ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:
The Republican-controlled House approved House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal before Congress left for a two-week break earlier this month – putting GOP members on record for a plan that would phase out Medicare for those 55 years of age or under.
But while the Ryan plan now is the House Republican plan, House Speaker John Boehner cautioned in an interview that Ryan’s proposal is just “an idea … worthy of consideration.”
Ryan’s proposal simple “transforms Medicare into a plan that's very similar to the president's own health care bill,” Boehner told ABC’s Jonathan Karl yesterday. “It covers all the same things that'll be covered today. And it transforms the program so it's there. It wouldn't affect anyone that's 55 or older.”
“Paul Ryan has an idea that's certainly worthy of consideration in terms of how do we — how do we do this in a more efficient way?” said Boehner, R-Ohio.
“I’m for it,” Boehner continued. “It's our idea. Right? It's Paul's idea. Other people have other ideas. I'm not wedded to one single idea, but I think it’s — we have a plan.”
Boehner is putting just a touch of distance between himself and the Ryan plan as Democrats blast Republicans for their votes for the measure. They’re characterizing support for the Ryan plan as “voting to end Medicare.”
Boehner also criticized President Obama for issuing a budget plan of his own that ignored the recommendations of his own deficit commission.
“While I didn't agree with everything they did, there was a lot their proposal that was worthy of consideration,” he said. “And what did the president do? He took exactly none of his own deficit reduction commission's ideas. Not one. Come on! It's time to grow up and get serious about the problems that face our country.”
UPDATE: After today’s program aired, a spokesman for the speaker, Michael Steel, contacted ABC News with a statement:
“Boehner strongly supports the House Republican Budget put together by Chairman Ryan. If others have options that would preserve Medicare and Medicaid and put us on a path to pay down the debt, he’d love to see them. Thus far, the president has not offered such a plan,” Steel said.
Watch the “Top Line” segment with House Speaker John Boehner’s interview HERE.
We also chatted with Major Garrett of National Journal about the politics of the Ryan plan. Watch that portion of “Top Line” HERE.