and so it begins
During a press conference ahead of President Trump's joint address to Congress on Tuesday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) insisted that he thinks Medicare cuts remain an "open question" for Trump. "From all my conversations with the president, he says, 'I don't want to change Medicare benefits for people in or near retirement,' and we agree with that," said Ryan, who like many congressional Republicans is an ardent proponent of reforming entitlement programs to slash federal spending.
Ryan's interpretation of Trump's point of view seems at odds with the clear message Trump repeated on the campaign trail. Last year Trump tweeted, "I was the first and only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid."
But Ryan insists Trump understands entitlement reform will be necessary, especially in light of Trump's budget proposal released Monday that suggests big cuts to domestic spending to offset a $54 billion increase in military spending. It's not yet clear whether those cuts will end up targeting agency budgets or entitlement programs. "I've been a big-time entitlement reformer for a long time because if you don't start bending the curve in the out years, we are hosed," Ryan said.
Trump is expected to elaborate on his budgetary plans Tuesday night.