Paul Ryan’s End Game

by Jonathan Strong

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan pitched members at the Republican Study Committee meeting this afternoon on a process for how the impasse with President Obama over the debt ceiling could end.

Ryan told members that if Obama comes to the table and the two sides can reach an agreement in principle, the House could pass a six-week continuing resolution and debt-ceiling extension to provide time for the legislation implementing the agreement to be written.

The agreement would be along the lines of what Ryan proposed in his op-ed in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, a framework that had earlier been discussed privately by GOP leadership.

But if the legislation implementing the principles of the agreement doesn’t get enacted into law, Representative John Fleming of Louisiana noted, “we’d have given ourselves a six-week break, and then at the end of the six weeks we’re right back where we are [now].”

Ryan’s path assumes the president will come to the table and negotiate, something he has adamantly vowed not to do. But it does provide a theoretical framework for how the two parties could reach a deal before the “default” deadline of October 17.

Members discussed what exactly will happen if the government passes that date without raising the debt ceiling at a private lunch for members of the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, indicating that they consider it a real possibility.

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