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Ryan Rankles Right with Quest for Budget 'Breakthrough'

Needham was far from alone in his assessment among conservatives. Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, said “it is the president’s failed healthcare law that needs to be dealt with in Congress.”

“Not once did Mr. Ryan mention the program that is hurting hard-working Americans,” she said. “We must remember the reason we are fighting and remain united in our opposition to Obamacare. To quote President Lincoln, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ This stalemate will end when Democrats in the Senate agree to do their duty and negotiate.”

Amanda Carpenter, the senior communications advisor to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is leading the fight in the upper chamber to kill Obamacare, tweeted, “There is one big word missing from this op-ed. It’s (sic) starts with an O and ends with BAMACARE.”

Appearing as a guest on a nationally syndicated radio program hosted by former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, Ryan said he didn’t specifically cite Obamacare in his WSJ op-ed because he views it as a part of his call for entitlement reform.

“Obamacare’s an entitlement just like any other entitlement,” Ryan said. “So that, as far as we’re concerned, is in this conversation, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, those are the big drivers of our debt. If you look in the op-ed, I say we have to — ultimately we have to rethink all of our nation’s healthcare laws.”

Regardless, Ryan added that he doubts “within the next two weeks we have a viable strategy for actually repealing Obamacare, every piece of it.”

In the op-ed, Ryan mentioned several areas ripe for bipartisan agreement that could eventually lead to an end to the shutdown and an increase in the nation’s borrowing authority. Wealthy recipients can be required to pay higher premiums for Medicare, a program facing tight financial straits. Medigap plans, he said, could be changed to make them more efficient and reduce costs. Federal workers could be asked to increase their contributions to their retirement plans.

All of these ideas, Ryan noted, have drawn Obama’s support in the past.

The big issue could be tax reform – an issue that often caries a different meaning for Democrats and Republicans, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have been working together behind the scenes to simplify the U.S. tax code on a revenue neutral basis, including a provision to reduce a business tax considered the world’s highest.

The two lawmakers are aiming to release a package before the end of the year. Obama already has expressed support for lowering the business tax.