McConnell threw cold water today on the idea of meaningful entitlement reform in 2018, citing the need for bipartisan support to make it happen:
WASHINGTON TIMES – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a grim view Friday of the chances of major entitlement reforms under a GOP-led Washington, saying he’s reluctant to tackle Social Security, Medicare and other big-spending programs without Democrats’ buy-in.
On entitlements, Mr. McConnell said he, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and President Trump will sit down and plot out a 2018 agenda early in the new year, but he seemed less bullish than Mr. Ryan on the chances.
“I’ve been here awhile and the only time we’ve been able to do that has been on a bipartisan basis, and it was a long time ago. It was Ronald Reagan and [former Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill] raising the age of Social Security, and that was before I got here,” Mr. McConnell said.
“The sensitivity of entitlements is such that you almost have to have a bipartisan agreement to achieve the result,” the senator said.
Mr. Ryan last week had said he would look to use the 2019 budget process, which begins next year, to look at reforming the welfare and social safety net system to remove bad incentives and push people toward gainful work.
In the House I think it’s possible to get something meaningful done, however the Senate would be a big problem considering the small majority of Republicans. But it’s not just the small majority that’s the problem. It’s the RINOs that create the problem.
If all Republicans in the Senate were unified on meaningful entitlement reform, then we could likely accomplish it through budget reconciliation. But just as we saw with the Obamacare repeal earlier this year, too many Republicans were against any meaningful changes. How will this be any different on other entitlements?
Add to that all of the pressure that Democrats will create in the media and I think McConnell is right – it’s not gonna happen.
The only thing that might even come close to moving the needle is the potential for heavy losses by Republicans in 2018. If that looks like what is coming, then some RINOs might actually come over and do the right thing. However I just don’t think there will be enough of them to make this plausible, especially when some RINOs are trying to keep their seats in Democratic states.