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Mitch McConnell does not expect to take up entitlement reform next year

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he does not expect Senate Republicans to take up welfare and entitlement reform next year.
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan has signaled that his chamber would like to do so in 2018.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he "would not expect to see" Senate Republicans take up partisan welfare and entitlement reform next year.

The Senate GOP would "have to have Democratic involvement" in changing those programs, the Kentucky Republican told Axios on Thursday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has signaled that House Republicans want to turn to what he calls "entitlement reform" next year after the GOP's successful passage of a tax overhaul this week. Some Republicans have identified cutting spending as a way to address concerns about the roughly $1.4 trillion in tax cuts under the GOP plan.

"We're going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit," Ryan said on a radio show earlier this month.

"Frankly, it's the health-care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health-care entitlements — because that's really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking," he added.

Democrats would not support cuts to programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Senate Republicans, set to have 51 seats in the chamber next year, would need to win nine Democratic votes to pass legislation under normal rules of operation. The GOP could choose to make changes to the programs using budget reconciliation rules that require only a simple majority vote.