House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan lashed out at Senate Republicans for interfering with the House GOP’s talks with the White House to reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling, suggesting his colleagues on the other side of the Capitol were betraying Speaker John Boehner.
“They’re trying to cut the House out, and trying to jam us with the Senate. We’re not going to roll over and take that,” Ryan told reporters. When asked if he felt “double crossed,” Ryan said “you look at the facts and draw your own conclusions.”
Senate Republicans, led by Senator Susan Collins of Maine, are negotiating with Democrats on a package to reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling into next year with relatively modest concessions for the GOP.
Ryan said House Republicans only learned the details about the plan this morning, and added that he strenuously objects to it. When asked which parts of the plan he has a problem with, Ryan said there are “too many to go into.”
One of the most significant differences between a House framework sent to the White House late Thursday and Collins’s plan is the length of time it would extend the debt ceiling. Boehner has put forward a six-week extension, while Collins’ plan has been reported to extend almost until February 2014.
At a closed-door meeting with House Republicans minutes earlier, Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor offered a similar message to their colleagues.
“We need Senate Republicans to stand up and stand firm,” Cantor said, according to a person in the room.
Boehner said that in talks between the two sides, Obama had agreed to nothing and the House would be holding its position for now.
House-Senate relations are often tense, but Boehner and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell are often said to have a very close working relationship. In several other showdowns with Obama, McConnell and Senate Republicans have embraced legislation opposed by most House Republicans. But many in the Capitol speculated that McConnell’s actions were done with Boehner’s approval, even if tacit.
In this case, Ryan’s and Cantor’s words suggest the rift is significant.
When I asked Ryan whether he had communicated his views directly to Senate Republicans, he said “yes, I have.”