Rep. Paul Ryan downplays Medicare cuts

May 1, 2011 at 12:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 1 (UPI) -- The Republican chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee Sunday accused Democrats of stirring up senior citizens over potential spending cuts.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said there was a growing level of "misinformation" about the effect deficit reduction will have on Medicare and Medicaid, which eat up huge amount of money and are relied upon by millions of seniors.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour," Ryan said reforms were necessary to keep the programs afloat, and it was better to act sooner rather than later.

"Put these reforms in now, they don't take effect for 10 years to give people time to prepare," Ryan said. "If we keep kicking the can down the road and if we keep going trillions of dollars deeper in the hole, then the reforms are going to be sudden and immediate and … are going to catch people by surprise."

Ryan said Democratic leaders and party organizers -- and even some Republicans -- were instead portraying the cuts as imminent and harsh, which he said was not the case and was contributing to the paralysis in the overall budget debate.

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