- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 14, 2017

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday that Congress will turn next year to spending cuts to try to lower the deficit, saying that’s the second step after cutting taxes.

Speaking at a town hall forum in Virginia hosted by Fox News, Mr. Ryan fended off questions about the GOP’s tax cuts deepening deficits by as much as $1.5 trillion over the next decade, saying the real work of deficit-cutting will come from a faster-growing economy and from reforming big entitlement programs.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do on cutting spending,” Mr. Ryan said.

A number of conservatives, particularly in the Senate, have expressed concern over the revenue lost due to the tax cuts, saying the government’s fiscal picture can’t handle that.

Mr. Ryan said he shares worries over the deficit, but said a spending cuts bill will have to come later, saying he didn’t want it to interfere with the tax debate.

He said entitlements need to be part of that — though President Trump has repeatedly said he won’t touch Medicare or Social Security, the two big programs that are projected to be the cause of exploding national debt in the coming decades.

Mr. Ryan said the House has passed spending cut bills in the past, but acknowledged they stall in the Senate, where Democrats have the ability to filibuster and even many Republicans are wary of trimming the budget.

The House is slated to vote Thursday on the tax cuts bill, and Mr. Ryan signaled he believes they have the votes to pass it.

“We feel great about where we are,” he said.

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