Paul Ryan's prescription to end the government shutdown


by Chris Patterson

(CNN) -- Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin broke his relative silence on the ongoing government shutdown in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece published online late Tuesday night.

Ryan -- the GOP's vice presidential nominee in 2012 and the chairman of the House Budget Committee -- argues in the editorial that in order to "end this stalemate," Democrats and Republicans should focus on "modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code."
"Right now, we need to find common ground," Ryan wrote. "We need to open the federal government. We need to pay our bills today - and make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow. So let's negotiate an agreement to make modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code."
Not once, however, does Ryan mention tying Obamacare -- President Barack Obama's signature health care law -- with funding the government. By doing so, Ryan appears to distance himself from many House Republicans who are demanding that the passage of a continuing resolution be contingent on the health care law being tweaked or delayed - the first step in an effort they hope to use to dismantle it.
Instead of mentioning Obamacare, the Republican congressman focuses on forced spending cuts on domestic and military programs - known as the sequester -- and reforms to Medicare.
The government has been shut down since last week, with House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House unable to agree on a funding bill. The president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, have said that the GOP's efforts to alter Obamacare are a non-starter.
Ryan's Obamacare omission appeared to anger conservatives, who took to Twitter in response.
"Much like White House press, Paul Ryan doesn't mention Obamacare in WSJ oped," tweeted Dan Holler, spokesman for the conservative group Heritage Action.
Conservative activist Erick Erickson retweeted the following tweet: "It seems like Paul Ryan has successfully pissed off the right."
Ryan's focus on spending and entitlement reforms was also a substantial part of his platform for vice president last year.
Since Mitt Romney, the GOP's presidential nominee, lost the 2012 election, Ryan has been rumored to be a presidential candidate in 2016. Ryan's opinion piece puts him at odds with other possible Republican hopefuls, such as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida.
"This is our moment to get a down payment on the debt and boost the economy," Ryan wrote. "If we miss this moment, the debt will spiral out of control. ... We can do some good. All it takes is leadership - and for the president to come to the table."