In an interview with MSNBC’s Meet The Press, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan described the $1.15 trillion omnibus spending bill as containing “good wins for conservatives”. Echoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s excuse for compliance with President Barack Obama’s agenda, Ryan demanded a Republican president in 2017 in order to advance conservatism.
Chuck Todd asked why many conservative objectives were omitted from the bill. Todd noted that the bill did nothing towards termination of federal funding to Planned Parenthood, “sanctuary cities,” or Obama’s “immigration programs” and “climate agenda.” Ryan claimed that those priorities would be advanced “in other areas,” saying Democrats in the Senate would filibuster efforts towards securing those, rendering such efforts useless via conventional legislation.
“This is divided government. And in divided government, you don’t get everything you want. So we fought for as much as we could get. We advanced our priorities and principles,” said Ryan.
To Todd’s credit, he pushed back, aptly claiming that Republicans would be better positioned in daring Obama’s presidential veto in the context of a massive appropriations bill rather than through piecemeal legislation specifically targeting to aforementioned priorities. Without explicitly saying so, Todd was echoing calls from conservatives for GOP leadership to do exactly this; confident that if Obama were to exercise his veto, the resulting “government shutdown” would be largely blamed on him.
“This is something that you would’ve had a better chance getting, forcing the President to have to sign it,” said Todd. Ryan dodged the comment, describing the removal of the ban on oil exports as an “enormous win” for conservatives.
Asking for response to prominent conservative media figures who had criticised him - Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, and Rush Limbaugh - Todd drew a contrast with the praise directed towards Ryan by Senator Harry Reid.
We made good on our promises
Paul Ryan on the $1.15 trillion appropriations bill
“None of this stuff gets to me. Look, I think the results are what matters. We made good on our promises,” Ryan said, brushing aside conservative criticisms. He added a self-description of himself as a “movement conservative,” looking forward to “going on offense” in 2016.
Given Donald Trump’s recent surge in support among Republicans nationwide, Todd asked Ryan if this evinced a GOP establishment disconnected from its base of support. Following Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigration and visitation, Ryan made a statement describing it as outside of the acceptable parameters of conservatism. Despite Ryan’s chastisement, Trump’s national support grew.
“Are you out of step with your party? Is Donald Trump more in step with the party right now than you are?” asked Todd.