Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) carefully defended the narrow, two-year bipartisan budget deal he negotiated with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). The bill, which passed the House Thursday by a 332-94 margin, was blasted by conservative groups like FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth.
Other possible 2016 candidates, like Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), have also distanced themselves from the deal.
House Speaker John Boehner publicly lashed out at those groups Thursday, saying they had “lost all credibility.” Those comments, and the tone they were delivered in, highlighted the fragmented state of the Republican Party, or what many have referred to as a civil war within the GOP.
“I think John just kind of got his Irish up,” Ryan said on NBC when asked about Boehner’s comments. He was frustrated that these groups came out in opposition to our budget agreement before we’d reached a budget agreement.”
Ryan admitted he “was frustrated too,” but struck a much more conciliatory tone than Boehner had regarding those conservative groups. "I think these are very important elements of our conservative family," Ryan said, adding that he wished to "keep those conversations within the family."
Having found room to compromise on the budget, Ryan and Murray suggested that a deal on tax reform could come next.
“Watch the Ways and Means Committee in the first quarter of next year,” he said. “We’re going to be advancing tax reform legislation because we think that’s a key ingredient to getting people back to work, to increasing take-home pay, to … grow this economy.”
Ryan's pragmatism drew praise from a fellow Wisconsinite and another rumored 2016 Republican candidate. Governor Scott Walker, who has already taken steps to distance himself from tea party conservatives, said that Ryan was taking a moderate approach that had worked in the states.
"Paul is one of those rare people in Washington who’s acting more like a governor than just a member of Congress," Walker said on "Meet the Press."
Gingrich vs. Reich: Which Party Causes Poverty?
Elsewhere on Sunday, former House Speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich lashed out at Democrats, accusing them of instituting policies that have caused a spike in poverty.
The charge came during a heated debate with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." Reich said that Republican policies have made life more difficult for the poor in recent years.
"The war on poverty was successful for a time, but what has happened, however, over the last 20 yards was much of the ardor, much of the concern, much of what propelled that war on poverty has dissipated,” Reich said. “I think it has something to do, perhaps, with the intransigence of the speaker’s party. Every time there was a jobs bill, every time there was an effort to expand low income housing, every time there was an effort to provide better opportunities for young people -"
“This is baloney,” Gingrich said, interrupting Reich. “Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats. Their policies have failed, and the fact is it’s the poor who have suffered.”
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