Ryan Joins Exodus of House Republicans

Republican House speaker Paul Ryan speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference National Harbor, Maryland, March 3, 2016
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference National Harbor, Maryland, March 3, 2016 (Gage Skidmore)

Axios reports that prominent Republicans are fleeing Washington DC.

House speaker Paul Ryan is the latest to depart, announcing on Wednesday that he will not seek reelection in November.

About a dozen committee chairmen are giving up their seats as well.

There are two reasons for the exodus:

  1. The expectation that Democrats will win a majority in the House.
  2. Frustration with President Donald Trump. Read more

How Can Ryan Possibly Believe Trump Should Be President?

Republican House speaker Paul Ryan speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference National Harbor, Maryland, March 3
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference National Harbor, Maryland, March 3 (Gage Skidmore)

Republican House speaker Paul Ryan made headlines on Monday when he said he could no longer defend Donald Trump, his party’s presidential nominee.

But it didn’t take long for commentators to point out that Ryan hadn’t withdrawn his endorsement. So we have the spectacle of the most powerful elected Republican in the country saying he can no longer “defend” his party’s nominee while still supporting the same person to become president of the United States.

Hypocritical? Of course. And for those of us who had high hopes for Ryan, it is profoundly disappointing as well. Read more

Ryan’s Excuse for Supporting Trump Is Embarrassing

Republican House speaker Paul Ryan meets with religious leaders in Washington DC, March 2
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan meets with religious leaders in Washington DC, March 2 (Bread for the World)

House speaker Paul Ryan announced on Thursday that he would after all vote for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Ryan, the most powerful elected Republican in the country, refused to endorse Trump last month, even after the businessman’s two remaining rivals had suspended their presidential bids.

He had also broken with precedent during the primaries to criticize Trump when the latter proposed to temporarily bar all Muslims from entering the United States. “[This] is not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for,” Ryan said at the time.

Now he maintains that he has “more common ground than disagreement” with Trump.

Ryan writes in a local newspaper in his home state of Wisconsin that private conversations with Trump have convinced him that the New Yorker would support his legislative agenda as president.

Which, if he’s honest, either means Ryan has changed his mind on major issues or Trump told him something different in private than what he says in public. Read more

Ryan Has Long Way to Go to Restore Trust in Politics

Republican House speaker Paul Ryan reads a speech he is about to deliver at the Capitol in Washington DC, March 23
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan reads a speech he is about to deliver at the Capitol in Washington DC, March 23 (Facebook/Speaker Paul Ryan)

Paul Ryan has a long way to go if he wants to restore some civility and trust in American politics.

The Republican House leader implicitly criticized many in his own party this week for playing to voters’ fears and undermining their confidence in the institutions of government.

Ryan called for a more confident America, one in which “we question each other’s ideas vigorously, but we don’t question each other’s motives.”

“People with different ideas are not traitors,” he said. “They are not our enemies.”

You wouldn’t know it listening to some of the louder voices on the right. Read more

Republicans Overpromised (And Some Know It)

Republican House speaker Paul Ryan gives a speech, December 17, 2015
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan gives a speech, December 17, 2015 (Facebook/Speaker Paul Ryan)

Joshua Green suggests at Bloomberg Politics that there may be a realignment going on inside the Republican Party. Mostly working-class voters are fed up with the broken promises of a Washington “establishment,” he argues, and rallying behind presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump who each in their own way promise to radically shake up the system.

Cruz and Trump between them command the support of just one in two Republicans nationwide, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls. Neither man is likely to win the presidential nomination, let alone the presidency.

In the end, more reasonable, middle-class voters will almost certainly decide the general election and probably the Republican nominating contest as well. They always have.

But their control is slipping. Read more

Republicans Push Back Against Trump’s Pessimism

Republican congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin watches his election as speaker of the House of Representatives on television in Washington DC, November 3, 2015
Republican congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin watches his election as speaker of the House of Representatives on television in Washington DC, November 3, 2015 (Facebook/Speaker Paul Ryan)

Listen to their presidential candidates and you may be forgiven for thinking America’s Republicans see only doom and gloom on the horizon. But there are party leaders with a more hopeful message. Read more

Budget Deal Gives Short-Term Relief, No Long-Term Improvement

Democratic senator Patty Murray of Washington state delivers a press conference at the Capitol in Washington DC, February 16, 2012
Democratic senator Patty Murray of Washington state delivers a press conference at the Capitol in Washington DC, February 16, 2012 (Flickr/Senate Democrats)

Democratic and Republican Party negotiators announced that they had reached a budget deal on Tuesday. If their compromise agreement is accepted in both houses of Congress, it could end some of the uncertainty about government spending and taxes that has dampened growth in the world’s largest economy this year.

The chief negotiators, Democratic senator Patty Murray and Republican congressman Paul Ryan, both described the compromise as a step in the right direction during a news conference in Washington DC. “This bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion, it does not raise taxes and it cuts spending in a smarter way,” said Ryan who was his party’s vice presidential candidate in last year’s election.

Party leaders and President Barack Obama quickly signaled their support. “This agreement doesn’t include everything I’d like — and I know many Republicans feel the same way. That’s the nature of compromise,” the president said in a statement. “But it’s a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of short sighted, crisis driven decisionmaking to get this done.”

The Murray-Ryan plan raises discretionary spending in the fiscal year 2014 from $967 billion to just over $1 trillion while shifting tens of billions of dollars worth of defense cuts that were planned in previous legislation. It would altogether cut $85 billion in spending, amounting to $23 billion in net deficit reduction.

Mandatory spending, which includes the big health and pension programs that risk becoming unaffordable, isn’t covered under the agreement even if it is budgeted to account for 64 percent of total spending next year.

The cost of entitlements, including the president’s besieged health reform plan, is expected to rise from 9.8 percent of gross domestic product this year to 13.6 percent in 2035. As early as 2025, federal tax revenues could be sufficient to cover only these mandatory spending commitments, even excluding unemployment compensation and leaving nothing for discretionary spending on defense, education and infrastructure.

Republicans have proposed to repeal the president’s health reforms and liberalize state medical care for seniors in order to reduce the rising costs of entitlements. Democrats reject both proposals. They are also unhappy that Tuesday’s compromise does not include an extension in unemployment benefits which are due to expire at the end of this year.