Paul Ryan

House Republicans will unsurprisingly cave on the debt ceiling

Paul Ryan

House Republicans are at a retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia for a few days this week hoping to find a strategy that will help the rebuild before the 2014 election and deal with President Obama during his second term.

Perhaps one of the biggest rumors that has come out of the retreat — noted yesterday afternoon on Twitter by Erick Erickson — is word that they will not put up a fight on raising the debt ceiling, which is set to be reached at some point in mid-February.

While he wasn’t that straightforward in comments to the media yesterday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who has urged unity from his party on fiscal issues, said that a short-term hike would be passed if a large agreement on spending couldn’t be reach with the White House:

“We’re discussing the possible virtue of a short-term debt limit extension so that we have a better chance of getting the Senate and the White House involved in discussions in March,” Ryan told reporters gathered at the pricey Kingsmill resort in Williamsburg, where the House GOP is holding its annual retreat.

White House to miss budget deadline

Barack Obama

Buried in yesterday’s news of President Obama’s press conference, where he brow beat Republicans over the debt ceiling and called for even more tax revenue, was word that the White House would break the law by not submitting a budget for FY 2014 to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) by the required date:

The White House has informed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that it will miss the legal deadline for sending a budget to Congress.

Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients told Ryan (R-Wis.) in a letter late Friday that the budget will not be delivered by Feb. 4, as required by law.

In the letter, Zients says the administration is “working diligently on our budget request.”

The letter blames the late passage of the “fiscal cliff” deal for the delay, saying that because tax and spending issues were not resolved until Jan. 2, “the administration was forced to delay some of its FY 2014 budget preparations, which in turn will delay the budget’s submission to Congress.”

“We will submit it to Congress as soon as possible,” Zients writes.

The Hill notes that, since taking office, the White House has met the deadline only one time. The last time Congress passed a budget was April 29, 2009, which was also the first year of Obama’s administration. And while the White House likes to blame Republicans for the impasse, Obama couldn’t even get a budget through in 2010 when Democrats had complete control of Congress.

It’s time to separate “rhetorical Paul Ryan” from “actual Paul Ryan”

Paul Ryan

The “fiscal cliff” battle is over. Republicans lost, save getting the threshold for taxes increased to $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families. The talking point coming from Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and a host of other Republicans who voted for the deal is that they’re done negotiating with the White House and will leverage the upcoming debt ceiling fight for spending cuts.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who chairs the House Budget Committee, also said something similar last week when asked about his vote for the “fiscal cliff” deal:

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday defended his vote for the last minute fiscal cliff legislation that passed Congress this week, saying he supported it to “get this issue behind us, … prevent this massive tax increase and … focus on spending now.”

The 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee acknowledged in an interview with a Milwaukee radio host that he realized he would be criticized for his vote to extend tax cuts for most Americans while raising taxes on the wealthy, but said it was the best deal Republicans could get under the circumstances.

“What I know in my conscience is 98 percent of the families in Wisconsin are not going to get hit with a massive tax increase,” Ryan said Thursday, during an appearance on 620 WTMJ with Charlie Sykes.

Conservatives Bash Boehner Over Purge…But What About Paul Ryan?

Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Conservatives are hammering House Speaker John Boehner over the purging of reliably limited government Republicans who weren’t afraid to buck the GOP leadership. But what about Paul Ryan?

There were two Republicans on the House Budget Committee – chaired by Ryan – who voted against Ryan’s budget last spring: Rep. Justin Amash and Rep. Tim Huelskamp. Amash and Huelskamp were just kicked off the Budget Committee, which Ryan is going to continue to chair.

Now consider this quote from an unnamed House GOP leadership aid as reported by The Hill: “Changes are made for a variety of reasons, most often at the request of committee chairs.” That makes it pretty clear that Ryan played a role – if not the role – in getting rid of Amash and Huelskamp. Yet – to my knowledge – conservatives haven’t trained any of their fire on Ryan.

How come?

Tom Price loses Republican leadership bid

Tom Price

As you may have heard, House Republicans met yesterday to elect leadership for the next Congress. While mostly mundane, such as the re-election of John Boehner for House Speaker, there was an interesting race between Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers for chair of the House Republican Conference, an important position that helps communicate the party’s message.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Boehner had offered Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) a deal that would have provided him an appointed leadership position in exchange for him dropping out of the race and pledging loyalty to GOP leadership in the House. Price, one of the more conservative members in the caucus, declined the offer.

Unfortunately, whatever hope conservatives had for a seat in House leadership was ended yesterday as Rogers defeated Price, ensuring an echo-chamber for Boehner in leadership and a sign that House Republicans are willing to deal with Obama.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who chairs the House Budget Committee and is a popular figure in the  conservative movement, reiterated his support for Price in a letter to colleagues. Now, some may dismiss the significance, but Ryan’s involvement made this more than a leadership race between two members, but also against two high-profile Republicans with differing views on how to approach negotiation on the “fiscal cliff” with the White House.

