Christmas is coming, and House Speaker Paul Ryan is in a merry mood.
Just hours after passing a massive bipartisan spending bill in convincing fashion, one day after notching scores of tax policy wins and barely two months into his speakership, Ryan has fully transformed from reluctant recruit into happy warrior.
Now he just has to bring the Republican Party with him.
“I’m very happy with how the last seven weeks have gone,” he told a small group of reporters assembled in his Baroque-style Capitol office.
The space has been repainted with a fresh coat of palatial red, part of the successful effort to rid it of the damp tobacco smell of its previous inhabitant, John Boehner. So too has the cloud of Boehner’s presence and abrupt departure seemingly been lifted from Congress.
Yes, many members are still frustrated, But Ryan has, to paraphrase his predecessor, cleaned the barn, and the House is ready to move into 2016 on his terms with him at the helm. The past was rocky, but in talking about the future he is calm and confident.
“When John Boehner threw the curveball of his unanticipated resignation, it threw the place into a bit of chaos. Members were very worried about where this was all going, and it looked like Congress was going to seize up and come to a screeching halt,” Ryan said. “People looked at that situation around Congress and saw all that they came here to do, to work on, basically being all for naught. That we were about to have such a chaotic crash, that the hard work that they took to get here, to legislate, to make a difference, was going to be in vain.”