Beltway-insider publications Politico and The Hill are hiding House Speaker Paul Ryan’s 2016’s disastrous report card, even days after the Dec. 18 passage of his $1.1-plus trillion 2016 spending-and-tax plan.
Ryan and his top aides “really gave away the store,” Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi declared Dec. 18. Her report-card phrase — “they really gave away the store” — doesn’t appear in Politico or TheHill, even by Dec. 22.
Instead, Politico suggested that Ryan came out roughly even. “The four leaders — Ryan, Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — were all able to tout wins. There were complaints from the right about high levels of spending and gripes from the left about aiding Big Oil, but each side got enough in return to pass the deal in overwhelming fashion.”
The Hill didn’t mention Pelosi’s quote, and instead declared Ryan won. “A majority of House Republicans handed a big win to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Friday — for helping to pass the omnibus spending bill, 316-113 — but lawmakers expect the Speaker to return to ‘regular order’ come 2016,” it claimed.
On Dec. 18, Breitbart News printed Pelosi’s report on Ryan’s deal, and a list of similar negative ratings from other Democratic leaders, including the Democrats’ Senate leaders, Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Pelosi’s chief deputy, Rep. Steny Hoyer.
“All three goals we had, we accomplished,” said Reid. “Democrats had an amazingly good year,” said Schumer. “This was an extraordinarily big victory,” said Hoyer. Democrats also boasted about how they stripped 150 or more conservative policy priorities from Ryan’s spending plan.
RollCall.com posted Pelosi’s judgement under the stark headline, “Pelosi’s Victory Lap,” even as it also said Ryan won a “legislative victory.” That Dec. 18 story included Pelosi’s statement that she had to hide the scale of her win from Ryan. Up to Dec. 18, “we’ve had to sort of calibrate how we presented this [omnibus bill] to members because … we were afraid [Republicans] might pull things out if more Republicans knew about what was in the bill,” she said, according to the article.
That condescending remark was not published by The Hill or by Politico.
Ryan’s “legislative victory” — as claimed by Roll Call — meant the Democrats provided the majority of votes for the $1.1 trillion spending side of Ryan’s $1.8 trillion taxation-and-spending plan.
In the House, Ryan’s plan was backed by 166 Democrats, but only 150 Republicans. In the Senate, Ryan’s plan won the support of 38 Democrats, but only 27 Republicans. In the House, 95 Republicans and 18 Democrats voted agains his plan. In the Senate, 26 Republicans and seven Democrats voted against his $1.1 trillion plan.
The Washington Post did print Pelosi’s comment, but buried it in the 29th paragraph of a 34-paragraph Dec. 18 article, under a muted headline, “Congress passes budget deal and heads home for the year.”
“Absent big oil we could not have had many of these other successes,” Pelosi told reporters before the vote. “[Republicans] wanted big oil so much that they gave away the store.”
The Washington Post also cited Harry Reid’s judgement — “All three goals we had, we accomplished,” in the third-to-last paragraph of its article.
The Times posted Pelosi’s statement, on Friday, Dec. 18, but only in the 11th paragraph of a 30-paragraph story. Also, the headline was neutrally dull — “Congress Passes $1.8 Trillion Spending Measure” but the text did add an extra detail that underlined the scale of Ryan’s defeat:
“They wanted big oil so much that they give away the store,” Ms. Pelosi said in an interview, adding: “I feel almost jubilant about what is in this appropriations bill.”
In other articles, TheHill.com did provide some low-key quotes sketching the Democrats’ pleasure with Ryan’s “gave away the store” deal.
On Dec. 18, under the headline, “Dem leaders’ hard sell pays off on omnibus,” that paper showed how Pelosi hid the Democrats’ huge win from Ryan and their own legislators until the final day:
“Even up until early this morning, I was leaning against voting for the omnibus,” Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) said just after the vote.
“But when my colleagues and our leadership team really spelled out for all of us — I think, particularly, for members of the Congressional Black Caucus — the details of what was in the omnibus and the value that is going to come back to each and every one of our communities, it became incredibly clear that the list of wins outweighs the list of negatives.
… “What happened was, over [the last] 24 hours, members reflected on what they did get — the glass was about 80 percent or 90 percent full, not half empty,” Hoyer said after Friday’s vote. “Yesterday it was half empty; today it was 90 percent full, and I think that resulted in the overwhelming vote that we saw.”
The Hill also explained how Ryan lost the battle after he delegated most of the closed-door negotiations to the non-ideological spending-focused leaders on the House appropriations committee.
For weeks, Ryan has been laying the groundwork for a successful vote on the spending bill. He directed Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and the panel’s subcommittee chiefs to hold listening sessions so rank-and-file members could help shape spending bills on the front end.
Despite his expertise as the former chairman of the Budget and Ways and Means committees, Ryan largely deferred to Rogers, giving him space to negotiate with Democrats to whittle down a list of more than 1,000 policy amendments, aides said. The Speaker didn’t step in until about two weeks ago to wrap up loose ends and finalize the deal.
“The GOP establishment in Congress is our abuser,” she added. “We can’t hide the black eyes any more. The whole neighborhood knows. The Democrats are gloating. Obama thanked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) effusively — and why shouldn’t he?