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Avoiding a government shutdown: Paul Ryan and the 'strange new normal'

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Offering explanations this weekend that he wants to avoid "shutdown drama," House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan says he worked hard to find common ground and to avoid government shutdowns in the new year.

Appearing on multiple Sunday morning talk shows this weekend to discuss his compromise budget proposal, and to answer conservative criticism of the budget plan, Ryan stated in his NBC “Meet the Press” interview from the online NYDailyNews:

“You don't get everything you want in divided government.”

Ryan announced Dec. 12 that the House of Representatives passed his Bipartisan Budget Act, written with Senate Budget Committee chairman Patty Murray, and expected that the bill will provide "... $63 billion in temporary sequester relief and $85 billion in mandatory savings. It will eliminate waste, cut corporate welfare, and make needed reforms to autopilot spending. On net, the bill will reduce the deficit by $23 billion over the next ten years."

Hoping for 'stability' in the budget process

“This agreement will stop Washington’s lurch from crisis to crisis. It will bring stability to the budget process and show both parties can work together," said Ryan. "I want to thank Senator Murray for her hard work on this agreement. And I’m confident her colleagues in the Senate will pass this bill.”

And in an appearance on Sunday's FoxNews, Ryan told Chris Wallace that he disagrees with fellow congressman Marco Rubio, who is upset that the proposal raises spending by $60 billion:

"Marco is a good friend of mine. I disagree with him respectfully. We are making permanent law changes, permanent spending cuts, and those savings accrue and accumulate and compound over time. So not only are we doing $85 billion of savings from auto-pilot spending that's permanent, we're paying for $63 billion of sequester relief, half of it going to defense. We're maintaining 92 percent of the sequester in this deal. And we're preventing two government shutdowns from possibly occurring next year."

In response to Wallace's statement that the biggest complaint seems to be that the Ryan plan is trading definite spending increases right now "in return for the promise of deficit reduction, as one critic put it, during Hillary Clinton's second term."

Rep. Ryan stated:

"Well, let's hope that that never happens."

Strange new normal

He then went on to explain the situation:

"Ninety-two percent of the sequester over the life of the sequester is intact. The Democrats came to this saying get rid of the entire sequester. And we've now got them to agree to 70 percent of it now and 92 percent of it exists over the term of the deal, 0.1 and 0.2. As I mentioned before, changing entitlements, changing what we call mandatory spending, that's the auto-pilot part of government, those are permanent law changes. We are permanently asking federal workers to contribute more to their pensions so that the hard-working taxpayers who pay for those pensions don't have to pay as much."

Over at CNN's politicalticker is a report that three conservative groups (Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America and Americans for Prosperity) have all been upset with House Speaker John Boehner over last week’s budget.

“When groups come out and criticize an agreement they have never seen, you begin to wonder just how credible those actions are," Boehner was quoted in the CNN story. Regarding that, Ryan is admitting that while there is some infighting, groups like these are important. Said Ryan:

“I think these are very important elements of our conservative family. I would prefer to keep those conversations within the family and I think (Boehner) was basically voicing his frustration with their opposition before we had reached our agreement."

Regarding Ryan's "co-starring role" in cutting a budget deal with liberal Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, as an article from a USAToday put it, Ryan stated:

"It's a strange new normal, isn't it?"

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