Paul Ryan in N.H.: Party’s “creative tension” is a good thing
FILE - In this April 5, 2011 file photo, Republican Vice Presidential candidate, current House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., introduces his controversial "Path to Prosperity" budget recommendations, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Paul Ryan traveled a perilous route to political stardom. While other lawmakers nervously whistled past trillion-dollar deficits, fearing to cut popular programs, he waded in with a machete and a smile. Ryan wants to slice away at Medicare, Social Security, food stamps and virtually every other government program but the military. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
photographed on Wednesday, August 25, 2010.
(Alexander Cohn/Monitor Staff)Frank Guinta, a Republican, is running for Congress in the first district, August 25, 2010.
(Alexander Cohn/Monitor Staff)
Tea Party members helped Congress’s Republicans find their way back to true fiscal conservatism, and debates within the party represent a positive “creative tension,” U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said yesterday in Manchester.
Ryan, the Republican 2012 vice presidential candidate and a representative of Wisconsin, was in New Hampshire last night to support Frank Guinta, who is running to represent the 1st Congressional District. The fundraiser was closed to the press, but Ryan and Guinta spoke briefly with reporters after the event.
In addition to his comments on the Tea Party – which contrast with ones made by U.S. Rep Darrell Issa, a California Republican, earlier this week in Concord – Ryan said the Obama administration is becoming “lawless” in its use of executive power.
As for a presidential run, Ryan said he is focused on his job as chairman of the House Budget Committee, but he is keeping his options open and is “going to look at it after this session.” His visit to New Hampshire was solely about helping Guinta get re-elected, he said.
Guinta, a former mayor of Manchester, took the 2nd District seat from Carol Shea-Porter in 2010, riding the Tea Party-driven Republican wave into office. Shea-Porter again won the seat in 2012, and Guinta now must win a primary against businessman Dan Innis before facing her again.
During a fundraiser Monday, Issa said he expected the Tea Party to begin “maturing” and learning to work within the party to find conservative solutions, rather than holding out and letting Democrats win. But Ryan instead praised the Tea Party for guiding Republicans back to fiscally conservative principles.
“Before 2010, I think our party lost its moorings, so I think they’ve done a lot to get us whipped into shape as a true fiscal conservative party,” he said. “There’s creative tension in our party – that’s a good thing. You know why? Because we’re debating ideas.”
The left is intellectually exhausted, he said, and the Obama administration is stretching the duties of the legislative branch while failing to engage on issues such as entitlement reforms. (In his State of the Union address, President Obama said he will use executive orders to bypass inaction by Congress wherever possible.) As for this legislative session, Ryan said his focus will be on appropriations, or determining how federal money is spent. On the possibility of passing other major legislation, such as immigration reform, Ryan said only that Congress is losing its faith in the administration’s ability to execute the laws as written.
“Presidents don’t write laws, Congress writes laws,” he said. “That’s the legislative branch’s power, not the executive branch’s power, and we think the president is stretching it.”
Guinta deserves to come back to Congress because he’s a proven fiscal conservative and has shown he can take “tough votes,” Ryan said. Guinta and his opponent, Innis, expressed different views on Congress’s recent vote to raise the debt ceiling without attaching spending cuts. Innis came out publicly in support of a bill to just raise the debt ceiling, while Guinta said he would have wanted spending cuts attached to the bill. (Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire voted against the bill.)
“Voting for a clean debt ceiling (bill) completely with no spending reforms is not only bad public policy, but it’s a lost opportunity,” Guinta said.
New Hampshire’s congressional primaries are Sept. 9.
(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3390 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kronayne.)
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated what congressional district Guinta is running in. He is running to represent the 1st Congressional District.