Can Paul Ryan Fix the ‘Broken’ House?

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Can Paul Ryan Fix the ‘Broken’ U.S. House of Representatives?.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest developments in the changing of the guard in the House leadership, with Rep. In a formal transfer of power that was equal parts celebratory and emotional, the 45-year-old Wisconsin Republican on Thursday won an election on the House floor to replace the departing Boehner, who resigned last month rather than try to head off a conservative revolt.

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday promised to sweep away Republican Party differences and repair a “broken” House of Representatives by returning legislative power to committees and rank-and-file members. Nine Republicans cast their votes for a long-shot challenger, Daniel Webster of Florida, denying Ryan the unanimity he sought but allowing him to claim a measure of unity from a divided Republican conference.

Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his national running mate, Nate Silver published a New York Times item highlighting the congressman’s ideology. “Various statistical measures of Mr. John Boehner of Ohio as speaker (all times local): That’s according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who says Obama has spoken in the past about his respect for Ryan despite significant differences they have on policy. Ryan won 236 votes among the chamber’s 247 Republicans to be elected speaker, abandoned by only a handful of conservatives who mounted repeated revolts that pushed out his predecessor, John Boehner, who retired. Ryan now has a job he said he never wanted, and he immediately set about to fix a legislative chamber that he bluntly declared to be broken. “We’re not solving problems. Ryan inherits a party conference that’s divided over whether to cooperate with Democrats and the Obama administration to forge agreements such as the two-year budget deal passed Wednesday by the House, or instead use their power over the purse to try to force policy concessions from the president. “We have nothing to fear from honest differences honestly stated.

Ryan peg him as being quite conservative,” Silver wrote at the time. “Based on his Congressional voting record, for instance, the statistical system DW-Nominate evaluates him as being roughly as conservative as Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.” That wasn’t a typo. Ryan said in a speech after the vote that infighting in the Republican-majority House had been counterproductive and added to the legislative gridlock in Washington. When it comes to independent analyses of lawmakers’ ideology, as recently as 2012, Paul Ryan and Michele Bachmann were roughly at the same place on the liberal-conservative spectrum. Earnest says that with the GOP in control of Congress and with a Democrat in control of the White House, anything making it through the legislative process will have to be bipartisan.

Ryan said the House would tackle tough issues, including reducing budget deficits and reforming taxes, saying this would help raise incomes and bring people out of poverty. Paul Ryan was elected on Thursday to serve as the next speaker of the House – a vote that followed weeks of uncertainty and came on the heels of the House passage of a sweeping two-year bipartisan budget deal. […] Given some of the complaints from right-wing critics, one might be tempted to think House Republicans have elevated a moderate pragmatist. A constant source of friction among conservatives had been Boehner’s practice of drafting major spending legislation in secret, often in negotiations with Democrats as fiscal deadlines loomed.

On “Fox News Sunday” earlier this week, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward said of Ryan, “You know, you see him there, he just kind of vibrates reasonableness.” But if we put aside the Wisconsin Republican’s vibrations, an important picture emerges. Holding them aloft with a nod to the chamber, he won the first of several ovations. “I leave here with no regrets or burdens,” Boehner said. “If anything, I leave as I started—just a regular guy humbled by the chance to do a big job.

Freedom Caucus member Trent Franks of Arizona said Ryan “has the unique ability to create a compelling message and to disseminate it in a way that people understand it.” Ryan promised to give rank-and-file Republicans a stronger say in running the House, but he also backed this week’s bipartisan two-year budget accord. National Journal published a piece last week that found, as a quantifiable matter, Paul Ryan is “the most the most conservative House Speaker in recent history.” It’s difficult to summarize the congressman’s 16-year career on Capitol Hill in a single blog post, so I won’t try, but perusing the MaddowBlog archive this morning, some relevant tidbits stood out.

The Freedom Caucus called the deal a “fiscal monstrosity.” He only agreed to seek the job last week after initially telling colleagues he didn’t want it. Ryan now moves to the number two succession spot for the presidency behind the vice president, a position he sought in the 2012 election as Mitt Romney’s running mate. When Boehner resigned, the GOP turned to Ryan, a wonky tax writer who had been a rising star in the party long before Mitt Romney picked him as his running mate in 2012.

