In an effort to mend his fraying party, and perhaps shore up support from deep-pocketed conservatives ahead of a 2016 presidential run, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan on Sunday defended tea party-aligned groups cast aside this week by House Speaker John Boehner.
“I think these groups are valuable,” said Ryan on Fox News Sunday. “They’re part of our conservative family. I’d prefer to keep these conversations within our family.”
Ryan’s remarks were a major step back from those of Speaker Boehner, who on Thursday railed against conservative groups for dismissing the Ryan-Murray budget agreement before it even came out. Boehner said those groups had “lost all credibility” and that he no longer cared what they did.
“This budget bill gets us more deficit reduction than what we have under the Budget Control Act [passed in 2011],” Boehner said in a press briefing. “I came here to cut the size of government, and that’s exactly what this bill does. Why conservatives wouldn’t vote for this, or criticize the bill is beyond any recognition I could come up with.”
Ryan said he was “frustrated as well,” but that he still viewed the Tea Party as “indispensable.” He later voiced essentially the same message on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“I think John just got his Irish up there,” said Ryan. “I think these groups are valuable.”
The House on Thursday swiftly passed a budget agreement crafted by Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray that would fund the government through 2015 at levels slightly higher than those set by automatic “sequestration” cuts. Neither side of the aisle seemed especially thrilled by concessions each had to make, but most House lawmakers agreed it was time to move forward.
“You don’t get everything you want in divided government,” said Ryan on Meet the Press.
The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to vote on the budget bill Tuesday.