by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Susan Ferrechio explains for Washington Examiner readers why taxpayers should expect no conclusion any time soon for spending fights on Capitol Hill.
Spending legislation and a major transportation funding blueprint will soon test the relationship between new House Speaker Paul Ryan and his senate counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Ryan, R-Wis., who was elected speaker last week, met with Senate Republicans in a private lunch on Tuesday as lawmakers gear up for major legislative tasks that have the potential to become big battles.
McConnell, R-Ky., called the visit, “a good, constructive discussion about our shared priorities for the country here as we move toward the end of the session.” McConnell has praised Ryan’s “extraordinary intellect,” but has little experience working with the lawmaker, who is 28 years his junior.
The first test for Ryan and McConnell will be a massive road projects bill that could split the GOP later this month, both on funding and a provision to revive the Export-Import Bank.
The House is considering the measure this week, and Ryan, who was elected speaker just a few days ago, has pledged an open process that will allow “lots of amendments considered by all members from both parties.”
And by December, just a few weeks away, lawmakers will have to write an omnibus spending bill that adheres to a sweeping budget deal President Obama signed Monday. A temporary bill funding the government expires Dec. 11.
The omnibus measure, Ryan said on Tuesday, will likely include policy riders. Ryan wouldn’t say which ones, but Democrats have warned they will block spending legislation that includes “poison pill” language they oppose, such as a provision that would take away federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a healthcare organization that provides abortions. Democrats would also oppose provisions that roll back any of Obama’s executive directives on immigration or the Affordable Care Act.