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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

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