Paul Ryan's First 100 Days Under President Trump
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
How is this for a to-do list for the coming week - one, stop the federal government from shutting down; two, overhaul health care - again? Safe to say those two items are at the top of Paul Ryan's long to-do list for next week. The speaker of the House has until Friday to help shepherd a budget bill through Congress. Otherwise, it's government shutdown starting one week from today. Now, that would be Saturday April 29, Donald Trump's 100th day as president.
Michael Warren is a senior writer for The Weekly Standard, the conservative magazine. And he is with me now in the studio. Good morning, Michael.
MICHAEL WARREN: Good morning.
KELLY: I want to start with this relationship that is still taking shape between President Trump and Speaker Ryan. They got off to a rocky start. Have they settled into a relationship where they can actually get anything done?
WARREN: No. But I think it's...
KELLY: To be blunt.
WARREN: That's all I have to say about that. No, it's an odd marriage. It's one that I don't think anybody - either party or any of the people around them - thought would happen. And so it's been uneasy from the beginning. I think the Obamacare repeal-and-replace debacle from last month really kind of put it into focus that these are two men who just don't have a lot of the same interests or motivations. And so next week is going to be interesting in terms of trying to get some of those agenda items through. I would put more money on getting the government funded than on any sort of health care bill.
But there's - it's a difficult relationship because they just don't see eye to eye on much. And - the president has an agenda he's trying to pass. The speaker is trying to corral 216 or so Republicans who all have different interests as well. There's just not a lot of communication between the two groups.
KELLY: Well, let's stay with these two big items on the to-do list next week. As you said, the specter of the government running out of money on Friday tends to focus the mind. What will Speaker Ryan's strategy be for getting this done next week?
WARREN: Just to get as many people on board - get that 216...
KELLY: Get those 216...
WARREN: ...Seventeen, however many people they need depending on how many votes there are. And I tend to think that there's going to be enough votes to do that. And the White House is not going to stand in Speaker Ryan's way. And there's really - even the Freedom Caucus, the sort of thorn in the side of House leadership, are not going to do that either because nobody...
KELLY: They were the ones who were the major stumbling block for the White House and others trying to get the health care...
KELLY: ...Bill (unintelligible).
WARREN: That was a big, sort of comprehensive bill that has a lot of - people have a lot of opinions on. Spending is obviously something that conservatives in the House have a lot of opinions on as well. But nobody seems to be really interested on either side of Pennsylvania Avenue in any kind of government shutdown where Republicans are in charge of all sides of the political government. So I think that is an easier task to complete. Health care is another story.
KELLY: It is a whole other story. I - one assumes that Speaker Ryan is not eager for a replay of the way that unfolded last month. Do we have any insight into what his strategy is going to be? He's not going to put a health care bill on the floor unless he's confident it will pass.
WARREN: That's right. We may see a replay of what happened in March, which was the White House essentially pushing, pushing, pushing. And House leadership - Speaker Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, saying, we don't have the votes. We don't have the votes. Now I think House leadership is in a bit of a stronger position to say - look, do you want a repeat of all the embarrassing coverage, particularly with all this somewhat arbitrary but still significant 100-day marker here? I think this is sort of a lot of noise, a lot of PR, not a lot of meat on these bones. I don't think there's going to be a vote.
KELLY: Well, in a sentence or two, does Speaker Ryan control the House at this point?
WARREN: He does. Yes, he does. The president does not. And it's this weird dynamic of having a Republican president with a Republican House that he doesn't have a lot of control over.
KELLY: All right. That's Michael Warren, senior writer for The Weekly Standard. He has been reporting on the first hundred days of the Trump presidency. Michael, thanks.
WARREN: Thanks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.