I caught up with Rep. Paul Ryan after his Budget Committee hearing as he was racing to grab lunch, and asked him about the challenges confronting Republicans as they attempt to write a budget of their own.
“You’ll see our budget when we come out with it,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to get into specifics about a budget I haven’t written yet.”
During the hearing with White House budget director Jacob Lew, Ryan emphasized the need to address the real drivers of the growth in debt — entitlements. Yet as I noted yesterday, the difficulty Republicans face is that most of the entitlement reforms that are typically discussed would be phased in over time, to protect those at or near retirement who have built their lives around the current system. I asked Ryan whether given this, it would be difficult to wring out significant savings in the budget over the standard 10-year budget window.
“There are a lot of areas where we’re going to have to find savings within the 10-year window, and we’re going to be looking for those,” he said.
When I pressed him further as to whether this would include entitlements, he said, “Look, again, it’s just not in my interest to get into the specifics of a budget I haven’t written yet.”
The budget is due out in April.
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