Earlier today, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders met with Trump to discuss a debt ceiling increase, avoid a government shutdown and pass a relief package for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
To the chagrin of the Republican envoy, in exchange for supporting the $7.85 billion bill for Harvey relief, Democrats attached language to the measure to fund a three-month debt limit increase to fund the government, at the end of which Congress could consider a move on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump ultimately supported the plan. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), who wanted to fund the government for at least 18 months and thus not be forced to consider the DACA provision, called the move “ridiculous and disgraceful.”
“I think that’s a ridiculous idea. I hope they don’t mean that. We’ve got all this devastation in Texas. We’ve got another unprecedented hurricane about to hit Florida and they want to play politics with the debt ceiling? That will strand the aid that we need to bring to the victims of these storms that have occurred or are about to occur and then also want to threaten default on our debt. I think that is ridiculous and disgraceful, that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling at this moment when we have fellow citizens in need to respond to these hurricanes so that we do not strand them.”
Ryan’s comment, of course, is reminiscent of a certain Wisconsin politician who is guilty of doing exactly what he is criticizing democrats for. We can thank former President Barack Obama’s Senior Advisor for Strategy and Communications for the reminder.
In 2010, Ryan led the charge to oppose a debt ceiling increase without concessions.
“This bill raises the debt limit by $1.9 trillion. It’s a fiscal cop-out so that we can talk tough in the election about how we did this and that, while we bequeathed the next generation an inferior standard of living.”
And in 2011, Ryan insisted upon cutting government spending if the debt limit were to be increased.
“The problem is if we just raise the debt limit without doing anything, like the president has asked, that, too, will undermine confidence in the bond markets and could trigger a debt downgrade… [Republicans] are trying to get some spending controls so we can get a down payment on the problem to avoid a debt crisis.”
And, of course, what would be Ryan’s hypocrisy without mentioning the fact that he voted against the emergency relief package to the people of New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, claiming the aid bill was “the latest example of Washington using hardship to achieve political ends.” Ryan and Republicans, of course, are now tying the debt ceiling to the Hurricane Harvey relief package.
I would say Paul Ryan is a hypocrite, but his own comments speak for themselves.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.