In the wake of the Republican victory on tax reform, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said that his priorities for 2018 will be welfare reform, healthcare, and entitlement reform.
The comments would appear to put him at odds with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has said that he didn't want to deal with entitlements, welfare, or Obamacare repeal next year — and with President Trump, who has signaled he wants to take on infrastructure next.
“I don’t think the health care issue is done,” Ryan said in an interview with the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes. He suggested revisiting the Obamacare issue as early as January. “At the end of the day, we’ve got to go after the root cause—health care inflation and entitlements. Welfare reform is going to be our next lift.”
Though conceding that Trump is opposed to tackling Medicare and Social Security, he said he would continue to push on the issue. “We’re never going to give up on entitlement reform and the things we need to do to get the debt under control,” Ryan said. “With one more reconciliation, I think we have a pretty good shot at getting some of these things done.”
Reconciliation refers to the process that allows the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority rather than the 60-vote threshold that would require Democratic support. Republicans unsuccessfully tried to use the process to pass a healthcare bill, but successfully employed it to get tax reform done.
Ryan was dismissive of the idea of a large infrastructure spending bill, saying, "We like ideas that leverage private-sector dollars."
On Friday morning, Trump tweeted that he wanted to work with Democrats on an infrastructure bill, a sentiment McConnell has also expressed.
Note: The Washington Examiner and The Weekly Standard share the same ownership.