Mess awaits as Paul Ryan prepares to ascend to House speaker

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A ‘Family-Friendly’ Shift In Debate Over Work-Life Balance.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – The honeymoon might be over before it even begins for House Speaker-in-waiting Paul Ryan when he is elevated to the top job this week. Now let me get this straight: We are now celebrating the fact that a group of right-wing extremists in the House of Representatives (the “Freedom Caucus”) have grudgingly agreed to mostly support another right-wing extremist to be speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, whose ideology is based on the economics and philosophy of a third-rate novelist, Ayn Rand?Has it finally happened that when a man says he is making job decisions around his family we can finally believe him, as opposed to wondering when the email exchanges with his outside honey are going to come out? The Wisconsin Republican, on track to prevail in secret-ballot GOP elections Wednesday and in a full House vote Thursday, would take over at a moment of chaos notable even for a Congress where crisis has become routine.

Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) has been able to count on his Facebook page for stalwart support during his long-running battle with the House Republican leadership, including a successful effort to oust House Speaker John A. This past week, two of this country’s most powerful men —who work in a city where power is everything and work is king — both made career decisions with personal and family needs at the center. Lawmakers are barreling toward a Nov. 3 deadline to raise the federal borrowing limit or face an unprecedented government default, and there’s no plan in sight for averting it. Jim Jordan said on “Fox News Sunday.” Ryan, House Ways and Means Committee chairman and 2012 vice presidential candidate, was recruited by Capitol Hill Republicans to become the next House speaker. Ryan would succeed John Boehner, who announced his resignation from Congress last month after years of often-futile attempts to unify warring factions within his Republican caucus.

And early December will bring the next chapter in the government shutdown wars, with a must-pass deadline for spending legislation a ripe opportunity for brinksmanship. But in recent days, the tone of the comments on Meadows’s page, and those of the other members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, have changed significantly. “You should all be replaced,” a critic told Rep. It’s all happening amid fierce fighting among Republicans, on Capitol Hill and in the presidential campaign, as angry voters demand change and establishment-aligned politicians do battle with outsiders and hard-liners. Then, Vice President Joe Biden announced this week that he will forgo a third try at the presidency, in part because he and his family had needed time to recover from the death of his son Beau. And, he is no stranger to the workings of Congress, having co-authored a 2013 fiscal deal with Democrats that limits federal spending to this day. “I still think we are an exceptional country with exceptional people and a republic clearly worth fighting for,” said Ryan last week. “It’s not too late to save the American idea, but we are running out of time. “Make no mistake: I believe that the ideas and principles of results-driven, common-sense conservatism are the keys to a better tomorrow, a tomorrow in which all of God’s children will be better off than they are today,” he added. “I think Paul Ryan would make a great speaker,” Boehner said days ago. “He works hard, very bright, and he has good relationships, I think, with all the wings of the party.” Ryan said he would only serve as speaker if Republicans unified behind him.

Ryan in talking with the caucus members reportedly agreed to address their concerns including committee leadership assignments and legislation from rank-and-file members not getting more consideration. “We have a commitment from Paul to work on changing the rules and we may even get a change before the vote this coming Wednesday and Thursday,” Jordan said. It is a new day if these two men — one a Democrat, one a Republican, one in the final chapters of a storied career and one smack in the middle of one — can each say, without hesitation or ridicule, that he needs to be home for dinner and not just on Thanksgiving. That unity will be put to the test almost immediately with critical votes on matters such as raising the federal government’s borrowing limit by November 3 or risk a U.S. debt default. “It’s as serious as it gets for our economy, for interest rates. It’s hard to describe what a big deal that is unless you are up close and personal with the lifestyle, not just of politics, but of many jobs in the current era: the 24-7 on-call expectation, the constant deadlines, the schmoozing and networking that go on and on into the wee hours, night after night. This has a direct impact on the lives of the American people,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi who, like President Barack Obama, is demanding a conditions-free hike of the debt ceiling.

He also says Ryan promised the caucus he would run the House in line with some of the more conservative members’ priorities – such as on immigration, where Ryan is thought to be supportive of a broader reform effort than many in the Freedom Caucus are willing to support. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the second-in-command, dropped out of the race after suggesting the House Select Committee on Benghazi was responsible for damaging the campaign of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Let’s set aside a certain presidential candidate who is said to have derided a female lawyer as “disgusting” when she requested a break from a deposition to go use her breast pump; let’s talk about how hard it is even when people want things to be different. Ryan will have to contend with the same ultra-conservative Republican faction that bedeviled Boehner’s leadership with demands of a no-holds-barred opposition to Obama’s agenda and a focus on shrinking the size of government at all costs. “Divided government is very difficult.

