McConnell: Entitlement reform would have to be bipartisan

McConnell: Entitlement reform would have to be bipartisan
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellEverytown plans ad blitz on anniversary of House background check bill Kentucky state official says foreign adversaries 'routinely' scan election systems Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms MORE (R-Ky.) downplayed the likelihood of achieving entitlement reform in 2018.

"The sensitivity of entitlements is such that you almost have to have a bipartisan agreement in order to achieve a result," McConnell said at a press conference Friday. 

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"The only time we’ve been able to do that is on a bipartisan basis, and it was a long time ago," he said. 

McConnell's comments come as Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Paul Ryan says Biden likely won't get Democratic nomination Judd Gregg: Honey, I Shrunk The Party MORE (R-Wis.) has said he is eyeing entitlement reform for next year. 

"I don't think the health-care issue is done," Ryan said in an interview with The Weekly Standard. 

"At the end of the day, we've got to go after the root cause — health-care inflation and entitlements. Welfare reform is going to be our next lift," he said. 

"We're never going to give up on entitlement reform and the things we need to do to get the debt under control," he added. 

Ryan added that with one more reconciliation bill, "I think we have a pretty good shot at getting some of these things done." 

But the already slim Republican majority in the Senate will shrink after Alabama's Doug Jones, a Democrat, is seated next year, replacing Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeThe biggest political upsets of the decade State 'certificate of need' laws need to go GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE

Reconciliation instructions can be used to pass legislation through the Senate with a simple majority.