Now that House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a two-year budget deal, it’s time for them to sell it to their colleagues in both chambers. The compromise is far from a grand bargain, so the lawmakers who penned it must now face Republicans and Democrats skeptical about the bitter pills of the agreement.
Republican Paul Ryan, the chief House negotiator, tried to throw water on the conservative fire early, stressing the fiscal conservatism of the deal during Tuesday night’s press conference and several media appearances after. “I think conservatives should vote for it,” Ryan told a reporter who asked about Republican opposition to the deal. “That’s fiscal responsibility. That’s fiscal conservatism.”
During the announcement, Ryan explained his thoughts on the budget deal “as a conservative” three times. Later that night, he told Fox News‘ Greta Van Susteren, “Whatever we did, I wanted to make sure it was a step in the right direction towards fiscal conservatism,” He later added, “As far as a conservative Republican principle is concerned, we are lowering the deficit without raising taxes by cutting spending in smarter ways.”
Conservatives, Ryan wants to make sure you don’t forget that he, along with his budget deal, is one of you.
But the Wisconsin congressman’s assurances to his party also foreshadowed something other than Republican pushback. In nearly every appearance, Ryan repeated that the budget deal was “a step in the right direction” and specifically, “towards fiscal conservatism.” Perhaps for the former vice presidential candidate, it’s also a step toward the campaign trail for 2016.