Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had a very good week. With Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary election loss, he becomes all the more crucial to the policy direction of the House. He wisely took himself out of the running as majority leader, which these days makes you a target for tea party types and demands time away from your district. The House passed a Defense appropriations bill that reflected higher spending on national security, which Ryan had championed in his budget plan.
But the highlight of Ryan’s week was certainly his confrontation with Internal Revenue Commissioner John Koskinen:
That should put to rest concerns about whether Ryan is “too nice” to throw a punch when needed.
Ryan remains the exception to most rules in the GOP these days. He can appeal to centrists and tea partiers and maintain his pro-immigration reform stance. He is a policy wonk, with, thanks to his vice-presidential campaign, access to a lot of big donors. He has remained undecided on a presidential run, but with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker still fighting off legal assaults, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie not yet past his bridge scandal and Jeb Bush undecided, Ryan is a potential first-tier candidate with the luxury of waiting to decide if he wants to run or “simply” take over one of the most powerful positions on the Hill. For all that we can say, well done, Chairman Ryan.