• WisPolitics

Friday, December 18, 2015

 5:22 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Mixed results for Ryan in spending bill win

In this week's Ryan Rundown: Speaker Paul Ryan faces delays but then negotiates a thirteenth hour spending deal, avoiding a repeat of the 2013 government shutdown. While the $1.1 trillion bill provides federal funding though September of next year, House Speaker Ryan said"I don't think this is the way government should work."

The last-minute omnibus spending bill led some to compare Ryan's work to that of predecessor John Boehner, who faced criticism from conservatives for compromising with Democrats. Both parties saw wins and losses in the 2,000-plus page bill, including an end to an oil export ban long desired by Republicans, and a continuation of Planned Parenthood funding sought by Democrats.

The measure passed the House 316-113 Friday, with support from all of Wisconsin's delegates, save Democrat Mark Pocan, who joined 95 Republicans and 18 Democrats in voting against the legislation.

Observers say the success of the spending bill could remove barriers to Ryan's 2016 political agenda, which he said will be"inclusive" and focused on policy rather than the politics debated in the presidential election.

While the speaker said he intends to remain neutral as his party selects a presidential candidate, Ryan faced a wave of speculation over his possible involvement in narrowing down the field of candidates ahead of the spring primaries. He called the notion of his being drafted into the race"ridiculous."

And Ryan set a three-month deadline for legislators to draft a"responsible solution" to financial troubles in Puerto Rico. A U.S. territory, Puerto Rico lacks the bankruptcy powers of states, and officials warned the island is unable to meet obligations to creditors.


- Spending deal clears slate for Paul Ryan and his 2016 agenda

- Deal avoids shutdown, but not everyone is happy

- The Paul Ryan Compromise, The new speaker's first big deal is just like all of the ones that infuriated conservatives under Boehner

- Conservatives give Ryan a pass on budget deal they despise

- Ryan announces shutdown-averting 2016 spending deal

- The Paul Ryan way, Unlike Boehner, the new speaker has managed to keep nerves calm in the face of a shutdown

- Ryan, Pelosi meet for rare dinner [at Ryan's invitation]

- Paul Ryan tells GOP: Budget deal a partial victory

- With Deadline Looming, Paul Ryan Tries To Escape John Boehner's Shadow

- Deal Reached on Tax, Spending Legislation, House Speaker Paul Ryan Says

- 'Masterful News Dump': Paul Ryan Makes Major Announcement During Republican Debate

- Paul Ryan's goal: End 2015 on a high note

- Paul Ryan Says 'Inclusive' House Agenda Must Counter Polarizing Campaign

- Paul Ryan Faces the"Young Guns" Jinx

- Paul Ryan won't go there on Donald Trump

- Ryan Aims for Party Unity in Bid to Avoid 2012 Repeat

- Ryan: 'Ridiculous talk' to speculate being drafted into 2016 election

- Ryan sets deadline for Puerto Rico relief

- Paul Ryan Pledges 9/11 Bill Is All But Done

- Boehner gadfly gets prime post in Ryan's new House

- Paul Ryan Keeping the Beard

- Paul Ryan's Beard Triggers a Style Debate

- House Speaker Paul Ryan's Insane Workout Routine


- Jeff Sessions: Paul Ryan's Omnibus Spending Bill Explains 'Why Voters Are In Open Rebellion'

- Dana Milbank: The GOP candidates give in to doom and gloom while Paul Ryan tries to govern

- Alex Zielinski: Planned Parenthood Survives Paul Ryan's First Budget Deal

- Greg Sargent: Paul Ryan joins Barack Obama in condemning anti-Muslim bigotry

- Paul Mirengoff: Paul Ryan: Self-declared shadow presidential nominee

- David Blaska: Here's your nuance, you 'despicable right-wing crazies': all GOP prez candidates will knock each other out, GOP will turn to Ryan

- NRDF's Henry Henderson: Paul Ryan can lead on a new path

- Bernie Quigley: Paul Ryan for President, The best possible option is bridge candidate, Speaker of the House

- Jon Perr: Paul Ryan, the boy who cried 'tax reform'

- Ed Kilgore: These Are the Tricks That Are Helping Paul Ryan Keep Peace in the House

- Nicole Russell: With A Beard, Paul Ryan Exudes Manliness, Men, take a cue from our speaker of the House and embrace your masculinity

- Greg Sargent: Paul Ryan rightly says Congress should vote on the war


Monday, December 14, 2015

 5:00 PM 

Ryan: 'No reason to believe we'll have a shutdown' over spending bills

This is an excerpt from Nicole Duran's weekly DC Wrap column. Sign up to get the full column in your inbox each week.

