Paul Ryan Really Wants Everyone to Know the Budget Deal Is Conservative

Passing the compromise through a skeptical House depends on it.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, departs a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on November 19, 2013 in Washington, DC. Boehner commented on the ongoing problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act during his remarks.
National Journal
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Reena Flores and Marina Koren
Dec. 11, 2013, 7:40 a.m.

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.

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