House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) obliquely conceded that the House GOP plan to overhaul Medicare is off the table, but he said blamed President Obama and Democrats, and accused them of having no plan of their own to offer in its place.
Speaking with reporters as Republicans across the Capitol were backing away from the plan to blow up Medicare and replace it with a voucher system, Cantor denied saying he was taking the plan off the table.
Cantor blamed President Obama for killing any chances of reaping spending cuts from Medicare, which is often blamed as the biggest domestic source of skyrocketing deficits.
“The reality is this president has excoriated our Medicare proposal…this president has done nothing but attack the plan,” Cantor said. “That is unfortunate.”
Earlier in the day, Speaker Boehner lowered expectations on the Medicare plan, acknowledging the “political realities” of a Democratic White House and Senate.
Cantor, one of the small team negotiating a compromise budget deal with Vice President Joe Biden this week, said, “we’re looking to find areas of compromise.”
“There was general agreement that things have got to change,” Cantor said after the meeting “There’s got to be spending cuts.”
He also appeared to say that because Republicans were already giving in on Medicare, they would draw the line at tax increases.
“The House is going to be in a firm position against anything about raising taxes,” he said.
Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring alo said Republicans would consider a package including oil subsidies but only if the it was “revenue neutral” — included in a comprehensive tax package that would offset any increased taxes on oil companies by other tax cuts.
Cantor’s comments came after his office disputed a Washington Post story suggesting that Republican leaders had abandoned their Medicare privatization plan as a starting point for budget talks. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, said today that he will not use the Ryan plan, dealing it a major blow within the GOP caucus. On the Senate side, two Republicans indicated discomfort earlier on Thursday with the Medicare overhaul as well, telling TPM they were looking at alternatives.