Congressional Black Caucus: Paul Ryan More Compromising Than Boehner

Speaker Paul Ryan (Alex Wong / Getty)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

If the Republican grassroots base wanted a new House Speaker to stand up to the Democrats, as opposed to caving in to them, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) thinks they’re in for a surprise.

The group is praising newly elected Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as even more compromising than his predecessor John Boehner.

Many thought Boehner had to go for his refusal to stand up and fight for the party’s principles. Via The Hill:

Although Ryan angered Democrats for years with budget proposals that would slash government programs, the CBC leaders also see him as an open-minded and pragmatic legislator who will work across the aisle in ways that his predecessor, former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), did not.

It would appear the CBC has at least some reason for optimism.

CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) grabbed Ryan Thursday on the House floor as the soon-to-be Speaker was working his way through a sea of hugs to accept the gavel. His message was simple: We want to work with you.

“He calls me G.K. and I call him P.D., and I told him that the Congressional Black Caucus looks forward to working with him. And he acknowledged it — said he looked forward to working [together],” Butterfield said afterwards. “And I believe him.”

Also, according to Roll Call, Ryan may also find himself in sync on a key issue with another prominent Democrat his base loves to hate – Barack Obama.

Obama, Ryan Speak Same Language on Criminal Justice Overhaul

Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s record suggests issues like helping former inmates find work on the outside might just be an early area of collaboration with President Barack Obama, who traveled to New Jersey Monday to unveil a list of executive actions aimed at doing just that.

Obama wants Congress to “build on” criminal justice changes he announced Monday by sending him legislation that would rid the federal hiring process of questions about prior criminal history, an issue that earned him applause during his address at Rutgers University in Newark.

Still other reports have Democrats claiming Ryan sounds more like one of them than a Republican. Whether the nod from Democrats is meant to try and pressure Ryan early to be more compromising than Boehner, or is indicative of a Democrat Party convinced Washington is going to be business as usual, regardless of the Speaker change, remains to be seen. But the Democrat high praise for Ryan certainly won’t do much to assure a GOP base already tremendously leery of Washington.

With many Conservative Republicans still skeptical of Ryan and an outgoing Speaker many felt was too accommodating to Democrats, including the White House, the Democrat embrace of Ryan as Speaker will likely do little to calm conservative’s concerns. He promised before Thursday’s vote to make those changes by January. But the price for them will be solidarity on issues that Ryan considers vital.

“I start a new day today in a new position, but I’m the same person and I think you will see the kind of service I provide the country and Wisconsin continuing like it has in the past”, Ryan, 45, said in a conference call with Wisconsin reporters. The coalition, however, is not disappointed with Ryan not allowing immigration reform for a vote while President Barack Obama is still in office.


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