Ryan: 'I don't see us tackling' entitlement reform this year

Ryan: 'I don't see us tackling' entitlement reform this year
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House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThree scenarios for how leadership races could play out in the House New Dem ad uses Paterno, KKK, affair allegations to tar GOP leaders House Dem: Party's aging leaders is 'a problem' MORE (R-Wis.) acknowledged Friday that entitlement reform isn't likely to happen in 2018. 

"I don't see us tackling it this year," Ryan said at an event in Wisconsin. 

"You're going to have to find bipartisan consensus to fix these thorny, long-term problems, and we don't have that right now." 

Ryan appears to be backing down for previous statements he's made about turning to entitlement reform in 2018. 

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"We're going to have to back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and deficit," Ryan said in an interview in December.

Ryan said Friday entitlement reform is still necessary, but not politically feasible. 

"The sooner we put reforms into these programs so they work better, so they're solvent and don't go bankrupt, the better off we're going to be," Ryan said. 

"I think we should have a bipartisan conversation about how to do that, but that's clearly where the political system is today." 

The Republicans' slim majority in the Senate shrunk even more, to 51-49, once Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) was sworn in this month. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ky.) has also acknowledged that entitlement reform would be virtually impossible given the upper chamber's current makeup. 

"I think Democrats are not going to be interested in entitlement reform, so I would not expect to see that on the agenda," McConnell said last month. 

Updated at 1:32 p.m.