Paul Ryan’s Debt Limit Proposals Divide GOP Lawmakers

AP

Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposals to avert a looming debt crisis highlighted a rift among some of the House’s most conservative Republicans when he pitched them the package on Wednesday.

Ryan laid out a plan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that included reforming Medicare and simplifying the tax code. None of his proposals dealt with Obamacare, however, which put off some hardline conservatives who demand defunding or delaying the health care law as part of any deal with Democrats.

After meeting with Ryan and the conservative Republican Study Committee, the group’s leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) stood firm and said he wouldn’t accept a package of proposals that fails to address Obamacare as part of “mandatory spending,” according to the New York Times.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), a staunch opponent of the health care law, showed more flexibility after meeting with Ryan. 

“My primary focus is on minimizing risk of insolvency and bankruptcy. There are many paths you can take to get there,” he said, as quoted by the Times. “Socialized medicine is just one of the component parts of our debt and deficits that put us at financial risk. Are there paths that can be created that do not include socialized medicine? Yes.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) planned to send a small group of Republican lawmakers to negotiate with President Barack Obama on Thursday, after the president had invited the entire House Republican conference.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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