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article imageOp-Ed: Republicans' best trick yet — Making Paul Ryan seem reasonable

By Nathan Salant     Oct 31, 2015 in Politics
Washington - Just when you thought the U.S. Congress couldn't get more out-of-touch with the American people they're supposed to be representing comes this: the House of Representatives has picked Rep. Paul Ryan to be speaker.
Rep. Ryan (R-Wis.), running mate of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, was approved Thursday to lead the powerful legislative body, according to the Reuters news service.
"Our party has lost its vision and we're going to replace it with a vision," Ryan said Wednesday after being nominated to be the 54th speaker.
But Ryan is a doctrinaire conservative who opposes women's right to choose, denies the seriousness of human-caused climate change and considers Ayn Rand to be one of his inspirations.
Ryan has proposed massive cuts in federal entitlement spending and the privatization of Medicare, Reuters said.
House Republicans also approved a two-year budget deal with Democrats that should at least temporarily avoid the annual budget squabbles that have repeatedly tied up Congress.
Ryan received the ceremonial gavel on Thursday from former speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California).
The budget deal also approved Thursday was negotiated by outgoing speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who also plans to retire from the House seat he has held for the past 24 years, the last four as speaker.
The deal extends the federal debt limit through March 2017 and ends the automatic spending caps that have limited Congressional spending for the past few years.
But the deal still must be approved by the U.S. Senate, where opposition is reportedly building.
Ryan is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
As speaker, Ryan will set the legislative agenda for the Republican-controlled chamber and will be next in line after the vice president should the president become incapacitated.
Pelosi told Reuters she had a "great deal of respect" for Ryan despite their political disagreements, because "he knows the issues, he knows the rules."
Ryan has been in Congress since 1998, and is married with three children.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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