House Speaker Paul Ryan today was optimistic a partial government shutdown could be avoided.

"I have no reason to believe that we'll have a shutdown," the Janesville Republican told WisPolitics.com this morning.

It looked more likely the appropriation bills package wouldn't be ready until tomorrow. Ryan, navigating his first spending negotiations as GOP House leader, has promised to make the bill public for three days before asking lawmakers to vote on it.

That would push Congress back into a situation of needing to pass another stopgap spending bill to keep the government open as the newest continuing resolution, approved Friday, expires Wednesday.

Nevertheless, Ryan was confident Congress will meet its overall target of adjourning for the year before Christmas.

"That's my goal," he said.

Ryan said one of the biggest differences about his speakership from that of his predecessor, former Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is his determination to avoid the seemingly annual December showdowns over spending.

"It should never come to this," the former House Budget and House Ways and Means chairman said. "It is not a process that I think is healthy. I am going to endeavor to get the power-of-the-purse process put back on the tracks so it operates the way it's supposed to."

To that end, Ryan promised next year to focus on ensuring the House passes each of the annual appropriations bills separately. Congress traditionally did that to allow full debate on each of the myriad issues that arise when lawmakers hash out how to fund the scores of government departments and independent agencies.

That is part of his commitment to restore "regular order," the process by which legislation is driven by committee chairmen and subcommittee chairmen rather than party leadership.

Ryan said he "bristled when regular order was bypassed" because end-running committee leaders means end-running people who have committed time to becoming experts in individual areas of policymaking.

Experts should be steering the legislative process, he said.

"We need to make sure to decentralize power in Congress, just like we need to in Washington," Ryan said.

Ryan wouldn't tip his hand about what controversial policy riders could survive and which ones could be used to get Dem votes to offset defections from the most conservative House members.

"We'll post the bill when it's ready; it's premature to get into any speculation," he said.

Read Duran's column for more on this and other DC issues


Friday, December 11, 2015

 5:09 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Ryan pushes stop-gap funding bill, faces holiday deadline

In this week's Ryan Rundown: Facing a Dec. 11 funding deadline, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan pushes a stop-gap measure that gives federal legislators more time to come to an agreement on the long-term funding bill.

Disagreements over policy riders dealing with a variety of issues, as well as resistance from some Republicans, complicate the process. With unity lacking among House conservatives over issues such as Planned Parenthood funding, Speaker Ryan may need to secure the votes of Democrats to pass an omnibus funding bill before the holiday break.

The funding deadline comes a week after Ryan delivered a speech outlining his vision for the House's 2016 legislative agenda. He said he aims to put forth legislation that is wholly counter to that offered by Democrats.

Ryan said the Republican strategy will not be dissuaded by a lack of presidential support. He said the plan will showcase the ideal Republican policy in 2017 and beyond.

The speaker denounced GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's calls for a ban on Muslim entry into the United States, saying the proposed move "is not conservatism ... not what this party stands for." Ryan did not say whether he would support Trump if he wins the party's nomination this spring.

And as details related to the Dec. 2 San Bernardino shooting emerged, Ryan redoubled his support of a move to overhaul the nation's mental health system, calling mental illness a common theme among mass shootings. He said President Barack Obama's proposal to create restrictions on gun purchases similar to the no-fly list used by airlines would violate citizens' rights.


