryan did just fine and helped the ticket’s chances at that debate.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 3:44 PM

I swore I would never vote for Mitt, but I not only voted for him but made a contribution because four more years of Obama would be a disaster for the nation.

bw222 on October 9, 2013 at 4:02 PM

bw222 on October 9, 2013 at 4:02 PM

So you did the right thing despite your better judgment. It’s a shame that it didn’t pan out :-)

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 3:55 PM

I know. Because, after all, we’re winning.

Is it halftime yet? How many TD’s are we up by?

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 4:23 PM

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 4:23 PM

We do you mean “we”? You fool no one here.

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM

“What”

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 4:32 PM

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM

By “we” I mean the Red Team, of course. And yes, when pricked I bleed red.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 4:34 PM

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 4:34 PM

The Hell you say.

Funny, when you first arrived, you were Blue…in more ways than one.

A “Road to Damascus” experience, perhaps?

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Adjoran on October 9, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Hey everyone, welcome Paul Ryan’s chief of staff.

loveofcountry on October 9, 2013 at 4:46 PM

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 4:41 PM

I love to talk about me and would be happy to do it all night, of course. As you know, you made that part up about me being Blue when I showed up. I am and have always had an independent mind that agrees most often with team red.

But you haven’t answered my question. You said that we’re winning but haven’t given us any details. We’re dying to learn how to keep score of this game.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM

37%.

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

That’s rather cryptic. Care to explain?

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Obama’s AP approval poll. If America was “on his side”, it certainly would be higher, wouldn’t it?

Oh, and as Ms. Munford and other “long-timers” will attest, I was not lying at all.

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 5:08 PM

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Of course you lied, and you know it. So why bother?

Congressional Job Approval
RCP Average
Approve10.5
Disapprove82.0
Spread -71.5

The score says we’re down 37 to 10.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 5:19 PM

And using RCP’s numbers, which I tend to trust more than most single sources:

President Obama Job Approval
RCP Average
Approve44.3
Disapprove50.4
Spread -6.1

So we’re down 44 to 10. But heck, if the point spread is over 34 then maybe we are winning. Rah, Rah, Sis, Boom, Bah!

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Sheldon Adelson’s puppet, Paul Ryan, hasn’t got a leadership bone in his body. However, he is very well equipped to position himself to maximize fundraising.

kingsmill on October 9, 2013 at 5:34 PM

We have an opportunity here to pay down the national debt and jump-start the economy, if we start talking, and talking specifics, now. To break the deadlock, both sides should agree to common-sense reforms of the country’s entitlement programs and tax code. Paul Ryan, WSJ.

Fleuries on October 9, 2013 at 5:36 PM

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM

37%.

kingsjester on October 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

The thing is polls findings change on a moment’s notice, the electorate in this country is retarded at worst and ADD-ed at best, or to put it differently, ignorant, uninformed and inconsistent. His approval rating was down too during the time he was threatening to attack Syria, and up again, right after Putin bailed him. Now, tell me a reason why the public would give him good ratings after the Syria clusterfark, when it was obvious to every ignorant troll that he didn’t have any clue at all how to handle the whole situation and he simply lucked out, saved by the bell in the shape of Putin, ironically enough …the sad truth is they like this cretin, no matter how horribly he underperforms and screws up (beats me why), and nothing would change that for more than a news cycle or so. As for the rest, I don’t think anybody’s winning in particular, both sides will get out of this with the same approval/disapproval levels like before the shutdown, especially among their own base, as for the indies or whatever they call themselves these days, nobody understands that category of voters anyways, or how they vote, what moves them, probably not even themselves. But I wouldn’t be too worried about those, their vote usually reflect how they slept the night before the elections or something along those lines, so a gamble pretty much…not worth adjusting one’s political platform to accommodate their types…

jimver on October 9, 2013 at 5:38 PM

After the interest on the debt is paid, security is paid, and the entitlements are paid, the bi partisan working group should each get to spend 50% of the money on programs they want, with the remaining revenues for October. There should be no debt ceiling raise. Each side will prioritize, maybe not the most important things first, but they will look like heroes when they choose important parts of government. And if they use their money to pay down the deficit, they will be heroes too. Then add no more deficit spending unless revenues are different in other months during the year, I have no idea if October is typical, but it would be one pattern of spending and revenues to use.

Fleuries on October 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM

A few people noticed that Ryan avoided mentioning ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act. Ryan’s office explained that ObamaCare would be included in entitlement reform. The broader categorization allows for a little face-saving on the part of Democrats, presumably, but Ryan’s broader entitlement reforms have always addressed the ACA as part of what needs to be changed in entitlements anyway.

