|President Obama Highlights Ryan’s Roadmap
Obama recognizes Ryan’s efforts, calls reform plan a “legitimate” solution
Wisconsin’s 1st District Congressman Paul Ryan continues his push for alternative solutions, garnering praise from President Obama for putting forth his Roadmap for America’s Future. The President commended Ryan for his Roadmap proposal, calling it “detailed” and a “legitimate” plan to tackle our fiscal crisis. President Obama spoke at the GOP Retreat in Baltimore earlier today, and discussed entitlement reform and additional budget challenges with Ryan. Following the productive exchange, Ryan issued the following statement:
“President Obama proved to be an honest broker this afternoon in acknowledging our unsustainable fiscal path. The President highlighted a serious proposal to tackle our entitlement crisis. Reflecting the deteriorating economic and fiscal condition since first released in 2008, I put forward ‘A Roadmap for America’s Future 2.0’ earlier this week to fulfill the mission of health and retirement security, lift the crushing burden of debt, and boost jobs and competitiveness in the 21st century global economy.
“I applaud the President for rejecting his Democratic colleagues’ false ‘Party of No’ attacks. Tackling our economic and fiscal challenges require real solutions and serious dialogue. I look forward to working with the President on rising above the partisan attacks – and tackling our generation’s greatest challenges.”
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EXCHANGE:
President Obama: I think Paul [Ryan], for example, the head of the Budget Committee, has looked at the budget and has made a serious proposal. I’ve read it. I can tell you what’s in it. And there’s some ideas in there that I would agree with but there’s some ideas we should have a healthy debate about because I don’t agree with them.” The major driver of our long-term liabilities, everybody here knows, is Medicare and Medicaid and our health care spending. Nothing comes close. That’s going to be what our children have to worry about. Now, Paul’s approach, and I want to be careful not to simplify this, I know you’ve got a lot of detail in your plan, but, if I understand it correctly, would say, we’re going to provide vouchers of some sort for current Medicare recipients at the current level – No?
Congressman Ryan: No – we protect the program for Americans 55 and above [those in and near retirement]…
Obama: I understand – there’s a grandfathering in….That’s why I said I wanted to make sure that I’m not being unfair to your proposal. I just want to point out that I’ve read it, and the basic idea would be that, at some point, we hold Medicare cost per recipient constant as a way of making sure that that doesn’t go way out of whack, and I’m sure there some details…
Ryan: We increase the Medicare payments with a blend of inflation and health inflation. The point of our plan is, because Medicare as you know is a $38 trillion unfunded liability.
Ryan: It has to be reformed for younger generations because it won’t exist. It’s going bankrupt. The premise of our idea is look, why not give people the same kind of health care plan we here have in Congress? That’s the kind of reform we’re proposing for Medicare. [applause]
Obama: As I said before, this is an entirely legitimate proposal. …There is a political vulnerability to doing anything that tinkers with Medicare. And that’s probably the biggest savings that are obtained through Paul’s plan. And I raise that, not because we shouldn’t have a serious discussion about it, I raise that because we’re not going to be able to do anything about any of these entitlements if what we do is characterize whatever proposals are put out there as well, you know, that’s the other party being irresponsible….