- A House Divided, How a radical group of Republicans pushed Congress to the right
- Paul Ryan hands-off as House lurches toward shutdown
- Paul Ryan walks a tightrope as shutdown deadline nears
- Talks stall as shutdown deadline nears, Congress may have to pass a stopgap to avoid a shutdown at the end of the week
- Ryan doubts Congress can finish this week
- Patrick Murphy joins call for Paul Ryan to cut Syrian issue from spending bill
- Anti-abortion group pickets Speaker Paul Ryan's Janesville office
- Ryan, Pelosi in staredown over budget
- Ryan Throws Down Republican Gauntlet in Outlining House Agenda for '16
- Ryan wants 'complete alternative,' not just anti-Obama stance
- Speaker Ryan calls for 'bold, pro-growth agenda'
- Paul Ryan's vision for a 'confident America'
- Paul Ryan Pitches 'Confidence' to a Timid GOP
- Ryan Calls on GOP to Offer Detailed Election-Year Policy Plans
- Ryan vows to restore Americans' 'confidence,' promises conservative agenda
- Nancy Pelosi Drives Hard Bargain With Paul Ryan on Spending, Taxes, The House Democratic leader fights Republican policy riders and pushes for low-income credits in talks with speaker
- Paul Ryan Brings Sharply Different Leadership Style to House
- Republicans say no to new gun control legislation after San Bernardino
- Paul Ryan pushes mental health bill after San Bernardino shooting
- Paul Ryan: The Common Theme In Mass Shootings Is"Mental Health"
- 'Defend and distract': Paul Ryan blasts Obama's speech
- Paul Ryan: Barring gun purchases by those on no-fly lists"a distraction" from terror fight
- Paul Ryan joins chorus opposing Trump's Muslim ban
- Ryan's succinct, near-perfect response to Trump's call to ban Muslims entering U.S.
- Wisconsin Republicans step back from Donald Trump's Muslim comments
- Rep. Paul Ryan: Short-Term Spending Bill Needed to Avoid Shutdown
- A strong statement from the most powerful elected Republican: Ryan
- GOP Leaders Denounce Trump's Plan as Anti-American: Priebus, Ryan, Cheney, Rubio, Christie, Kasich, Coulter, Ingraham, NH GOP Chair Horn, SC GOP Chair Moore comment
- Paul Ryan on Donald Trump: 'This Is Not Conservatism'
- Ryan Condemns Trump Plan to Ban Muslims, The new House speaker says the candidate's proposal is 'not what our country stands for.'
- A Frontrunner Republicans Will Denounce but Not Reject, Speaker Paul Ryan accused Donald Trump of proposing a Muslim ban that would violate the Constitution. But he'll still support him if he's the GOP nominee.
- Priebus, Ryan and McConnell rip Trump anti-Muslim proposal
- Speaker Paul Ryan blasts Trump's Muslim ban: 'This is not conservatism'
- Paul Ryan Condemns Trump's Plan To Ban All Muslims From U.S.
- Paul Ryan jumps into GOP's Trump-shaming game
- Black Caucus Chairman [Butterfield] Seeks Partnership With Paul Ryan
- A Congress That Doesn't Want to Weigh In on War


- PolitiFact: Paul Ryan says U.S. taxes on small businesses is 44.6 percent, versus 15 percent in Canada
- Phil Rosenthal: Paul Ryan has a beard. Will he ever win another election?
- MJS editorial: Where Speaker of the House Paul Ryan falls short
- Robert Reich: Paul Ryan's Seven Terrible Ideas
- Rebecca Vallas and Melissa Boteach: Paul Ryan Just Accidentally Made a Great Case for Raising the Minimum Wage
- E.J. Dionne Jr.: Paul Ryan doesn't 'trump' Trump anger
- Richard Moore: Ryan says GOP must and will offer voters a clear choice, Speaker urges aggressive push against Obama's policies
- Tom Toles: New Speaker Paul Ryan has boldly unveiled a sweeping vision of a whole lot of nothing
- Tim Skubick: Paul Ryan might entice Rep. Kildee to stay out of governor's race
- Jason Easley: Paul Ryan Is Flopping As Speaker As Republicans Fall Apart Ahead Of Shutdown Deadline
- David D. Haynes: A hairy moment for conservatives: Ryan, Johnson eschew shearing
- Katie Pavlich: Paul Ryan Corners Obama on Failing ISIS Strategy
- John Nichols: How Paul Ryan Aids and Abets Donald Trump, So what if Ryan disagrees with Trump on some issues?


Thursday, December 10, 2015

 3:27 PM 

Baldwin, Johnson back bill to replace No Child Left Behind

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, Wednesday backed legislation to replace much of No Child Left Behind.

The bill, which cleared the chamber 85-12, next heads to the president's desk. It was dubbed the "Every Child Succeeds Act" and would pull back the federal government's role in education, allowing, for example, states to set their own guidelines on rating schools and improving them.

Johnson said the bill would "devolve power away from Washington and toward states, communities, and the teachers and parents who are at the front line of education."

Baldwin touted several provisions in the bill that she's pushed. Those include a grant program to help audit and streamline state and local testing systems; directing grant money to support the use of technology to improve student achievement; and letting money for after-school programs support career and technical education and workforce readiness.

