Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is Ryan ready to renege on budget agreement, risk government shutdown, to satisfy extremists?

Is Paul Ryan ready to cave in to the extremists in his caucus (even more extreme than he!) and renege on a budget deal the House Republicans agreed to last summer, even if it means shutting down the government?
That's an unanswered question so far, but it's beginning to look more likely that the House Budget Committee, which Ryan chairs and the GOP controls, will back out of the agreement.

Talking Points Memo reports:
The House GOP faces a trying dilemma. Leaders want to stick by federal spending levels agreed to in the Budget Control Act — better known to most as the debt-limit deal. But they’re having a hard time corralling conservative members, who want to cut much deeper into domestic programs. Passing a budget with lower spending caps would risk binding their appropriators to those levels — an outcome Senate Democrats will reject, and which could easily lead to an election-season government shutdown fight this September. The third option is to not pass a budget at all, which would be an embarrassment for House Republicans who have bashed Dems consistently for months for not passing a taxing-and-spending plan of their own...
Republican leaders have been chewing this over with their members behind closed doors. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Tuesday that there’s a deep-seated desire for “fiscal sanity” in his caucus, while Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted he doesn’t know where the GOP will ultimately come down on the spending caps, according to Roll Call.
One reason to cave in committee, one GOP staffer told Roll Call, is to save Ryan some embarrassment:
“It doesn’t get passed if there’s absolutely no concessions to conservatives,” said an aide to a RSC member. “There will be at least some deal to get it out of committee ... [and] save them the embarrassment of Paul Ryan being defeated in committee.”
That's leadership, Paul Ryan style.

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