New Speaker of the House
Posted: November 6, 2015
I was glad to see that Congressman Paul Ryan (Rep., Janesville) accepted the job to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House. After Kevin McCarthy quit his bid to succeed Boehner as House Speaker two weeks ago, Ryan had to be convinced that he could do the job and still be able to return home to see his family in Wisconsin on weekends.
At 247 members, Republicans have its largest house majority since the 71st Congress of 1929-30. However, there is a fringe minority of its own party that could squander any momentum that a new House Speaker could muster.
If Ryan has to acquiesce to the 30-40 Tea Party activists within the Republican party and, as a result, throw the party into even more disarray, then Ryan will be set up to fail. The group calls itself the Freedom Caucus. And, although some of their ideas are admirable, the group has not offered any realistic strategy to accomplish its goals. Essentially, the Freedom Caucus would rather shut down government to get attention, rather than create any rational way to run the country.
Now it appears that Ryan will have the ability to work with both sides of the aisle and make government work better. However, with a deadline looming December 11th for a must-pass spending bill, Ryan will have to avoid a government shutdown after only being in the post of House Speaker for less than six weeks.
The two-year budget bill that President Obama signed this week sets the overall levels for government spending, but in order to avoid another government shutdown, the House and Senate need to approve a funding bill that details spending levels for all federal agencies.
My guess is that Ryan will not allow a government shutdown to occur on his watch. At least, that should be the goal.
BREEDERS' CUP: I spent last Friday and Saturday watching the Breeders' Cup on television. The annual event is horse racing's biggest day and I have had the pleasure of attending two Breeders' Cups in the past: One was in Louisville, KY; the other was in Arlington Heights, IL - the track where I honed my skills on learning how to wager on horses.
The best part of the day, of course, was when American Pharoah won the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday late afternoon. The horse is truly an American treasure and I was pleased that I could watch history being made.