Will Conservative Budget Hawks Cave To Trump?

By McKay Coppins

When President Trump stands to deliver his first address to Congress Tuesday night, he will lay out a fiscal agenda that upends key planks of conservative orthodoxy and openly defies the die-hard budget hawks in his own party.

But don’t expect to hear a peep of opposition from Republicans.

The proposed budget Trump is expected to outline in his speech would considerably increase defense spending, slash funding for other domestic programs, and—most significantly—leave entitlement programs entirely untouched. The president’s aversion to cutting Social Security and Medicare is nothing new, of  course—he was campaigning against the idea long before he ever formally launched a campaign—but it does represent one of the most yawning ideological divides within the Republican Party today.

For years, conservative budget hawks, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, have argued fiercely that reducing the federal budget deficit without raising taxes would require a substantial restructuring of the government’s two most costly entitlement programs. Refusing to address the problem head on, they have often said, represented a reckless abdication of responsibility on the part of elected officials.

Given the clear battle lines and high stakes, Trump’s speech tonight has all the makings of a potential flashpoint in the GOP civil war—but so far, at least, there are few signs of conservative resistance.

Instead, party leaders on Capitol Hill gathered Tuesday morning for a rah-rah press conference, where they signaled nothing but unabashed support for Trump’s agenda. Ryan kicked things off with some brief, upbeat remarks celebrating this “once-in-a-generation moment” in which Republicans were finally positioned to “tackle big problems” head on—ticking off several targets, including taxes, border security, federal regulations, and health care.

When a reporter asked Ryan if he was “giving up the dream” of so-called entitlement reform, he responded, “I never give up a dream. I’m a Green Bay Packer fan!” Pressed …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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