Politics

Ryan backs debt ceiling hike

Ryan backs debt ceiling hike

WILLIAMSBURG, Va.—After weeks of having many of his fellow House Republicans wonder why he has kept such a low profile since the loss of the November presidential election, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has re-emerged as a key Republican spokesman.

That was the consensus of both lawmakers and media at the House Republican Retreat Thursday. According to several GOP Members who were attending closed door sessions at the Kingsmill Resort, the House Budget Committee chairman and 2012 vice presidential nominee was a leader in discussions on how to deal with the debt ceiling and sequestration.

“We talked about the deadlines that are coming and the best way to achieve progress on the deficit and the debt,” Ryan told reporters, after emerging from the meeting. Without going into specifics on strategy that was discussed, the Wisconsin congressman said: “We recognize the realities of divided government. We are trying to achieve consensus on a plan [to deal with] spending and what it will take to vote to raise the debt ceiling.”

Ryan added that he and other more senior Republicans have spent time explaining the deadlines for the debt ceiling and sequestration to “the new members, most of whom have never experienced anything like this.”

“We are discussing things such as a short term debt ceiling extension and what it will take to get the White House involved in a two-way discussion [on concessions for votes to raise the debt ceiling],” he said.

Human Events cited our interview with freshman Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) this week and his view that not raising the debt ceiling would not mean a shutdown of government functions but only that the federal government could not borrow anymore.

“I would have to see that interview before I commented,” Ryan told us. “Not raising the debt ceiling will present some cashflow problems—we have obligations one day, a cash-flow problem the next. So we need to prioritize.” But he underscored that, “clearly, the authority is the president’s on prioritizing.”

Ryan also made it clear that a long-term solution rather than “kicking the can” on spending and the debt must emerge in this session of Congress. As he put it, “we cannot allow our country to borrow as we are and we cannot continue the status quo. We have to make progress.”

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