Boy, incoming House Speaker Paul Ryan is mad about the whole budget deal that he wants the world to know he had absolutely nothing to do with. Nope, his fingerprints aren’t on it at all. It was all that horrible John Boehner’s doing, so the Freedom Caucus can’t blame little ol’ him for this deal they all hate so much (but which Ryan will still support).
The problem of this narrative from Ryan is that the fingerprints of his staff are all over the deal.
One of its most important provisions makes changes to the Social Security Disability Insurance program, and some of those changes came from the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees Social Security and which Ryan chairs.
“Paul Ryan’s staff was involved in crafting the provision for weeks,” a Democratic aide told HuffPost. “His staff signed off on the provision, his staff also signed off
other key provisions” related to tax compliance and Medicare.
Ryan’s spokesman Brendan Buck gives the lame excuse that Ryan’s staff had been working on this stuff like forever and it’s not their fault that the negotiators “grabbed off the shelf what we’d been working on for months.” Which Ryan’s staff then signed off on being included in the deal. Maybe there’s a firewall between Ryan’s staff and Ryan when it comes to discussing, um, policy. But that wouldn’t be a very responsible way for the Ways and Means Committee Chairman to operate, would it.
Of course Ryan knew this deal was in the works and of course he gave his blessing for these provisions to be included, however much he and his staff may protest. What’s telling here, and frankly discouraging for anyone who thinks that anything will change in the House with his ascension to the speakership, is that Ryan is conducting this charade for the benefit of the Freedom Caucus, to get their blessing. There will be a new hand on the speaker’s gavel, but it sure looks like the crazies are still going to run the show.