President Barack Obama has invited Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan to share a lunch at the White House today, where the two will discuss how to move forward on the budget. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee and is expected to unveil his new budget blueprint sometime next week.
Ryan ran as former Governor Mitt Romney‘s vice president in the 2012 campaign, and he was chosen largely because of the conservative appeal of his budget proposal. Ryan’s plan included substantial budget cuts and a voucher-like Medicare reform for recipients currently 55 or younger. Ryan’s new blueprint is expected to put forward similar proposals, with none of the tax reforms Obama desires for producing revenue.
The idea for today’s lunch spawned from a phone conversation the President shared with Ryan a few days. Politico reports that, “By speaking directly with Ryan, Obama is hoping to enlist a powerful ally in convincing leadership to abandon its insistence on subjecting all future measures on the debt, deficit, taxes and entitlement reform to “regular order,” the tortuous committee process dominated by party conservatives, according to a person close to the process.”
The President and Ryan are unlikely to agree on what a future budget should look like, but the two share a similar desire to see budget legislation pushed on the floor. A face-to-face conversation may help smooth over sharp criticisms offered during the Presidential campaign.
Today’s lunch follows President Obama’s dinner with a dozen Republican leaders last night. The lawmakers claimed that no new ground was broken, but they were more optimistic about the possibility of forming a grand bargain somewhere down the line.
The President also invited Maryland Representative Chris Van Hollen to the dinner, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee. The committee currently consists of 39 members, with 22 Republicans and 17 Democrats. The President hopes to look past the Republican leadership, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in hopes of building a coalition willing to cut the deficit and raise tax revenue.
Now that “Paul Ryan” is no longer part of a national campaign slogan, there may be a better chance that the President and the Representative will listen to what the other has to say.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]