Ryan said he hopes budget agreement is first step toward more bipartisan Congress
By David Skolnick
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan said he hopes the approval of a budget agreement is the first step toward a more bipartisan approach in Congress.
“It’s really important to get the train back on the tracks,” Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said Friday during a discussion with the media at his congressional office in Warren. “Washington is broken, so [it’s good] to have a deal where we’re making these domestic investments [that] are important and the military investments that are important for our strategic strength in the world. Although we didn’t get everything we wanted, I felt I needed to support it.”
The bill passed in the House 240-186 with 73 Democrats voting in favor of it.
The bill includes $20 billion toward infrastructure initiatives, $6 billion to fight the opioid epidemic and fund mental-health initiatives, $4 bill to repair and rebuild veterans’ health clinics, a 10-year extension on the Children’s Health Insurance Program [CHIP] and a special committee established to tackle pension solvency.
Ryan said he wasn’t pleased that Republican leadership refused to bring a DREAM [Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minor] Act to the floor, which would grant legal status to certain undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. But Ryan said he’s hopeful that immigration issues can be resolved.
“If we’re making investments in the country, I’m willing to be a partner,” he said. “We can do it with immigration.”
He added: “We wanted to try to take care of the Dreamer issue. It’s a priority for us. Those people who think we should have shut the government down” over the Dreamers were mistaken. “We did it a couple of weeks ago and it didn’t really work out.”
Ryan said Congress can address border security and immigration at the same time, and to say it has to be one or the other is “a false choice.”
“We need to make sure we are adequately providing border security,” he said. “At the same time, we have 11 to 12 million people in the United States, the vast majority aren’t felons” who “should be on a path for the next 5, 7, 9, 10 years to come into the country.”
The country “can secure the border and if you’re not a criminal, we should work on getting you into the country.”
Ryan called on President Donald Trump to work with Congress to come up with a solution to better border security and a path to citizenship.
“Solve the problem and let’s move on with our lives,” he said. “This is not rocket science.”
Rather than give in to the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 of the most conservative Republican members, GOP leadership should work with Democrats to get legislation approved, Ryan said.
If Democrats didn’t back the budget bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan would have had to compromise with the Freedom Caucus, Ryan said.
“To get those votes, he would have had to gut the opioid spending, gut the military spending, the health care spending,” he said.
“That’s how that would have ended. This is much better now. We’ve got to hold their feet to the fire on the Dreamer issue. I think for the most part, this is a decent deal.”