White House: Trump hasn't shifted on not cutting entitlements

White House: Trump hasn't shifted on not cutting entitlements
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE has not changed his position on protecting entitlement programs from funding cuts, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday. 

After last month's GOP victory on tax reform, many Republicans are calling for changes to the social safety net as a way to cut government spending. But, asked about Trump's repeated campaign pledge to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Sanders said he doesn't support cuts to the programs.

"The president hasn't changed his position at this point," she said at a White House briefing, adding that conversations with lawmakers are ongoing.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP GOP group makes late play in Iowa seat once seen as lost Adelsons donated M in September to help GOP in midterms MORE (R-Wis.) has set his sights on entitlement reform for 2018. 


“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” he said in an interview last month. 

Medicare and Medicaid “are the big drivers of debt,” Ryan said, “so we spend more time on the health-care entitlements, because that's really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking."

Ryan said Trump is beginning to warm to the idea of slowing the spending growth in entitlements. 

“I think the president is understanding choice and competition works everywhere, especially in Medicare,” Ryan said.

While his administration and Congress have yet to enact any policies that would directly cut the programs, Trump did support proposals that would slow down the growth rate of the Medicaid program or end ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion. 

The White House budget proposal would have cut more than $610 billion from Medicaid by slowing the growth rate — or reducing the amount Medicaid spending is increased per year. 

The White House has said it doesn't consider slowing down Medicaid growth rates to be funding cuts.