Matt Salmon of Arizona, one of the conservative rebels who forced Boehner out by threatening what would have amounted to a vote of no confidence on the House floor. Mulvaney said the caucus didn’t have a problem with most of Ryan’s conditions, including his desire to still be able to fly home weekly to be with his family in Wisconsin. “We didn’t ask what he plans to do with his weekends,” Mulvaney said. “I think it’s petty to beat up on Paul for wanting to spend time with his kids.” The only area where the caucus had an issue with Ryan, Mulvaney said, was his hope of protecting himself by doing away with House members’ ability to “vacate the chair,” a motion conservatives had used to force Boehner out of office.

The groundswell of support from hard-core conservative voters that emboldened the group as it battled Boehner and the GOP establishment seemed to subside for the first time in months. That has put its members in the unfamiliar position of defending their right flank. “Look, I imagine that there’s theoretically a chance that [we] all went from being radical extremist crazies to Washington sellouts in 12 hours,” said Rep. How could it be otherwise in an environment where workers in many companies get their schedules handed to them just a few days or even hours ahead of time?

Mark Amodei of Nevada. “There’s a reason John Boehner decided to resign.” After announcing his surprise plans last month to leave Congress on Oct. 30, Boehner expressed a desire to “clean the barn” of messy must-pass legislation, rather than leave it for his successor. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a Freedom Caucus leader. “But maybe a more likely narrative is that we really think that this is a good step for the conservative movement.

That might be why, when Working Mother magazine recently surveyed more than 1500 mothers on their work-life balance issues — they called it the “juggle struggle”— they found that two-thirds of the respondents actually valued job security as the most important factor in choosing a place to work. The debt limit was at the top of the list, given the impending deadline and the reluctance of most Republicans to pass an increase without accompanying spending cuts the White House is ruling out. And it’s up to us to try to explain that to people, and that’s what we’ve been doing.” The anger over Ryan’s ascent has been fueled by voices across the conservative media landscape. But Boehner has yet to announce his approach, after leadership backtracked on tentative plans to get the ball rolling with legislation linking a debt limit increase to deep spending cuts and a balanced budget plan.

On the Internet, sites such as Breitbart.com and the Drudge Report have pumped out a steady stream of anti-Ryan stories casting doubt on his record, while such prominent commentators as Erick Erickson, Ann Coulter and Mickey Kaus have sharpened their teeth and urged conservatives to contact lawmakers and tell them to spurn Ryan. Particularly brutal have been the syndicated talk-radio hosts who have helped foment the anti-establishment outrage that has kept Donald Trump atop the GOP presidential race and forced Jeb Bush, a well-financed mainstream conservative, to undertake a campaign shake-up. Now, though GOP leaders won’t yet say so, it seems inevitable that the House will end up voting on a “clean” debt ceiling increase devoid of spending cuts or other attempts at reform. Laura Ingraham last week called Ryan “basically John Boehner with better abs” and featured segment after segment attacking Ryan’s positions on trade and immigration. It’s a situation certain to provoke howls from the GOP base, especially if it ends up being the first item on a newly installed Speaker Ryan’s to-do list.

Wait till you see exactly what our group is doing, and I think you’ll see that it’s coherent, it makes sense.” One problem for Brat and his Freedom Caucus colleagues is that Ryan has remained mum for the most part on his intentions. He opted instead for gauzy generalities: “We can make the House a more open and inclusive body — one where every member can contribute to the legislative process. The latter has proved to be especially toxic for Ryan in conservative circles, to the point that his chief partner in pushing reform legislation, Rep. Don’t say anything at all about Paul Ryan!’ ” “There’s a small group that wields an inordinate influence and power over the group,” Gutierrez added. “They are slaves and captives to Laura Ingraham.” Meadows said Thursday that he and like-minded members were more concerned that Ryan might have made contradictory pledges to different groups while courting support last week. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), a backbencher who has emphasized procedural reforms. “If you’ve got problems with a man today, and the man tells you, ‘Tomorrow, I’ll be a different person’ — it doesn’t happen,” said Rep.

Now we’ve got an opportunity to sit at the table and actually partake in the meal.” Some simply say they are confident that their constituents will trust them to make the right decision. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said calls to his office were running 2 to 1 against Ryan, but he said passions were at “a much lower level” than after he voted for Boehner in January.

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