Ryan reiterates support for Price in key House GOP leadership race

Earlier today, I mentioned that Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) had rejected a deal from House Speaker John Boehner that would have given him an appointed leadership position if he withdrew from the race for House Republican Conference chair and promised not to oppose GOP leadership. Boehner’s preferred candidate is apparently Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA) and he’s trying to avoid a potentially divisive fight.

Well, that got a lot more interesting today when Paul Ryan (R-WI), who served as Mitt Romney’s running mate this year and is popular with conservatives, reiterated his support for Price in a letter to colleagues:

In the Dear Colleague obtained by Roll Call, Ryan cites his experience putting together a House Republican budget as proof that Price is “uniquely qualified” to become conference chairman. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, on which Price sits.

Price is running against Republican Conference Vice Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. She has touted the endorsements of seven committee chairmen.

Ryan, however, one of the most high-profile figures in the Republican Party, might have the credibility to sway his colleagues into supporting Price. Although he pledged his support to Price this past summer, the duties of running on the presidential ticket trumped congressional politics, and he had not been active in supporting the candidate.

A libertarian explains why she’s voting for Mitt Romney

While some conservative bloggers have tried to make a case for libertarians voting for Mitt Romney, they haven’t really been able to connect because they fail to understand where we’re coming from in our perspective on politics and public policy. However, Liz Mair, a libertarian who works as a political consultant and strategist, explains that she is voting for Romney, despite reservations about some of his policies:

Poll: Romney pulls even with Obama on Medicare

Remember when Democrats thought that Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan would be easy for them to tear down because of his reasonable proposal to reform Medicare? They’ve certainly tried to demagogue the issue — take, for example, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz attempt during the summer on CNN when she was educated by Wolf Biltzer.

But new polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the attacks haven’t worked, as Romney has narrowed the gap with President Obama on Medicare:

Mitt Romney has pulled even with President Obama when it comes to the question of whom voters trust on Medicare, according to a new poll.

October’s Kaiser Health Tracking poll found that in one month, Romney brought Obama’s lead on Medicare issues from 16 points down to 5, a gap that was not statistically significant in the poll.

Those figures represent the leanings of likely voters. Among seniors, Kaiser found that Romney leads Obama on Medicare by 5 points (48 percent to 43).
Kaiser found that 61 percent of likely voters and 72 percent of seniors oppose converting Medicare to a premium-support system. Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have endorsed plans to partially privatize the program, giving future seniors a fixed dollar amount to buy coverage from traditional Medicare or on the private market.

Opposition to premium support is stable among non-seniors, though Kaiser cited other research that found opinion on the issue to be “quite malleable” and disposed to “persuasive messaging.”

Ben Swann chats with Paul Ryan about his big government conservatism

Paul Ryan

Despite not being their ideal candidate, Republicans became excited once Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan’s two budgets — the “Roadmap for America’s Future” and the “Path to Prosperity” — became rallying points for conservative activists and many in the Tea Party movement. It should be noted that FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth supported other alternatives because they didn’t feel that Ryan’s proposals didn’t balance the budget quickly enough.

While he has been able to cast himself as a budget cutter and small government advocate, Ryan’s voting record tells a different story. Back in May, I noted some of Ryan’s big government leanings, including his votes for Medicare Part D, TARP, and the auto bailout.

Earlier this month, Ben Swann, a Cininnati-based report, sat down with Ryan and went over some of the votes over his career in Congress, putting the GOP vice presidential nominee on the defensive for supporting big government.

On Medicare Part D, Ryan explains that the program came under cost projections, but Swann notes that the program has added over $9 trillion in unfunded liabilities to an already broken program.

Swann also shows video of the debate on TARP, where Ryan explains, “[T]his bill offends my principles, but I’m gonna vote for this bill in order to preserve my principles.” That’s no different than what George W. Bush said after TARP was passed, that he “abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”

Joe Biden lied, more American troops will die

Joe Biden

During the vice presidential debate last week, Vice President Joe Biden ripped Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for their perceived opposition to the 2014 deadline to leave Afghanistan, promising that the United States would no longer occupy the country.

While that may be music to the ears of a war weary nation, Josh Rogin notes over at Foreign Policy that the Obama Administration is actually trying to extend that deadline to leave an American presence in Afghanistan:

Last week, U.S. and Afghan negotiators met in Kabul to talk about the Bilateral Security Agreement that will govern the extension of U.S. troops past 2014, when President Barack Obama said the combat mission in Afghanistan will end and the U.S. will complete the transition of the entire country to Afghan government control.

Also last week, Biden told Americans during his Oct. 11 debate with Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan that U.S. troops were leaving Afghanistan by 2014.

“We are leaving in 2014, period, and in the process, we’re going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion,” Biden said. “We’ve been in this war for over a decade. The primary objective is almost completed. Now all we’re doing is putting the Kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security. It’s their responsibility, not America’s.”

Marc Grossman, the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, explained today that’s not the whole story.


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