With the planned retirement of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), mid-term elections, and President Trump’s campaign pledge not to cut Social Security and Medicare, House and Senate GOP members have indicated that the possibility of entitlement reform this year or in the next Congress is very slim. House members discussed their skepticism at a recent House Budget hearing in which Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Keith Hall presented the 2018 budget outlook. Even though the CBO Director warned Congress that trillion-dollar deficits would soon be the normal, efforts to slash entitlement spending by $200 billion in last year’s House budget blueprint were rejected by the Senate. The reality that any GOP entitlement reform package is dead on arrival in the Senate has left many House GOP members frustrated. However, with projections that the federal debt is expected to reach nearly 100 percent of GDP within a decade, entitlement reform will remain a top priority.
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