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Where Does Speaker Paul Ryan Head After Health Care Debacle?

July 19, 2017

With smiles and a bouncy step House Speaker Paul Ryan has big dreams of policy being shaped and moved through congress–a congress that is controlled completely by his party. But over the past weeks the narrative about the agenda that he now is pressing down on, following the most embarrassing flop of health care reform, shows a number of problems.

There is no certainty at all–and that is not a partisan note here but a fact–that the 2018 budget could face the wrath of the conservatives in his House caucus.   Tax reform is a major component of the mix and one does not get to the large and eagerly awaited tax reform package without a successful budget process.

Had anyone been listening to folks, such as myself, they would have heard that an infrastructure bill was the first item this congress should have tackled.  The reasons were most obvious.

If the election was about economic angst and uncertainty concerning jobs and wages being central to the mood of the nation, the response should have been a huge national infrastructure spending bill that makes bridges safer, schools bigger, ports more sound, and rail tracks built for speed.  In addition there were many Democrats more than willing to strongly support such a proposal and work for its quick passage.

But no one is focused on infrastructure spending.  That is politically shocking to write after the tumultuous mood of the electorate in 2016.  And what Ryan is trying to sail through the house, that being FAA reform, is simply if ones reads the newspapers, going to die in the Senate.

The need for Republicans to deliver any major legislative victories given their control of government is obvious.  While it is most clear Trump was not at all interested in the health care debate there is every reason to think his mood will change and his energy will be more engaged with tax reform–an item that impacts him personally.

With that Paul Ryan may have a true policy ally in the White House for the first time this year.

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