Other Democrats tried to wrestle the debate back to the issue of jobs. "This bill will do nothing to spur economic growth, it will do nothing to bring us closer to a balanced budget, although it could greatly confuse and complicate the budget process," argued Rep. David Price (D-NC).
"We think, for honesty and for transparency, if we spend X dollars this year, that is the base on which we ought to consider next year's budget," Ryan said. "So what we're simply saying is, let's err on the side of the taxpayer.
"Let's not err on the side of assuming every government agency automatically needs a spending increase one year to the next. If we think they need more money, then we should measure it on an honest basis and then legislate more money for those agencies."
Ryan credited Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) with pushing to get the bill on the House floor. Gohmert said he could not believe Congress has yet to fix this decades-old problem.
"This is a great day for America, when Congress, after all of these years… is dealing with a financial issue that should have been dealt with long ago," he said.
The House debated the bill Thursday evening, but members are expected to hold a roll call vote on the bill Friday.