In an interview today on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan signaled some flexibility on what he called "constructive ideas" that are now being discussed in the debt debate -- and said it's his judgment that they will find a way to resolve the issue.
My own judgment, based upon all the various conversations that are occurring, are that we will find a way to deal with this issue," Ryan said. And I think there are constructive conversations that are occurring -- both sides of the rotunda, both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue. And I do believe at the end of the day cooler heads are going to prevail."
He added, "The Biden talks, I thought, were probably the most productive exercise of all these exercises that have been going on around here. That put actual cuts, well, that's a longer story but because of the insistence for tax increases. But I still believe that those talks were producing some results on spending cuts."
Asked why he and the Republican caucus wouldn't want to pocket the spending cuts the president has already offered -- and work out the details later -- he said:
"That's what I want to do. I want to grab the spending cuts we can... I think that's what we're going to do at the end of the day here... I think that's what we should do is grab the kind of spending cuts we can right now."
He went on to say: "Spending cuts in the so-called Gang of Six plan are extremely vague. They're sort of a promise that Senate Democrats will pass spending cuts later where there are no details and specificity. I've seen that game played around here before. So I want to get spending cuts under control. The other thing is with the Gang of Six - it's saying we're going to lower tax rates, which there's becoming a bipartisan consensus to that -- which I'm really encouraged about -- but keep the loopholes and raise revenues. These are conflicting mandates. They don't add up."
Asked about the McConnell-Reid negotiations, Ryan said:
"Since we're in the middle of these conversations right now, I just don't think it's in our interest to sort of speculate what our fallback plan is going to be. No offense. I just don't think it's good to negotiate through the media, as we're trying to get significant spending cuts to deal with this issue. There are lots of different fallback plans that are being offered out there. I assume that there will be a fallback plan in place. What that's going to be or what we want to agree to, it's just not in our interest to say that right now. But I do believe that we will have cooler heads prevail and prevent a default from happening."