"I believe that every child deserves a high-quality, free public education -- a right that is enshrined in Wisconsin's constitution," Baldwin said. "While today's step is long overdue and one to be celebrated, our work to ensure that all kids have an equal opportunity for education does not end here."

See the Baldwin release:

See the Johnson release:

See the roll call:

Friday, December 4, 2015

 8:32 AM 

Ryan lays out House GOP agenda in D.C. speech

House Speaker Paul Ryan laid out a Republican game plan for 2016 and beyond to replace Obamacare, overhaul the tax code and let states assume more control of social programs.

Along the way, the Janesville Republican took several swipes at President Obama.

"I don't think many people are walking away from this presidency thinking, 'That went well," Ryan said during a speech Thursday at the Library of Congress.

In one of his first major addresses since taking over the speakership from John Boehner last month, Ryan said the Republican Party is frustrated it hasn't held a national majority in seven years. And it's even more frustrating, Ryan said, because Obama has not changed the country for the better.

Among the first steps toward correcting that problem, Ryan said, is repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. He did not provide specifics, but he made a promise Republicans will offer a plan that cuts away what he described as the act's mandates, restrictions and red tape.

"Next year," Ryan said, "we will unveil a plan to replace every single word of Obamacare."

Ryan also went after the tax code, saying it's riddled with loopholes and complicated to the point that no one can understand it. The goal, Ryan said, should be creating jobs and raising wages, but a code that sets a rate of "effectively 44.6 percent" on successful small businesses presents a barrier that needs to be removed.

He said he expects people to fiercely defend the loopholes, but declared he's ready for the fight.

"All I can say is we will not be cowed," Ryan said. "We are not here to smooth things over. We are here to shake things up."

The speaker today said Republicans need to fix all of the country's social programs so people who can work do work. He said the feds should rely on states to develop and test the best approaches.

But the longest applause was for Ryan's call that the country develop a "21st century military" because, he said, a strong military protects, rather than threatens, the peace.

Republicans will succeed next year and after that, Ryan said, by showing people they have a choice beyond what Dems are offering.

"Our No. 1 goal," he said, "is to put together a complete alternative to the left's agenda."

Read Ryan's prepared remarks:


Thursday, December 3, 2015

 5:22 PM 

Ryan Rundown: In wake of shooting and ahead of shutdown, Ryan grapples with Planned Parenthood funding

In this week's Ryan Rundown: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan asked for a moment of silence for the victims of Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernadino, California, during the Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony later that day.

The massacre occurred less than a week after a mass shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood. Ryan called for an overhaul of the nation's mental illness health system on Tuesday, calling mental illness a "common denominator" in violent incidents.

The speaker faces pressure from some Democrats, whose calls for an end to the House investigation of Planned Parenthood intensified following the shooting.

Ryan may need the votes of Democrats to pass a spending bill ahead of the Dec. 12 deadline to avoid a default on federal debt. A contingent of Republicans aim to include riders addressing several issues, including Planned Parenthood funding, and the intake of Syrian refugees.

In the wake of last month's terrorist attacks in Paris, Ryan said it is "better to be safe than sorry" with refugees from the conflict-torn region. Predicting additional attacks similar to what occurred in France, the Janesville Republican advocated for a bill increasing scrutiny of refugees from Syria and Iraq, which passed the House 289-137.

And in a ceremonial move, Ryan sent President Barack Obama a formal invitation to the Jan. 12 State of the Union, the president's last.


