House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, said Wednesday that Republicans in Congress will aim next year to reduce spending on federal health care and anti-poverty programs, citing the need to reduce United States deficit.
"I will have to go back next year to reform the rights, which is the way to address the debt and the deficit," Ryan said during an appearance on Ross Kaminsky's radio show. "… Frankly, the rights to medical assistance are the main drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on health care rights, because that is where the problem lies, from a fiscal point of view."
Ryan said he believes he has begun convincing President Donald Trump in his private conversations about the need to control Medicare, the federal health program that primarily insures the elderly. As a candidate, Trump promised not to cut spending on Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. (Ryan also suggested that Congress Republicans are unlikely to try to change Social Security because Senate rules prohibit changes to the program through reconciliation, the procedure that the Senate can use to pass legislation with only 50 votes)
. " I think the president is aware that choice and competition work everywhere in health care, especially Medicare, "Ryan said. "… This has been my great thing for many, many years, and I think it is the greatest right we have to reform."
Ryan's statements add to the growing signs that top Republicans intend to cut government spending next year. Republicans are close to passing a bill that nonpartisan analysts say would increase the deficit by at least $ 1 trillion in a decade. Recently, Trump asked Congress to reduce social spending after the tax bill, and Senate Republicans have mentioned the need to reduce the national deficit while increasing the economy.
"He also has to control spending, which is not the driver of our debt, the driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries," Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, said last week. from Florida.
While voting for the proposed tax bill, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, attacked "liberal programs" for the poor and said that Congress needed to stop wasting Americans' money.
"We're getting bankrupt," Hatch said. , let's be honest about it: we are in traffic This country is in deep debt. It does not help the poor by not solving debt problems, and it does not help the poor by continuously pushing more and more liberal programs. "
Trump has not clarified what specific programs would be affected by the proposed" welfare reform " , although Republicans in Congress are pointing out that they intend to impose work requirements on food stamps and direct cash assistance for the poor.
"We have a welfare system that traps people in poverty and effectively pays people they do not work, "Ryan told Kaminsky on Wednesday:" We have to work on that. "
Liberals have argued that the Republican Party will use higher deficits – partly caused by its tax bill – as a pretext to achieve the long-standing conservative.The objective of the policy of cutting government spending on health care and social services, which the left believes would hit more hard for the poor.
"What's coming next is too predictable: the deficit hawks will fly back after this bill becomes law," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., The highest-ranking Democrat on the committee. finance, during a speech on the tax debate. "Republicans already say that 'rights reform' and 'welfare reform' are next on the agenda, but nobody should be cheated, that's just code for attacks. against Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, anti-hunger programs. " 19659002] In the Senate during the tax debate, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Asked Rubio and Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican for Pennsylvania, to promise that Republicans would not move forward on cuts to Medicare and the Social Security after your tax bill. Toomey said there was "no secret plan" to do so, while Rubio said he opposed the cuts to any of the programs for current beneficiaries. However, none closed the door to change the programs for future beneficiaries.
"I'm not going to support any cuts to people who are in the program and I need those benefits, but I want this program to survive," Toomey said. To which Sanders replied: "He has just told him that he is going to cut Social Security."
Many conservatives have long advocated cutting and changing social protection programs, arguing that anti-poverty programs have failed and that Social Security spending is growing at an unsustainable rate.
Even so, members of both parties have been reluctant to cut benefits, especially for older people, due in part to the potential political cost of doing so. And when discussing the changes, the Republicans, including Rubio, limited their ideas to plans that would affect the new beneficiaries, rather than the current ones.
. But it can be particularly difficult for Republicans to push through these measures before the mid-term elections of 2018, in which many in states and Districts face defiant, well-funded Democrats who hope to mount an anti-Trump wave in the office.
Ryan said he is optimistic and added that Republicans could point to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid next year in addition to Medicare, despite their failure to repeal the healthcare law in 2017.
" What we really need is to turn our health care system into a patient-centered system so that we have more options and more competition, choice and competition reduce prices and improve quality, health care administered by the government is The opposite of that, "Ryan said." Therefore, I believe that these reforms that we have been talking about, that we will continue to push, will help make Medicaid no less costly … but it will also help Medicare. "