Ed Morrisey

.
( heavy sigh . . . . . . . . )

listens2glenn on October 9, 2013 at 6:07 PM

The score says we’re down 37 to 10.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Comparing the approval of an individual to the approval of an institution – half of which is controlled by the opposing party – is asinine.

besser tot als rot on October 9, 2013 at 6:11 PM

According to Gallup Republicans are at a record low…they have dropped about 10 points since Cruz became the virtual face of the party. I hope Ryan or some other intelligent person can find a way out of this before guys like Cruz and Lee totally wreck the party.

Terrye on October 9, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Look for the propagandists in the media to turn Ryan’s op-ed, and the comming interviews, into a draconian cut of social security.

Then, this same propaganda media will assign cutting social security as the real goal of Ted Cruz and the Tea Party.

And there we will be, watching the entire Democrat shutdown of the government twisted into the claim that ‘only the Democrats want to save social security from the republicans’.

This op-ed has the same stench that the ‘gang of six’ deficit plan, led by Tom Corburn, which was announced within MINUTES of passing ‘Cut, cap, and balance’ in order to torpedo that bill. Obama immediatly raced to the cameras to claim the non-existant plan was something he could definatly get behind. Of course, NO PLAN actually existed, just an inside the beltway republican cutting off the debate of deficit spending at the knees.

Freddy on October 9, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Ryan can go straight to Hades. I can’t believe I voted for this clown.

Mr. Arrogant on October 9, 2013 at 6:33 PM

The phones….. Have been running 8 to 1 in favor of the Ted Cruz /Mike Lee efforts.

Despite all the DC Divas wailing on and on.

Finally OPPOSITION to the Presidents policies has surfaced…….hallelujah for that alone.

PappyD61 on October 9, 2013 at 6:45 PM

You were a huge disappointment as a VP candidate and I don’t see you getting any better.You deserve to be ignored.Yawn!

redware on October 9, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Ryan is a whore and a dumbass
He couldn’t even clean Biden’s clock

TexasJew on October 9, 2013 at 7:05 PM

besser tot als rot on October 9, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Not when you factor in the polls that show the vast majority of Americans also hold the GOP responsible for the mess we’re in. The inescapable fact is that the GOP is losing even more of the support of the people than the minority they had before this stunt began.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 7:26 PM

I swore I would never vote for Mitt, but I not only voted for him but made a contribution because four more years of Obama would be a disaster for the nation.

bw222 on October 9, 2013 at 4:02 PM

…I still have his damn sign up!
…to remind people!

KOOLAID2 on October 9, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Paul Ryan has proven to be untrustworthy. Who is he shilling for now?

Amjean on October 9, 2013 at 9:31 PM

I’ve always wondered why Dems don’t embrace having the wealthy pay more for Medicare. Would seem to fit right in with their usual hatin’ on the rich narrative.

changer1701 on October 9, 2013 at 12:12 PM

They already do; make over $75,000 or $85,000 (can’t recall exactly) your payments double. And if you are still working, you
still pay the 2.9% on your income.

An acquaintance of mine took money out of her IRA to help her son put a down payment on a house. It put her over the limit. She received a letter from medicare doubling her payments for two years; then they would review.

Amjean on October 9, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Paul Ryan has nothing good to offer America.

Pork-Chop on October 9, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Ryan did just fine and helped the ticket’s chances at that debate.

MJBrutus on October 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM

He couldn’t lick his upper lip and we all know it. Sell it somewhere else.

rrpjr on October 9, 2013 at 9:50 PM

He isn’t the best vote getter, but Ryan is a brilliant and practical man. I hope that he can get this done, stat.

MJBrutus

Yeah, because nothing says brilliant and practical like working with a despicable, terrorist supporting marxist to help give democrats a permanent majority for the next 100 years.If Ryan is brilliant and practical, we’re really screwed.

By “we” I mean the Red Team, of course. And yes, when pricked I bleed red.

MJBrutus

So does every other liberal democrat.

xblade on October 9, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Isn’t Ryan one of those Amnesty SKUNKS lurking in dark smelly places?
Why not just ask Schumer directly?

DaMav on October 10, 2013 at 7:29 AM

Ryan has joined Rubio in the “used to be relevant club”. They’re so worried about offending Latinos but have no problem offending their voting base and the majority of the people in the country.

cajunpatriot on October 10, 2013 at 8:57 AM

DeMint / Cruz 2016!! Some of you may not like it, but you’ll vote yes, right? Lolz!

Bmore on October 10, 2013 at 9:04 AM

xblade on October 9, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Excellent point.

kingsjester on October 10, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Run a real test on Paul Ryan.

I think we down here in Texas just might do that.

“Paul, will you support Katrian Pierson in her election as a conservative Republican who will fight amnesty if elected. She being a high profile Tea Party leader and after all it was the Tea Party and people like Katrina who made it possible for Republicans to be in leadership in the House”?

Test them, to many fail almost all the test.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 10, 2013 at 10:20 AM

http://www.katrinaforcongress.com/

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 10, 2013 at 10:21 AM

foxfire

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM

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