The Republican House conference held its Speaker election this afternoon and resoundingly selected Paul Ryan for the job. According to this report, Ryan received 200 votes to 43 for Daniel Webster. Marsha Blackman and Kevin McCarthy each received one vote.
In other news, the Speaker-to-be has endorsed the awful budget deal that John Boehner secretly negotiated (along with Mitch McConnell) with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The deal passed the House this afternoon by a 266 to 167 vote, with a majority of Republicans voting against it.
Ryan had said that the process by which the deal was reached “stinks.” But my sources say that Ryan staffers participated in the secret negotiations, which seems plausible given the expertise that Ryan’s operation possesses on this subject.
If this report is true, then Ryan has even less credibility than I believe him to possess.
Even if not true, Ryan’s support for this deal is indefensible on the merits. Ryan reportedly claimed he supports the deal because “members” have expressed “a desire to wipe the slate clean, put in place a process that builds trust, and start focusing on big ideas.” But as Andy McCarthy argues, by “wiping the slate clean” what the GOP is actually doing is giving Obama a blank check and forfeiting any leverage their control over spending would have given them in the many battles to come with Obama over the next 15 months.
As for Ryan’s “big ideas,” beware. The only big ideas he likely can translate into policy — assuming that limiting the government and reducing the debt aren’t big enough ideas to satisfy him — are ones to which Democrats subscribe.
Thus, I predict that the budget deal is only the beginning of the Ryan sell-out. Next year, look for Ryan to push for sentencing reform legislation that will free many thousand felons from prison at a time of rising crime and a heroin epidemic. As Neil Munro points out, Ryan is an enthusiastic ally of President Obama, Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin and other leftists who seek to roll back the criminal penalties that have been so instrumental in dramatically reducing crime.
But this “big idea” is just the start. In order to gain support for his bid for Speaker, Ryan reportedly promised not to push for immigration reform while Obama is president. But Obama has only a little more than a year in office. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Speaker-to-be.
Ryan is passionate about amnesty for illegal immigrants. Apparently, it’s an extension of his brand of Catholicism (“you’re a Catholic; I’m a Catholic,” Ryan reportedly told radical Democrat Luis Gutierrez in explaining his desire to grant status to illegal immigrants).
Accordingly, look for Ryan to push for amnesty as soon as Obama leaves office. If Hillary Clinton is president, he will have a strong backer in the White House. If Marco Rubio, sponsor of amnesty legislation in 2013, is president, he probably will have a backer in the White House.
As for the Senate, it passed Rubio’s amnesty bill. Only the House prevented its enactment. With Ryan in charge, don’t expect a repeat performance.
But let’s return to the present. President Obama is a lame duck. His party is a minority in both chambers of Congress. In the House, Republicans hold a huge majority. Obama shouldn’t just be a lame duck he should be a dead duck (figuratively, of course).
This is a slate no Republican, and certainly no conservative, should want to wipe clean.
Yet, Paul Ryan and many of his fellow Republican representatives seem determined to give Obama not a just a “lease on life” but actual victories, something very few of the voters who elected them wanted or imagined would occur.
The sell-out proceeds.