Paul Ryan is going to be slinking into the Capitol Thursday to cast a vote he'd just as soon avoid, only to head right back out. The House is going to approve a temporary funding bill today, a six-month funding measure to keep the government running, pitting Ryan's principles of shrinking government against the political reality that he wants to be elected.
As he accepted the vice presidential nomination on Aug. 29 in Tampa, Florida, Ryan pledged to “not duck the tough issues” on fiscal matters. Still, to avoid any perception that Republicans may again flirt with a government shutdown, Ryan and other anti-spending party members have abandoned for now their demands for $19 billion in spending cuts.
“It does kind of deconstruct the narrative that House Republicans are just a bunch of crazies who are heck-bent on shutting down government,” South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy, a Tea-Party-backed Republican freshman, said of Ryan and other Republicans’ support for the funding legislation.
What this is about is not taking the country to the brink of yet another fiscal crisis—a government shutdown—just before the election. But Ryan, and all the other teabaggers, risk the ire of their base, and groups like Club for Growth and FreedomWorks. Club for Growth has urged lawmakers to vote against the measure, and will count this vote on its annual legislative scorecard.
The need to convince the non-crazy voters outside of the teabagger base that they really aren't so extreme, never mind all those previous hostage-takings, trumps their principle. Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia, president of the Republican freshman class admits as much, saying that it's just no "good to have another threat of a shutdown."