Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has the answer to the fiscal impasse -- and it's simply "for the president to come to the table," he wrote in a Tuesday Wall Street Journal opinion piece.
Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, accused President Barack Obama of giving Congress "the silent treatment." He said Obama and leaders of both parties have negotiated on budget issues before, and it would be in everyone's best interest to do it again.
"Just as a good investment gets higher returns through compound interest, structural reforms produce greater savings over time," Ryan wrote. "Most important, they make the programs more secure. They protect them for current seniors and preserve them for the next generation. That's what the president and Congress should talk about."
Ryan pitched several ways to increase revenue and reduce spending, including an increase to Medicare premiums for the wealthy, reforms for Medigap plans, enactment of "pro-growth" programs to create jobs and higher retirement contributions by federal employees.
Ryan wrote that his ideas were reasonable to solve the impasse:
This isn't a grand bargain. For that, we need a complete rethinking of government's approach to helping the most vulnerable, and a complete rethinking of government's approach to health care. But right now, we need to find common ground. 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.
While Ryan touted his recommendations as "bipartisan" and aligned with Obama's ideas, he failed to address the elephant in the room: the Republican fight against Obamacare. Republicans have demanded Obamacare defunding, but the president has said he will only discuss health care after government funding is resolved.
"What I've said is that I will talk about anything," Obama said in a Tuesday press conference, after saying, "We can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy."