The Hill's Erik Wasson Asks If RYAN Will Do a Budget Deal
After President Barack Obama vowed not to negotiate over the continuing resolution or the debt ceiling, after the Democratic Senate failed to pass a successful budget since 2009, The Hill's Erik Wasson wants to know if Paul Ryan, the Republican House Budget Committee chair who stuck his neck out to propose a deal during the fiscal crisis and is leading immigration reform efforts in the House, will dare to "cut a deal" on the budget.
The hypocrisy of Wasson's framing is breathtaking, especially given the extensively documented fact that it was President Obama himself who refused to embrace the proposals of his own "debt commission" in 2010 (i.e. Bowles-Simpson) and scuttled a "grand bargain"on the budget in 2011. Ryan opposed Bowles-Simpson but has repeatedly proposed, and passed, budget plans that allow room for Democrats' policy priorities.
The President, meanwhile, is already running away from a deal. He told the nation last Thursday that his top priority would be to address the nation's long-term budget, but his activist organization blasted emails this Wednesday claiming that immigration reform, not budget reform, was "at the top of the agenda." Obama had made similar promises on immigration earlier last week in an interview with Univision's Los Angeles affiliate.
During the contentious fiscal impasse, Ryan took a great deal of abuse from conservatives--including from this website--for leading Republican efforts to find a solution. But Wasson quotes an unnamed Democratic source claiming: "There is still an open question if he can close a deal." Tell that to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the left-wing Oregonian who proposed bipartisan reforms to Medicare with Ryan less than two years ago.
It is clear what the game is here. Republicans have a bargaining advantage on the budget that they did not have during the shutdown or last year's fiscal cliff, because failure to act means that further sequester cuts will kick in. To remove that advantage, it is necessary to portray Ryan--a consummate dealmaker--as intransigent. The effort is so laughably partisan that Wesson should re-file his Paul Ryan hit at The Hill's opinion blog.