Ryan defends open process in spending fight

Ryan defends open process in spending fight
© Greg Nash

Newly elected Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire Trump faces test of power with early endorsements Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) on Thursday pushed back against GOP members who raised concerns about opening up the amendment process in the upcoming spending fight.


During a closed-door conference meeting in the Capitol’s basement, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and others on his panel warned that there are “big risks” to allowing votes on a plethora of amendments, including controversial policy riders, GOP sources said.

There are concerns the omnibus spending bill might not pass and could result in a government shutdown when funding dries up on Dec. 11.

“Appropriators were mostly concerned about the workload in the face of other negotiations,” a senior GOP lawmaker told The Hill.

Some members from the centrist Tuesday Group also voiced concerns about having to take tough votes on controversial issues.

And freshman Rep. Glenn Grothman, who like Ryan is a Wisconsin Republican, told the conference they should consider an approach to protect fragile congressional districts, several sources said.

Ryan replied that it isn’t his job to protect members from tough votes, adding that's why they were elected to Congress.

“Paul was suggesting we’re gonna have to take tough votes. That’s what you came here to do,” Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah) told The Hill after the meeting.

“Open process means you need to stake out positions and defend those positions and not just duck and cover. That’s what people want. That’s what I want.”

After the meeting, Ryan again defended his approach during his first solo press conference since being elected Speaker last week. He said the House has already passed six appropriations bills this year, noting that bipartisan negotiations are already underway with the Senate on those.

As for the remaining five bills, Ryan said that Rogers, the Appropriations chairman, will lead executive sessions on those pieces of legislation, giving every member a chance to review the text and offer changes.

“Things are going to be done a little differently around here. We are gonna open up this process,” Ryan told reporters Thursday. “Instead of me deciding in the Capitol how it’s going to be, I want to lay out options in front of our conference so that together we can deliberate and decide. ...

“We are going to make this a more open process. And our members are going to have a say-so early in the process on how they move forward.”