Paul Ryan throws out an olive branch
He wrote an op-ed in the WSJ:
[T]he president has negotiated before, and he can do so now. In 2011, Oregon's Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and I offered ideas to reform Medicare. We had different perspectives, but we also had mutual trust. Neither of us had to betray his principles; all we had to do was put prudence ahead of pride.
He also says they can agree to do tax reform which he defines as "lower the rates, broaden the base and close loopholes." So that's good.
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.
Important to note that he explicitly says this is not a Grand Bargain, something the president has defined in the past as exactly what he describes in this op-ed ("health care reform, entitlement reform and tax reform".) Important because if he were to define it as something the president has repeatedly said he wanted there is almost no chance that the Tea Party Republicans would agree to it.
Who knows what this means? But it's interesting, especially when you compare it to what the president said today:
I've put forward proposals in my budget to reform entitlement programs for the long haul and reform our tax code in a way that would close loopholes for the wealthiest and lower rates for corporations and help us invest in new jobs and reduce our deficits. And some of these were originally Republican proposals, because I don't believe any party has a monopoly on good ideas. So I've shown myself willing to go more than halfway in these conversations, and if reasonable Republicans want to talk about these things again, I'm ready to head up to the Hill and try. I'll even spring for dinner again.
Sounds like it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship....