The Corner

Paul Ryan: CR Fight Will Inevitably ‘Roll Into’ Debt Ceiling Fight

House Republicans are drawing a line in the sand over the government funding bill, but House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan believes the shutdown showdown will eventually merge into the debt ceiling fight.

“I think it will fold into the debt ceiling fight. I think that’s inevitable. And preferable in my opinion. I like combining all of our leverage, which is sequester and the debt limit,” Ryan tells National Review Online.

Though Ryan and other senior conservative lawmakers pushed the GOP conference toward the debt ceiling, in the end, rank-and-file members clamored to move it forward to the continuing resolution (CR) bill.

“I think that, we’re prior to October 1, when Obamacare starts, and there’s just a great desire to do everything we can before that moment. And that’s understandable. I respect that. I think the Senate’s gonna have a tough vote,” Ryan says.

“What we wanted to do is make really clear who stands for what. And doing what we’re doing today makes the Senate face up to that. We’ll see what happens. I’ve always believed you don’t try to predict with certainty where these things go. Everybody who says such things really doesn’t know. They’re just spinning. I want to see where Mary Landrieu votes on this or Mark Pryor or Begich or Kay Hagan and other people. I want to see if they really think – based upon the mail that they’re getting from their constituents, which is no different than ours – that they think Obamacare is ready for prime time and they’re ready to vote to make this thing go live in a couple of days and face the consequences with their constituents for having made that decision,” Ryan says.

I asked Ryan if he believes President Obama’s steadfast vows that he won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling. His reaction? You’ve got to be kidding me.

“Oh, nobody believes that. Nobody believes that. He himself negotiated Bowles-Simpson on the debt limit with Democrats. That was Kent Conrad’s requirement. He himself negotiated the Budget Control Act with the debt limit. Graham Rudman. Bush Andrews Airforce Base. Clinton Gore ’97. All of those major budget agreements were debt-limit agreements. I see this time as no different and I believe he does too. I think most people believe he’s just posturing for now,” he says.  

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