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Where’s Paul Ryan?

House Speaker John Boehner has released his three appointments for the super committee, and one name is conspicuously missing:

  • House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
  • House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI)
  • House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)

          Speaker Boehner has tapped Chairman Hensarling to serve as a co-chair of the joint select committee.

Why no Paul Ryan? It’s hard to believe he wouldn’t have been one of Boehner’s first choices, so could it be Ryan wasn’t interested in the position?

It’s possible. As it becomes more apparent the super committee will probably be forced to choose between tax hikes and defense cuts, conservative leaders in the House and Senate have been increasingly voicing their uneasiness with the idea. One of the most prominent critics of the committee has been Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions, who has taken issue with its lack of transparency and the fact just 12 lawmakers will be saddled with a job that’s supposed to be performed by the entire Congress.

Ryan hasn’t been completely dismissive of the committee, but he hasn’t been an enthusiastic supporter of it either. And there could be a good reason why: He would potentially be risking his spotless fiscal conservative credentials if he accepted an appointment, because if the agreement ends up including any tax hikes or serious defense cuts, the Republicans seated on the committee will get the blame. That raises a question: Are the super committee seats – thought of as the most-wanted appointments in town just a short time ago – now becoming toxic with some conservative Republicans?

Maybe. Of course, there’s always the (very slim) chance we’ll find out Ryan’s absence from the committee is based on a completely different reason altogether. He’s still got time!



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