In a recent radio interview, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) laid out his plans for 2018. Part of those plans includes big changes for welfare.
On the Ross Kaminsky talk show, Ryan stated: “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit. Frankly, it’s the health-care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health-care entitlements — because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”
Of course, he doesn’t want to stop at just healthcare. Ryan believes that we are paying able-bodied people to not work.
“We’re going to get back at reforming these entitlements. And we’re going to take on welfare reform, which is another big entitlement program, where we’re basically paying people, able-bodied people, not to work and depriving them with all these disincentives from going to the workforce. This good economy we’re going to get out of this, this faster-growing economy, is going to produce higher wages and more demand for good-paying jobs. And that’s what’s good — so … it’s the perfect time to do welfare reform to ease the path for people who wanted to work.”
But the country as a whole does not see eye-to-eye with Ryan on this. In fact, only 12% of American adults think the government should reduce spending on Medicaid. Forty percent think we should increase that spending.
Even among Republican voters, only 37% support cutting programs to those in need.
While Ryan is pushing against the wishes of 88% of Americans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to know better. McConnell has indicated that he is not expecting to pass welfare and entitlement reductions in 2018.
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“I think Democrats are not going to be interested in entitlement reform, so I would not expect to see that on the agenda. What the Democrats are willing to do is important because in the Senate, with rare exceptions like the tax bill, we have to have Democratic involvement,” said McConnell to reporters.
McConnell is likely paying attention to the advantage Democrats already have going into the 2018 elections. A recent CNN poll indicated that 56% of voters plan to vote for a Democrat. This support for Democrats is up significantly from the same time period in past years. McConnell would be smart to listen to the people and mitigate his losses in 2018.
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