"There are other things in the budget," Dayspring said. But that doesn't mean the GOP is in any way disowning their policy objective with respect to Medicare, or won't attempt to achieve it if they see an opening.
So if the House GOP's official position remains the Medicare-abolishing plan put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), but their negotiating position recognizes that plan is a non-starter this year, where does that leave Republicans? An optimistic reading is they've signaled to their base where their priorities lie far enough in advance of 2012 that seniors will have forgotten. A pessimistic view is that virtually the entire House GOP voted last month to phase out the popular Medicare program and are already having to distance themselves from that vote. The wildcard here is how well Democrats exploit this politically uncomfortable position Republicans have put themselves in. Given Democrats poor track record of making political losers stick to the GOP, it may not be much of wildcard.