The Corner

Politics & Policy

What Will We See in Speaker Ryan’s House?

Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan is the new speaker of the House. With him, we are told that we are entering a new era in the House of Representatives. Really? Let’s see.

‐The sequester caps are gone as part of a Boehner-Obama budget deal that Ryan endorsed with his vote. Bye-bye free-market victory Number One.

‐Ryan paved the way for reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank by allowing the House to take up the Senate’s transportation bill, which came with an Ex-Im reauthorization amendment, rather than move the standalone House bill. As if that isn’t bad enough, Ex-Im will be revived for four years without any real reforms. Bye-bye free-market victory Number Two.

‐The transportation bill is on track to be awful — with more spending, more corporate welfare, more fake promises of future fiscal responsibility, and more gimmicks.

‐Ryan is pushing the idea that a more open legislative “process” makes adoption of terrible policies A-okay.

And this terrible outcome may be only a taste of what is to come. For instance, as Phil Kerpen notes, last night “181 Democrats and 63 (!) Republicans voted not to ban Ex-Im subsidies to Iran and other state sponsors of terror.” They also voted down reforms making the bank more accountable, demanding that borrowers prove their inability to get capital, requiring an increase to the amount of lending available to small businesses, and limiting taxpayers’ exposure. That’s because as we have known all along, lawmakers’ support for Ex-Im is about serving big, politically connected companies.

On the plus side, the new speaker has said that he will not cave to the demands by the White House that the government-funding bills be free of conservative riders meant to control spending and debt. Of course, we will have to wait and see about that since we know we count on Obama to say the word “shutdown” constantly — and will expect for the Republicans to cave.

When the Republicans were in the minority we got Obamacare, a giant stimulus bill, and Dodd-Frank. Since the Democrats have been in the minority, we have gotten still more government spending, a renewal of Ex-Im and many other crony programs, a giant budget deal, the end of sequester, and more. I get that the Democrats had Obama in the White House. But look what conservatives got when they had Bush in the White House: Medicare Part D, more spending, Keynesian stimulus spending, bailouts, and no challenge to cronyism. Republicans shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that people aren’t noticing the trend — and that this won’t have consequences at the polls.

To conclude, I will once again quote the former president of Club for Growth, Chris Chocola: “What good is a majority if you aren’t going to use it? What good is being part of a team, if the team is the problem?” Indeed.


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