News · Press Release

From the Budget to Donald Trump, Paul Ryan Continues to Fold Like a Cheap Suit

In less than 24 hours, Speaker Paul Ryan has suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the House Freedom Caucus in their vote against the Republican budget, shortly followed by his confounding pledge to support Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee.

We aren’t sure what else is left to say about Trumpocalypse and the irreparable damage that he causes Paul Ryan, his Speakership and down-ballot Republicans. But let’s dig in on the budget process, and how it fell apart so badly for Paul Ryan:

Speaker Ryan made returning to “regular order” when it came to the budget kind of a big deal …

Nov. 19, 2015: “This week, we also made significant progress in our efforts to return to regular order. . . the people we serve—demand more.” [Speaker Ryan press conference, 11/19/15]

Dec. 15, 2015: I want to do things differently… we call it ‘regular order’ around here.” [FOX News,12/15/15]

Dec. 19, 2015: “I hate omnibus bills and I don’t like doing these last-second bills. … do it the right way, individual bills, all 12 bills, open up the process…do it the way the Founders intended in the first place. . . . Now that we’re done with 2015, we’ll see it when we get back right away. In January, we are going back to regular order.” [Bill Bennett interview, 12/22/15]

Dec. 20, 2015: “Getting this appropriations process back on track.” [Meet the Press, 12/20/15]

Jan. 17, 2016: “Twelve separate appropriation bills, regular order…so that’s what 2016 is going to be about.” [Fox News Sunday interview, 1/17/16]

Feb. 3, 2016: “…making sure that we get our appropriations bill done… around here that’s pretty important.”[On the Record with Greta Van Susteren interview, 2/3/16]

Feb 11, 2016: “I feel very strongly about budgeting. I feel very strongly about getting a real working appropriations process so that we can reclaim the power of the purse. My views are very well known on this.” [Speaker Ryan press conference, 2/11/16]

Then the all-powerful House Freedom Caucus said no:

“Conservatives Bash GOP Budget, Put Document In Doubt.” [Huffington Post,2/2/16]

Freedom Caucus Member Tim Huelskamp: Budget Is “In Trouble.” “‘Can I support the Boehner budget?’ HFC member Tim Huelskamp asked Monday. ‘Absolutely not! We just kicked him out as speaker.’ Huelskamp repeated a common line Monday night — that the budget is ‘in trouble’ — and he said GOP leadership already didn’t have many votes to spare.” [Huffington Post, 2/2/16]

Freedom Caucus Member John Fleming: “There May Not Be A Budget.” “Other members of the Freedom Caucus struck a harder line. . . . ‘Unfortunately,’ predicted John Fleming of Louisiana, ‘There may not be a budget.’” [Bloomberg, 2/3/16]

So Speaker Ryan folded…

“‘It would be a shame, but the sky won’t fall if we don’t do a budget,” Ryan, a former Budget Committee chairman, said during the closed-door meeting.” [The Hill, 2/12/16]

“But lawmakers need to act, Ryan said. He asked whether Republicans were willing to give up on the appropriations process and a potential chance at entitlement reform over a relatively small funding increase.The speaker told lawmakers that not passing a budget and scrapping the appropriations process would likely lead to a catch-all omnibus spending bill in the fall – a highly unpopular scenario for House Republicans.” [Politico, 2/12/16]

And the final nails in the coffin . . .

“Prospects fade for GOP budget.” [The Hill, 2/18/16]

Ryan’s Curbed Expectations For Passing A Budget – Despite Extolling The Virtues Of Budgeting During His Years As Budget Committee Chairman.” [FOX News, 2/25/16]

“House Conservatives Say No To Republican Budget.” [Huffington Post, 3/14/16]

Adding insult to injury…

“‘This is the first thing Paul probably can’t blame on the previous coach,’ said one leadership­-aligned House Republican, speaking anonymously to candidly discuss the dynamic in the party.” [National Journal, 2/8/16]

On House GOP Budget Fight: “Mr. Ryan . . . Looked Away, Like A Mildly Embarrassed Father Stationed Near The Sandbox Where His Kids Are Throwing Sand.” [New York Times, 2/10/16]

“Another conservative, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said earlier this year that passing the budget was the GOP’s ‘one job this year.’ ‘If we are here next year having just passed an omnibus, that is an F-minus [for Ryan]. If we pass 12 appropriations bills and stand our ground and force the Senate to face these issues, that’s an A,’ Massie told The Daily Signal shortly after the GOP retreat.” [The Hill, 2/18/16]

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