Ryan, Hoyer talk deficit reduction

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) used GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s return to Capitol Hill Thursday to renew talks about deficit reduction.

“We talked about, after the election, how I thought it was important that we work together to try to get our country on a fiscally sustainable path,” Hoyer said Thursday, “and it's going to be necessary for all of us to work together toward that end.”

Ryan, Hoyer noted, agrees with that goal, if not the specific policies to attain it.

“He agrees with the premise that we need to get on a fiscally sustainable path,” Hoyer said. “We have differences in opinion, but we don't have differences in opinion on that.”

Ryan, a Wisconsin lawmaker and the House Budget Committee chairman, took a short break from the campaign trail Thursday to cast a vote on a Republican bill blocking President Obama's efforts to grant states waivers from federal welfare rules.

Republicans, including Ryan and presidential contender Mitt Romney, contend the new welfare waivers are designed to scale back the work requirements included in the landmark 16-year-old welfare reform law enacted by President Clinton. Obama and Democrats reject that claim and note GOP governors have asked for the flexibility.

The House bill passed on a largely partisan vote, but it has no chance of moving through the Democratically controlled Senate.

In a fiery floor speech prior to the vote, Hoyer hammered Republicans — including Ryan — for perverting the substance of the waiver program “to score political points” ahead of the elections.

After the vote, however, Hoyer's tone was much more congenial toward the Wisconsin Republican.

“I congratulated him on being selected [vice presidential nominee],” Hoyer said. “It's a great honor for anybody, but certainly for a young man.”

Still, this being Congress, Hoyer's well-wishes came with limits.

“I didn't wish him success, you understand.”