Paul Ryan

Ryan Insists GOP Agenda Is On Track

Playbook: “Speaker Paul Ryan spent the weekend at the Homestead in Virginia for his annual ‘Team Ryan’ summer outing. His message to K Streeters and donors: the Republican agenda is on track. The Wisconsin Republican laid out his preferred timeline for Obamacare repeal bill, saying that it will be done by mid-summer and tax reform will be completed by the end of the year. Ryan said that he expected the Senate to pass their health care bill before the July 4 recess and that would give House Republicans the rest of July to take action.”

“Ryan said he has been talking to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell daily. Ryan also was bullish on infrastructure, telling the group that a series of infrastructure bills will be passed by the end of the year.”

Ryan’s Clout In Doubt After Health Care Failure

Bloomberg: “The abrupt death of the repeal effort, its short-lived rebirth and then a pause for a two-week recess has left Republicans adrift — unclear where their long-promised repeal effort stands, whether Ryan will reassert himself in the House and what President Donald Trump will demand of them next.”

“The challenge for Ryan as part of a unified Republican government is how to handle an administration that has a bold but vague agenda and narrow legislative experience. Unrealistic White House demands risk derailing the year’s legislative agenda and undermining Ryan’s leadership in the House.”

“But it’s hard to say no to the president of your own party. And if Ryan pushes back too much, he risks getting cut out of the process.”

White House Puts Blame on Ryan

Politico: “A Wednesday evening meeting between top aides to President Trump and House Republican leaders turned heated when the White House officials exhorted Speaker Paul Ryan to show immediate progress on the GOP’s stalled plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

“The meeting was tense. At one point, according to three sources briefed on the meeting, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus suggested it could be detrimental to Ryan’s speakership if Republicans fail to pass a bill. Others disputed that characterization, saying the comments were not aimed specifically at Ryan but more broadly, as in: All Republican lawmakers’ jobs are in jeopardy if they don’t deliver.”

Said one person familiar with the meeting: “It was really bad. They were in total meltdown, total chaos mode.”

Jonathan Chait: Republicans are tearing each other to pieces over Trumpcare debacle.

For members: Why the White House Is a Dumpster Fire

Ryan Is the Money Man

Speaker Paul Ryan “is distributing $1.2 million from his personal political accounts to roughly half the House Republican Conference today,” according to Playbook.

“Ryan has already transferred millions of dollars to the party’s re-election arm, but now the speaker is cutting checks directly to lawmakers’ campaign committees — a move that underscores his newfound brand as a top Republican money man. The donations are going to virtually every House Republican being targeted by Democrats, and conservatives and moderates alike. Members of the House found out about the Ryan largesse when Kevin Seifert, Ryan’s political director, emailed chiefs of staff, telling them a check was waiting at the RNC for pickup this morning.”

“This is important: Members of leadership usually either cut checks to the party committee, or directly to members. Ryan is doing both as he tries to keep the House in GOP hands in 2018.”

Ryan Wants to Avoid Fight Over Planned Parenthood

Speaker Paul Ryan said there was “a better way to eliminate federal spending on Planned Parenthood than attaching it to a must-pass measure next month to keep the government open,” Morning Consult reports.

“Rather than include a ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ provision on the upcoming bill to fund the federal government, the Wisconsin Republican said Republicans still plan to use their budget reconciliation framework to overhaul health care to stop federal money from flowing to the women’s health service provider.”

Said Ryan: “We think reconciliation is the tool because that gets it in law. That’s the way to go.”

Voters Never Gave Ryan a Mandate for His Bill

Nate Silver: “Republicans have been running on repealing and replacing Obamacare for seven years, and they’ve won a lot of elections in that period. You can argue that they have a mandate on the issue, even if they don’t have one overall. But Ryan and Trump pretty much ignored where public opinion stands on health care. Medicaid, which the AHCA would have rolled back, is extremely popular, for instance. About two-thirds of voters support government funding for Planned Parenthood; the AHCA would have cut it. But the bill didn’t do much to address the problems voters were actually concerned about, such as rising premiums.”

“Furthermore, Ryan and Trump advanced this bill despite receiving a warning shot from the public: Obamacare had almost immediately become more popular after Trump won the election. I don’t recall a lot of other times when public opinion shifted so quickly on a bill in response to an election result. It was as though voters were throwing up a big yield sign to congressional Republicans — we didn’t expect Trump to win the election; instead, we elected you to serve as a check on Hillary Clinton, so proceed with caution. Ryan barreled right on through it.”

Ryan Emerges Badly Damaged

New York Times: “Less than 18 months after being elected speaker, Mr. Ryan has emerged from the defeat of the health care bill badly damaged, retaining a grip on the job but left to confront the realities of his failure — imperiling the odd-couple partnership that was supposed to sustain a new era of conservative government under unified Republican rule.”

“So far, to the surprise of some close to Mr. Trump, the president has remained upbeat on Mr. Ryan, a frequent punching bag during the 2016 campaign and an ideological mismatch whose instincts informed the molding and selling of the health bill far more than the president’s own.”

“But after a humiliating defeat, which many Trump advisers are eager to pin on the speaker, Mr. Ryan is now tasked with defending not just his leadership abilities but his very brand of conservatism in a party fitfully searching for a coherent policy identity that can deliver tangible victories.”

Ryan Is Still Safe In His Job

Politico: “No one is prepared to challenge Ryan for his job, said GOP lawmakers from across the Republican Conference. While some right-wing media and outside groups are agitating to replace the speaker, and his antagonists on the White House staff needle him anonymously in the press, there is no way he will be ousted. President Donald Trump hasn’t turned on him, either – at least not yet. And Ryan remains popular with his rank-and-file members, who genuinely like him. Critically, Ryan is not a liability for them back home, the ultimate litmus test for any congressional leader.”

White House Preparing to Blame Ryan If Health Bill Fails

“Behind the scenes, the president’s aides are planning to blame Ryan if there is an embarrassing defeat on a bill that has been a Republican goal for more than seven years,” a senior administration official tells Bloomberg.

“Trump said Friday at the White House that Ryan shouldn’t lose his job if the bill goes down. But asked whether Trump, Ryan, or the Freedom Caucus chairman, North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows, would be most to blame if the bill fails, the administration official said Ryan. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations.”

Is Steve Bannon Sabotaging the Health Bill?

Gabriel Sherman: “The failure to repeal and replace Obamacare would be a stinging defeat for Trump. But it would be an even bigger defeat for Paul Ryan, who has all but staked his Speakership on passing this bill. And in the hall of mirrors that is Washington, the big winner to emerge out of the health-care debacle could be Steve Bannon. That’s because Bannon has been waging war against Ryan for years. For Bannon, Ryan is the embodiment of the ‘globalist-corporatist’ Republican elite. A failed bill would be Bannon’s best chance yet to topple Ryan and advance his nationalist-populist economic agenda.”

“Publicly, Bannon has been working to help the bill pass. But privately he’s talked it down in recent days. According to a source close to the White House, Bannon said that he’s unhappy with the Ryan bill because it ‘doesn’t drive down costs’ and was ‘written by the insurance industry.’ While the bill strips away many of Obamacare’s provisions, it does not go as far as Bannon would wish to ‘deconstruct the administrative state’ in the realm of health care. Furthermore, Bannon has been distancing himself from the bill to insulate himself from political fallout of it failing. He’s told people that Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn — a West Wing rival — has run point on it.”