Paul Ryan was just elected the 62nd Speaker of the House to succeed John Boehner and attempt the impossible task of herding cats, beginning with his House GOP conference. Ryan, who for years has been lauded as the smartest man in Washington, D.C. by a fawning beltway press, was deemed palatable enough for the hardcore right-wing extremist in his caucus to save House Republicans from themselves, but Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is not impressed.
Speaking at a Politico event on Wednesday, Warren admitted that she has had limited interactions with Ryan on the Hill but said that she's learned all she needs to know about his leadership abilities and priorities as the next Speaker by reading his budget proposals, which Warren called "truly breathtaking."
Ryan, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means committee known for his infamous "Path to Prosperity" budget (and I guess for his guest starring role as Romney's failed VP pick, too), was nominated by his Republican colleagues right as they managed to pass a bipartisan budget deal for the first time in five years. Magic.
Not so says Warren. "We’re talking about someone who wants to privatize large parts of Social Security, someone who wants to make big cuts in the investments we make in education, in infrastructure, in the pieces that help us build a future together,” the popular progressive proclaimed incredulously.
“We seem to have a breakdown in just a kind of agreement about what government is supposed to be about,” Warren said, remarking on the widespread praise for Ryan's disastrous budget cuts that's endeared him to the extremist base.
As for this latest budget deal, after railing against a provision to make it easier for loan servicers to robocall borrowers' cell phones, the freshman senator said that the budget overall was acceptable enough to avert a debt limit crisis.
"Overall, we've got a bill where, for the first time, it looks like we're going to take off the table having the Republicans shut down the government over raising the debt ceiling, and that's a very important thing," she said.