Ryan didn't suffer grand delusions of the Republican Party suddenly having a kumbaya moment when he took the job this fall. But he at least hoped he could get his party -- which controls both chambers -- to get it together enough to pass a budget by mid-April.
From there, they could methodically write spending bills for each government agency and pass them this fall to keep the government open -- without Democrats' help this time.
Having the budget would also be a great blueprint for the Republican presidential nominee to campaign on, much like Ryan, the former chair of the House's budget committee, did when he was Mitt Romney's running mate.
Now, the April 15 deadline Congress set into law for itself is in two days, and there's no Republican budget in sight.
It's a major setback for Ryan and his attempts to try to repair the deepening cracks in a divided Republican Party.
Since Ryan got the job in the fall, he's been laying the groundwork for this day to arrive with a budget in hand, a tangible piece of evidence that his party is back on the unified track.
He's been walking a precarious tight-rope with 30 or 40 House conservatives who made life difficult for his predecessor, former speaker John Boehner. He's opened up key leadership posts to tea party members. He's carefully contrasted himself with the toxic Boehner. He has not forced anything down anyone's throats, framing his desire for a budget and other policy initiatives merely as suggestions.
After all that, it looks like Ryan and his leadership circle haven't been able to get House conservatives on board for this most basic of congressional tasks, the power of the purse. It raises the question: If Ryan can't unite the party on this, on what can he?
Conservatives say the spending levels set during December's spending bill battle are too high, and they have essentially derailed the whole process by saying they won't vote for it as is. (Since budgets are inherently political documents -- think of them more as party wish lists -- Ryan can't count on Democrats to help him get this particular piece of legislation over the finish line.)
Ryan's team maintains that all hope is not lost. The budget might be late, but it's not dead. He has long made clear that leadership should come from the rest of the House, specifically the committees, on this.
In other words, Ryan can suggest the best way to go about things, but he's not going to try to force anyone to do anything. That kind of bottom-up leadership is perhaps more messy than Boehner's top-down approach, but Ryan believes it's better for the party in the long run.
The problem for Ryan is that the strategy might not be great for his speakership in the long run. At the very least, it's not yet producing any results we can see.