According to Lori Montgomery, writing in the Washington Post, Republicans began backtracking Wednesday on the draconian changes to Medicare contained in Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan's Pathway to Prosperity budget proposal:
”On the eve of debt-reduction talks led by Vice President Biden,” wrote Montgomery, “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said Republicans remain convinced that reining in federal retirement programs is the key to stabilizing the nation’s finances over the long term.
“But he said Republicans recognize they may need to look elsewhere to achieve consensus after President Obama 'excoriated us' for a proposal to privatize Medicare.”
Ryan appeared to echo Cantor's conclusion:
“'We’re not going to get a grand-slam agreement [Ryan said]...because of just the political parameters' set by Obama. But Ryan said his budget offers a “menu of options...that I think we could get that are not necessarily the global agreement on, say, Medicare or Social Security.'”
That was on Wednesday. By Thursday, there appeared to be some disagreement among the Republicans. Although Paul Ryan stood by his statement from the day before, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that “entitlements” are still at issue:
“'Let me make this clear: When it comes to increasing the debt limit and the need to have reductions in spending, nothing is off the table except for raising taxes,' Boehner said.”
Cracks in the Republican facade are good news for those of us who oppose turning Medicare into a voucher program. It is times just like this when it is crucial to write your Congress people. Here is one place you can do that. Enter your Zip Code in the right sidebar and email links to your representatives will appear.
For those who think it's no use to write because your representatives are tea party members, if they get enough mail and phone calls rejecting their stands, they will change their votes. All House members are up for re-election next year along with one-third of the Senate.
Wouldn't it be a terrible shame if tea party representatives refused to budge because they didn't hear from enough constituents who disagree with them.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mary B Summerlin: The Stone Connection