President-elect Donald Trump's plans to start his administration off on a fast track on tax reform could run aground if he doesn't come to an agreement with House Speaker Paul Ryan on overhauling Medicare and other entitlements, Politico reports.
But Ryan knows that if he gives in to Trump, as he has done on other issues since the election, and does not include his proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher program in the upcoming budget, then Ryan's career-defining cause may never pass.
"There is no way to balance the budget without entitlement reform," Tom Cole, member of the House Budget Committee, told Politico. "It's just simply mathematically impossible, and I think the most important thing for us is not to lose sight of that under pressure. We should write a budget that includes genuine entitlement reform."
Many Republican congressmen, led by the Freedom Caucus, insist that the main reason for the nearly $19 trillion debt is mandatory spending programs, not the annual discretionary spending the Congress directly controls and they will not allow a budget that perpetuates this system.
The Washington Post reports that both allies of Trump and Ryan think their mutual desire to brand the GOP as the party of tax cuts and growth will eventually lead to a deal, despite the ideological differences.
Advisers of the two sides have reportedly already started meeting in attempts to work out an agreement on tax reform.
But squaring the circle on how to get there appears certain to be complicated, as Trump's incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus told CBS' "Face The Nation" that the president-elect intends to keep his campaign promise not to touch entitlement spending such as Medicare and Social Security.
"What he wants to do is grow the economy, help shore up Medicare and Social Security for future generations," Preibus said.
That appears to fly in the face of Ryan's sticking to his insistence on Medicare reform, emphasizing that his plan would save the program from going bankrupt in the next decade.
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