The Freedom Caucus’s push to shut down the government rather than continue funding Planned Parenthood, the women’s health provider whose services include abortion, played a major role in pushing Boehner, 65, to announce he would resign. He is the architect of conservative budget plans that sought to slash social safety net programs, including effectively privatizing Medicare health benefits for seniors, while cutting tax rates for the wealthy and boosting military spending. Revolts by conservatives led to a 16-day partial government shutdown in 2013, and the US neared the brink of default in 2011 and 2013 as conservatives battled to attach policy changes to a debt-limit increase.

And although Ryan agreed to serve only after the party came begging, even he had to make promises to secure the support of the same conservatives who tormented Boehner. When he decided to run, Ryan told fellow Republicans he wanted them to unify behind him, end leadership crises and let him continue spending time with his family. He also voted for Bush’s wars, and had no qualms whatsoever about adding the costs the national credit card, letting future generations pay for our national security goals. Ryan assured the right he’d run the House differently, promising to shake up the structure of committees and give rank-and-file members a stronger hand in writing legislation that makes it to the floor for a vote. On Wednesday, the Republican conference formally nominated him in a private vote, and on Thursday the House ratified Ryan’s selection in a spectacle unique in American politics—a long, slow reading of each name of the chamber’s 435 representatives, who then rose to shout the name of their chosen candidate.

One thing that might come back to haunt him is his promise to Freedom Caucus members to follow an informal Republican policy allowing legislation to reach the floor only if most party members support it. Ryan needed a majority of the chamber, and by the time the vote began, the only drama was in guessing how many of the 247 Republicans would cast their support elsewhere.

Though he’s known for his focus on fiscal issues, Ryan is also a fierce culture warrior, taking a hard-right line on contraception access, “Personhood,” and LGBT rights, twice supporting a constitutional amendment to block marriage equality. The final vote—the 236th for Ryan—came from Boehner himself, who announced Ryan’s election and waited for him in the speaker’s chair. “Don’t cry!” the smiling Wisconsinite told him as the two friends embraced. He’s credited Ayn Rand as “the reason I got involved in public service.” Ryan not only condemned Social Security as “a collectivist system,” he blasted Social Security’s Democratic champions as “collectivist, class warfare-breathing demagogues.” And then, of course, there’s the infamous Paul Ryan budget plan – in all of its various iterations – which would not only end Medicare, converting the program into a voucher system, but which goes out of its way to redistribute wealth from the bottom up. He’s celebrated by the political establishment as a wonky, practical GOP leader, but his public-relations successes are belied by an alarming record of radicalism. She says the House is eager for fresh start so the chamber can better fulfill its obligations, and she says there’s no one better than Ryan “to lead us in that calling.” Democrats have nominated Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, with fellow California Democrat Xavier Becerra saying Pelosi — a former speaker herself — “understands how to get things done.” Colleagues have given outgoing House Speaker John Boehner a standing ovation, and the Ohio lawmaker raised a box of tissues moments before delivering a farewell address.

During four years as Budget Committee chairman, Ryan proposed repealing Obamacare, cutting business tax rates, ending the estate tax and consolidating programs for low-income households. Repurposing the words of Harry Truman after his assumed the presidency following the death of Franklin Roosevelt, he asked lawmakers to pray, not for him, but for each other. “Republicans for Democrats and Democrats for Republicans,” he asked. “And I don’t mean pray for a conversion. Pledging a clean break that wasn’t about “settling scores,” Ryan pledged to restore “regular order”—Congress-speak for empowering committees at the expense of top-down, leadership-dictated policy. He also has supported allowing 11 million undocumented immigrants to eventually become U.S. citizens, a stance backed by most Democrats and passed in a bipartisan 2013 Senate vote but strongly opposed by most House Republicans. In an echo of both Boehner and Obama before him, Ryan said that while the “cynics may scoff,” “you better believe we will try.” “We will not duck the tough issues.

And to a person, they were promises each of them had all heard before—most recently in early January, from the man who minutes earlier had walked out the door.

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