In a post several days ago, I listed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as one of the losers of the budget deal because it hurt his chances to become the GOP presidential nominee in 2016.
It now appears that Ryan agrees with that assessment. Yesterday, Ryan said publicly for the first time what many had been speculating privately for some time -- that he wants to be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee rather than president. He plans to pursue it when the current chairman -- Dave Camp (MI) -- is term-limited out of the post at the end of 2014.
It's been less than a week since House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) surprised the political world by publicly and directly taking on the right wing groups -- and, by inference, the tea party wing of the GOP -- two days in a row. He then openly defied them by allowing the House to vote on a budget deal that was a compromise with Democrats they didn't like.
Four days later the question is whether this was a permanent change for Boehner. Will he continue to tell the tea partiers in his caucus, the Club for Growth, Heritage Action and the others he so resoundingly criticized that they can go to hell, or was this a one-time event not likely to be repeated?
The indications are that this was a not permanent change in the speaker's political testosterone level. Here's why.
Regardless of whether it's actually adopted, five individuals, groups and organizations stand out as being the biggest losers from the budget deal announced Tuesday evening. They are:
1. Fix The Debt. FTD is the high-profile corporate-funded organization that has been pushing hard for a grand bargain dealing with the long-term budget issues. In spite of the statement FTD issued, this deal was a total rejection of what FTD has raised and spent so much money trying to get Congress to do. You might even call it a smackdown. Not only will there be no Fix the Debt-preferred agreement in 2014, the deal closes the door on that type of agreement in 2015 as well. And does anyone really think Congress is going to take on Social Security and Medicare just before the 2016 presidential election?
The big budget question for this week is whether the budget conference committee will be able to agree to anything by its deadline this Friday.
My big budget answer: It doesn't matter.
1. The budget world won't end at midnight this Friday. The government won't shut down, the debt ceiling won't be breached and no sequester will occur. So there's no immediate practical impact if the conference committee fails to come up with anything. It would not be at all surprising, therefore, if at some point this week the committee announces that it will continue its deliberations when Congress returns to Washington in January.
2. Even if the conference committee does agree to something this week, there's only a limited chance that the deal will actually be voted on by one or both houses. If it happens at all, it will happen in January.
No...I'm not reporting that the Obama administration's fiscal 2015 budget, which by law is supposed to be sent to Congress by Monday, February 3, 2014, will be late. Neither the White House nor the Office of Management and Budget have made any such announcement and I seriously doubt they will any time soon.
Yes...I'm predicting, based on my reading of the budget tea leaves, that the Obama 2015 budget will be seriously late.
The reason is how long it's taking Congress to deal with 2014.
The only real question in my mind is how late the Obama budget will be. My guess is not only won't we see it before the end of February but that the end of March or later is a real possibility.
Although the process by which the president's budget is put together starts much earlier in the year, the vast majority of big decisions typically are made in the fall, that is, after Congress has completed work on the current year budget and appropriations and other decisions can be taken in to account and reflected in the administration's plan.
At least that's the way it's supposed to work.