Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said during a speech on Monday that he would have pursued entitlement reforms during his tenure were it not for the Senate’s filibuster rules for major legislation, Politico reported this week.
Taking an ax to the nation’s social safety net programs has long been a dream of Ryan’s, and he lamented that he was unable to accomplish more as the Republican leader of the House.
Ryan and other Republicans began talking about entitlement reform as soon as their tax cuts package won President Donald Trump’s signature in 2017 and opening calling for the process to begin by the following year.
At the time, the former speaker said during an appearance on Ross Kaminsky’s talk radio show: “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.”
But Ryan was unable to get the ball rolling before leaving office.
He also pointed to the Republican attempts at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as one of his failures, saying negotiations to replace the healthcare program were too drawn-out and ultimately led to the GOP’s failure.
Ryan did mention his successes as House speaker during the lecture in Vero Beach, Florida on Monday, which included the “tax bill, bipartisan criminal justice reform, opioid response legislation and deregulatory action,” Politico reported.
Ryan, whom Trump has criticized more than once since he left office in January, said he felt those accomplishments have been overlooked.