Dan Gilmore / Dec. 9, 2015

This Week: Paul Ryan's Funding Fight

Let's give the new speaker a chance.

This is Paul Ryan’s chance. Will he be the same fresh-faced Republican congressman who proposed his Path to Prosperity budget, or will the speakership corrupt him so that he’ll be nothing more than a paler, scruffier and more sober version of John Boehner? The biggest fight facing Ryan now is working through a bill that will fund the federal government, legislation with a deadline of Dec. 11. The first problem Ryan faces in passing the omnibus spending bill is the amendments tacked onto it. For example, conservatives attached wording that would dismantle Barack Obama’s Syrian refugee program, but it’s an amendment that would likely cause Obama to veto the whole package — making the whole effort dead on arrival. Secondly, Ryan faces the “hope yes, vote no” caucus, the group of Republican lawmakers that know they face political consequences and the nation may experience economic harm if the government were to once again shut down, but continue to vote “no” on funding legislation anyway. While it’s tempting for conservatives to light the torches and raise the pitchforks, draining the Washington swamp will take time. Conservatism plays the long game. And step one of that strategy is to, in the present, responsibly lead. After that midterm fight that toppled Boehner, conservatives have themselves a new leader. Let’s see how he leads.

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