Senate Minority Harry Reid (D-Nev) endorsed Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin his endorsement as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The leader of the Senate's Democrats surprised observers on the Hill. Reid explained in a press conference that he hopes Ryan gets the job because he is a "Paul Ryan fan."
Reid said, "He appears to me to be one of the people over there that would be reasonable. I mean look at some of the other people." Moreover, said the Nevada Democrat, "I don't agree with him on much of what he does. I think what he's done with Medicare and Medicaid, what he's wanted to do I disagree with. But generally speaking we've been able to work with him."
Ryan indeed has a background of political compromise, having worked with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) - a ally of Reid - in 2013 on a budget deal that remains a nearly singular example of bipartisan comity.
Reid would only venture a shrug when asked if he was effectively scuppering Ryan's chances of gaining the top position in the House. "I just speak the truth," Reid said. "If it helps him fine, if it doesn't that's too bad."
As for Ryan (45), he has said that he is not interested in the job. But he is facing calls to be drafted. A night-time meeting on October 20 may prove to be decisive. Ryan will meet with the House Freedom Caucus. The group of about 36 conservatives pushed Speaker John Boehner to announce his resignation while allaying Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's ambitions to become Speaker. .
Ryan says he wants to continue as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. However, he has been subjected to pressure from Republicans who assert he has the elements needed to united restless members of his caucus. Congress is facing a November deadline to raise the federal borrowing limit, or face a default for the first time ever. There is also a deadline to pass spending legislation or risk a government shutdown will follow in early December. Among Republicans who support Ryan for Speaker is Sen. John Thune of South Dakota who said that the Wisconsin congressman has the ability to unite disparate members of the GOP.
Republicans in the House may also discuss a debt limit plan that mean deep spending cuts would accompany any borrowing authority, in addition to prospecting for legislation on a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. This legislation would most certainly face a veto from President Obama and die once it reaches the Senate. However, these could mollify conservatives who are protesting Obama calls for increasing the debt limit with no strings attached.
There are already signs that activists outside of Congress are already sharpening their knives should Ryan become a candidate for the Speakership since he has supported government bailouts in the past, as well as legislation allowing legal status to illegal immigrants. Among his critics is Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots who was quoted as saying that Ryan is a "nice man" but an "example of what’s wrong with Washington, D.C.”
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