U.S. Rep. Ryan says would consider vice president offer
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Representative Paul Ryan, whose Medicare overhaul plan has drawn criticism from elderly advocacy groups and Democrats, said on Sunday he would consider an offer to become the Republican vice presidential nominee.
Ryan told CBS' "Face the Nation" that he was so focused on his job as chairman of the House Budget committee that a spot on the Republican presidential ticket was "just something I'm not even considering right now."
However, he left the door open to joining the eventual Republican presidential nominee.
"I would consider it," Ryan said. "But it's not even something in my mind because it's a decision someone else makes at a later time. It's a bridge I haven't even gotten close to having to cross."
Ryan has put forward a budget plan that would slash federal spending and overhaul the U.S. tax code, reducing the top 35 percent rate to 25 percent. At the same time, the budget, which the House is expected to consider this week, calls for a major overhaul of Medicare that would give the elderly an allowance to purchase medical coverage from private insurers or traditional Medicare.
The plan could cause problems for Republicans going into the November 6 elections. The elderly tend to vote in larger numbers than younger people and opinion polls show that significant majority of people like the Medicare program the way it is. Ryan's plan has drawn criticism from some elderly advocacy groups who say it would increase out-of-pocket expenses for the elderly and undermine the traditional fee-for-service Medicare.
Ryan and his Republican backers, argue that his plan would save Medicare because the program will soon go broke because of rising healthcare costs and an aging population.
(Reporting By Donna Smith)