Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), widely expected to be elected House speaker this week, said Wednesday he will support a two-year debt and budget deal that is deeply unpopular among many of the the House Republicans he hopes to lead.
In a statement Wednesday morning, Ryan said the deal has “some good, some bad, and some ugly” but will ultimately “go a long way toward relieving the uncertainty hanging over us.”
“It’s time for us to turn the page on the last few years and get to work on a bold agenda that we can take to the American people,” he said.
That position comes a day after he told reporters that the process that led to the deal “stinks” and pledged to handle these kinds of major fiscal negotiations in a different way.
Most conservatives said Tuesday they were sharply opposed to the deal negotiated by outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) but also said that they did not intend to hold it against Ryan. Many, however, said they would like Ryan to oppose the deal as a sign of good faith — even though Ryan had personally negotiated a very similar budget deal back in 2013.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who played a key role in forcing Boehner from office but had warmed in recent days to Ryan, publicly called on the next speaker to oppose the deal: “Now is the time to demonstrate real leadership by committing to ending the culture of governing by crises and to no longer allow the few to make the decisions for the many.”
Ryan’s full statement:
Once again, we are facing a hard deadline and few good options. There is no doubt that a better process would have produced a better result. If I’m elected speaker, we will begin a conversation about how to approach these big issues – as a team – long before we reach these kinds of deadlines. We simply can’t keep doing business this way.
Ultimately, my vote is going to be determined by the substance of the bill – and whether there is, at this point, a better alternative. As with any budget agreement, this one has some good, some bad, and some ugly. It does include meaningful reforms to strengthen our safety net programs, including significant changes to bolster Social Security. It would allow us to return to regular order in our budget process. And it would mean our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to carry out their mission.
What I’ve heard from members over the last two weeks is a desire to wipe the slate clean, put in place a process that builds trust, and start focusing on big ideas. What has been produced will go a long way toward relieving the uncertainty hanging over us, and that’s why I intend to support it. It’s time for us to turn the page on the last few years and get to work on a bold agenda that we can take to the American people.