Republican strategist Ron Bonjean said the votes could be politically manageable for Ryan.
"Looking through the 2016 primary lens, I think he can easily explain voting yes to avert the fiscal cliff meant to protect 98 percent of taxpayers and the issue of Hurricane Sandy designed to save taxpayers money," said Bonjean, who formerly served as both the lead spokesperson in the House and the Senate. "Put (the bill) through the regular House committee process where spending requests could be scrutinized then there wouldn't be any possibility of waste, fraud, and abuse. That's probably where he's looking."
Bonjean notes that the Sandy relief bill overwhelmingly passed anyway, although 67 members, all Republicans, opposed it.
"He's consistently voted with the leadership with big issues," Bonjean said. "We have not yet gone through the debate of spending cuts or the debt ceiling where spending cuts will be the debate. . .In a 2016 primary, he can say, 'Yes I voted to protect 98 percent of taxpayers from having their taxes raised, but guess what. I also worked hard to make sure that we had more than enough spending cuts as the permission slip to raise the debt ceiling.'"
Bonjean added: "He's taking a look at the long game."
Ryan notably had a low profile during the fiscal cliff negotiations letting Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor be the faces of the fight. He was working behind the scenes, as an aide to Ryan said last month, as a "resource to the speaker, a resource to House Republicans."
Will Ryan be more vocal on the looming battle to raise the debt ceiling? It will be one to watch.