On the House floor, Mr. Ryan expressed “serious reservations” with the legislation. In addition to ignoring the Ryan budget numbers, the extension of the highway programs continued to spend funds on programs that should not be funded – like the mandatory 10% spending beautification projects – and it missed an opportunity to provide states flexibility in how they spend on transportation. To make matters worse, no official budget score was available from the Congressional Budget Office.
And for those reasons, conservative members of Congress were planning to vote against the bill, which was drafted behind closed doors and was being considered “under suspension” to avoid amendments. Unfortunately, they were not given that opportunity to cast a vote as the bill manager, despite an apparent pledge to the contrary, did not request a roll call vote. (Interestingly, later that afternoon, the bill manager requested a roll call vote on a charter school bill that passed 365-54.) In an official statement for the record, Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) said he “was appalled by the procedure the House used in passing this bill.
Conservatives inside Washington – and more importantly those outside Washington – were ready to stand up and defend the Ryan budget against attacks from President Obama and big-government interest groups. Armed with facts, they were ready to fight for the sort of bold changes our country needs. Instead, the House walking away from a unifying budget, without so much as a fight with President Obama and obstinate Senate Democrats.
Walking away from the Ryan budget is a lose-lose-lose. Reckless spending continues. A dangerous precedent has been set. Conservatives are disheartened.