House Passes Budget Deals, Then Elects Paul Ryan Speaker of the House >>

October 29th, 2015

House Passes Budget Deals, Then Elects Paul Ryan Speaker of the House

In mid-September, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-OH) announced that he would retire from Congress and step down as Speaker. With no clear replacement for Boehner, many speculated that it could risk a government shutdown and fiscal crisis. However, in recent days, House Republicans, including Freedom Caucus Members who forced Speaker Boehner to step down, coalesced behind Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) to serve as Speaker of the House.

Debt Limit and Budget Deals
On Wednesday, October 28th, with Ryan set to take the gavel, Speaker Boehner took the opportunity to clean the slate for new leadership and avoid a pending fiscal cliff by passing a two-year budget deal for FY16 and FY17 and suspending the federal debt limit through March 16, 2017. The Treasury Department warned that the United States would default on its obligations on November 3rd if Congress failed to raise the debt limit. The overall deal passed by a vote of 266 – 167, with 79 Republicans joining 187 Democrats.

The budget deal lifts the sequester spending caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act and authorizes an $80 billion increase in discretionary spending over the two year period (a $50 billion increase in FY16, and a $30 billion increase in FY17). The increases will be split evenly between defense and domestic programs. The deal was negotiated by congressional leaders with the White House.

The two-year budget deal paves a clear path for a FY16 Omnibus spending bill. In September, Congress passed a short term continuing resolution (CR) through December 11, 2015. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) praised the deal for avoiding the “meat-ax” approach of cuts required by sequestration and for providing certainty in the budget process for the next two years. “My Committee will now begin the hard work of negotiating and crafting an omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund the entirety of the federal government through fiscal year 2016. . . . I look forward to the completion of the Appropriations process before the December 11 deadline.”

Rep. Paul D. Ryan Elected Speaker
The budget deal caps the five year reign of Rep. John Boehner as Speaker of the House. This morning, the House of Representatives elected his replacement, Rep. Paul Ryan, to serve as the 54th Speaker of the House. He received the votes of 236 Republican Members of Congress.

First elected to the House of Representatives at age 28, Ryan was born on Jan. 29, 1970, in Janesville, WI. Ryan serves Wisconsin’s First District, which encompasses Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties as well as portions of Rock, Waukesha, and Milwaukee counties. He first came on the national political scene when he ran as Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 Presidential election. While in Congress, Ryan has served as Chairman of the Budget Committee and most recently as Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over taxation issues.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) will continue to serve in House Leadership as the House Majority Leader and House Majority Whip, respectively. The Republican Steering Committee, under Ryan’s leadership, will select the next Ways & Means Chairman. There is a two-way race for Chair, which will likely be either Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) or Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH). The decision will be made in the near future. In the interim, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) will serve as Acting Chairman.

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