How bad are things for House Speaker Paul Ryan? This Politico (Politico!!!!) headline says it all: "Paul Ryan's House of woes: Almost six months into the job, the new speaker is struggling to advance an agenda." The story's pretty good, too.
Almost six months into the job, Ryan and his top lieutenants face questions about whether the Wisconsin Republican's tenure atop the House is any more effective than that of his predecessor, former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Ryan has flattered the House Freedom Caucus and pursued promises to empower rank-and-file Republicans with reforms to how the House operates — yet it's yielded little in the way of actual results.
Democrats are openly mocking their GOP counterparts, and Republicans grumble—in private so far—that nothing is getting done under Ryan. Like Boehner, Ryan is finding out that becoming speaker is easier than being speaker, at least in the still badly divided House GOP Conference.What those Republicans are grumbling about is Ryan's continued courting of the maniacs in the Freedom Caucus. Says one of them, "I think Boehner would have listened to it for a little bit, given everybody a chance to chew on it and swallow it and spit it out, and then he would have just taken it to the damn floor." Which Boehner did time and time again, sometimes with disastrous results (government shutdown, anyone?). But he took those bills to the damn floor and did what had to happen to keep the trains running—work with Democrats.
This week, as Politico details, is a case in point of how badly Ryan is doing. The budget is dead. Puerto Rico could default on a nearly half-billion-dollar debt payment on May 1 without some help from Congress. The assistance bill hasn't even made it out of committee yet as a vote last week on it was cancelled because leadership can't marshall support. The water crisis in Flint drags on. But what is Paul Ryan's House doing this week? "GOP leaders set up a series of votes to bash the [IRS], including a bill to prevent the IRS from hiring new employees until it could certify no one working there owed back taxes."
Never mind all that stuff that has to happen this year, though!
"Since Speaker Ryan took the gavel six months ago, the House of Representatives has been very productive and members are excited to roll out our 'confident America' policy agenda for 2017," AshLee Strong, Ryan's spokeswoman, said in a statement.Yup 2017, Baby, and the launch of the Paul Ryan 2020 campaign!