Flanked by supportive members of House leadership, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) made his case to the GOP caucus this morning for passage of the budget agreement forged with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
“What this budget agreement does is it helps produce more certainty because it stops a potential government shutdown in January and it stops a potential government shutdown in October. We think that’s good for the country,” Ryan told reporters outside the meeting.
“At the same time, we wanted to make sure that we were taking a step in the right direction for fiscal discipline. Look, our budget that we passed here in the House, the Republican budget, represents our ultimate goal and our ultimate vision — balance the budget, pay off the debt. But we understand in this divided government, we’re not going to get everything we want,” he added. “And so what we want to do is take a step toward that goal, a step in the direction toward that vision. And by having a budget agreement that does not raise taxes, that does reduce the deficit and produces some certainty and prevents government shutdowns, we think is a good agreement.”
“It’s also an agreement that gives Congress the power of the purse back. For three years, we keep passing these continuing resolutions which basically is Congress ceding its authority to the executive branch so they set the priorities. That is not right. That’s not constitutional.”
Ryan said he feels “very good” about his GOP colleagues’ reaction to the bill.
“We know that this budget agreement doesn’t come close to achieving what we want to achieve on our ultimate fiscal goals. But again, if we can get a step in the right direction, we’re going to take that step, and that’s why we’re doing this,” he said.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that the provision Democrats wanted but was left out of the bill — an extension of unemployment insurance — still might come to the floor, but not in any current version.
“Listen, we’ve worked all year to get our economy going again and to help produce better jobs and more wages,” Boehner said. “But when the White House finally called me last Friday, about extending unemployment benefits, I said that we would clearly consider it, as long as it’s paid for and as long as there are other efforts that’ll help get our economy moving once again.”
“I have not seen a plan from the White House that meets those standards.”
Boehner was asked about conservative PACs and lobbying groups, including Heritage Action, that have come out in opposition to the Ryan-Murray agreement.
“You mean the groups that came out and opposed it before they ever saw it?” he shot back. “They’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous.”
“Listen if you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement.”