Republicans are openly feuding over whether to seek drastic changes to Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs, risking a potentially damaging intraparty battle ahead of the 2016 elections.
The rift was exemplified this week by the GOP stars of the moment. Newly installed House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said he plans to pursue a “bold alternative agenda” that would include major revisions in entitlements. At the same time, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump railed against proposals to end or significantly change Medicare.
The dispute is part of a larger GOP argument over which policies Republicans will present to voters next year and how far the party should go in pushing for changes. Three years ago, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Ryan, his running mate, faced withering Democratic attacks after endorsing dramatic overhauls of Medicare and Social Security that proved unpopular.