Rep. Paul Ryan: Up to Obama to Bring Bipartisanship

By Lindsey Ellerson

Apr 23, 2009 2:50pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: On today’s “Top Line,” Rep. Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, joined his party’s leadership in calling on President Obama to bring bipartisan cooperation to Capitol Hill. But at the same time, Ryan said that Obama’s victory and Democrats’ expanded majority in Congress give them the “right” to push their healthcare plans through — and said they will probably be able to do so using a procedural process known as “reconciliation” that makes it easier to pass bills in the Senate. “It’s their right. They did win the election,” said Ryan, R-Wis. “That’s what I tell all my constituents who are worried about this. They won the election. They did run on these ideas. They did run on nationalizing health care. So, you’re right about that. They have the votes with reconciliation. They nailed down the process so that they can make sure they have the votes and that they can get this thing through really fast. It is their right. It is what they can do.” “They hold the power, and they’re probably going to exercise it.  We don’t like it because we don’t like what looks like the outcome,” he added. It’s up to the president, he said, to force Democratic leaders in Congress to the bargaining table. “We asked [House Ways and Means Chairman] Charlie Rangel yesterday — you know, invite us to a meeting. Let’s start talking. Let’s get something done together,” he said. “Nothing. Stone silence. We hear the crickets chirping here.” Said Ryan: “The President is the leader of their party. He can make a difference. We’re asking him to get involved, and if they really want bipartisanship, that means you have to have collaboration. That means you have to compromise and so far there’s just no attitude to do that because as you mentioned, they’ve got the power, they won the election, so they don’t seem to, you know, really want to compromise, and that’s their right.” He also said that the budget reconciliation process — which allows legislation to avoid filibusters in the Senate — wasn’t meant for items like a healthcare overhaul. “Reconciliation this year is being sort of tortured and used for different purposes than what it was originally intended for. That’s the point we’re trying to make.” Watch the full interview with Rep. Paul Ryan HERE. Also today, we spoke with Politico’s Mike Allen about the early take on the president’s first 100 days in office — and the Obama White House’s use of the president’s popularity to shape news coverage.

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