- Paul Ryan warns of more Paris-style attacks
- House of Representatives votes to toughen refugee screening
- Ryan: 'Better to be safe than sorry' with Syrian refugees
- As a deadline looms, Paul Ryan finds himself in a Boehner-like spot
- Paul Ryan faces his first big test as speaker: Avoid federal government shutdown
- GOP Congress, Speaker Paul Ryan, Push Obama-Approved 2016 Spending Bill
- Speaker Paul Ryan eyes strategy for government shutdown fight
- Paul Ryan's first real test as speaker is (surprise!) a no-win scenario
- Paul Ryan: 'Clearly we can do more' to address mental health issues
- Paul Ryan Pushes Changes in Mental Health Care After Colorado Shooting
- Ryan says Congress must find common ground; fix mental illness health system
- Moment of silence as House Speaker Paul Ryan reflects on mass shooting in San Bernardino [AP]
- Paul Ryan Calls for Moment of Silence at Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting
- Paul Ryan: We need to fix our 'outdated' mental illness laws [Sherfinski]
- Paul Ryan Holds Moment Of Silence For San Bernardino Shooting Victims
- Speaker Ryan calls for 'bold, pro-growth agenda'
- Paul Ryan to Lay Out His Vision of the Republican Party
- Wisconsin lawmakers split -- not on party lines -- on Trans-Pacific Partnership
- Paul Ryan: State of the Union address Jan. 12
- Speaker Paul Ryan invites President Obama to deliver his last State of the Union [Siegel]
- Paul Ryan invites Obama to deliver State of the Union address Jan. 12
- Ryan invites Obama for final State of the Union on Jan. 12 [Marcos]
- House Democrats Hand Paul Ryan His First Defeat By Rejecting Republican Spending Proposal
- Conservatives, long used to bashing the speaker, praise Paul Ryan
- House Republican Conservatives on Paul Ryan: Meh
- Paul Ryan is apparently the first House speaker to sport a beard since 1931
- Did Speaker Paul Ryan jump the gun on beard boast?
- Paul Ryan has a 'hunting beard'
- Paul Ryan's whiskers prompt look at House precedent [Rappeport]
- Paul Ryan claims to be first bearded speaker in a century [Begley]
- Six GOP presidential candidates will attend Ryan, Scott poverty forum
- Ryan-related lawsuit re-filed, but not against speaker
- New book reveals how Mitt Romney made Paul Ryan 'f***ing livid' during 2012 campaign


- Speaker Paul Ryan: On refugees, balance compassion and safety
- Jason Easley: Democrats demand that Paul Ryan shut down Planned Parenthood investigation
- Chris Liebenthal: Paul Ryan's honeymoon as speaker is over
- Arthur Cyr: While Paul Ryan leads House, Indiana leads regional transportation
- Mustache Institute's Abraham Froman: Broader Perspective on Speaker Paul Ryan's Freshly Minted Beard of the House


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

 8:36 AM 

Sensenbrenner calls for reversal of EPA's new renewable fuel standards

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner says the EPA's new renewable fuel standards requirements should be "immediately reversed."

But the Wisconsin BioFuels Association says the agency's announcement yesterday is a "step in the right direction."

The rules dictate the amount of renewable fuels and biofuels that need to be included in the nation's fuel supply. They stem from a 2007 federal law that requires the EPA to set a yearly renewable fuel standard, or RFS.

The EPA had originally sought a lower requirement when it proposed its standards earlier this year, but the finalized rules announced yesterday mark an increase from that proposal.

The EPA had earlier called for setting those requirements at 16.3 billion gallons of renewable fuel this year and 17.4 billion gallons next year. Now, those required volumes will be at 16.93 billion gallons in 2015 and 18.11 billion gallons in 2016.

Those volumes, however, are significantly lower than what Congress had set when it approved the requirements in 2007 -- standards that the EPA has said aren't realistic. Those standards would require 22.25 billion gallons of total renewable fuel in 2016, a number that would increase to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

Erik Huschitt, the WBFA president, said the group is glad the EPA's final rule is "significantly closer to compliance" with the 2007 law. Yet he noted the agency is "still not meeting the statutory amount set by Congress."

"Big Oil's dominance of our nation's retail marketplace would deny consumers market access to cleaner-burning, renewable fuel," he said. "The RFS helps ensure ethanol isn't cut from the marketplace."

But Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, said the EPA's action is a "slap in the face to the millions of Americans who don't want" ethanol in their gas.

"Increasing the ethanol mandate is a dangerous decision that will lead to misfueling, damaged engines, and more emissions and pollution," he said. "It is a giveaway to corn farmers and ethanol refiners that guarantees that Americans will be paying more to drive their cars, mow their lawns, and plow their driveways."

See the EPA announcement:

See the WBFA release:

See Sensenbrenner's release:

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· Tammy Baldwin (D)
· Ron Johnson (R)

· 1st CD: Paul Ryan (R)
· 2nd CD: Mark Pocan (D)
· 3rd CD: Ron Kind (D)
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· 5th CD: F. James Sensenbrenner (R)
· 6th CD: Glenn Grothman (R)
· 7th CD: Sean Duffy (R)
· 8th CD: Reid Ribble (R)



· July 2013: Wood's 2001 DC inauguration trip turned into new career
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· Feb. 2013: Stocks seeks to remake NEA as 'more than a traditional labor union'
· Dec. 2012: As modest Kohl bids farewell to Senate, others do the bragging
· Dec. 2012: Wisconsin experience provides guideposts to Priebus at RNC


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