Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House budget committee, was widely expected to be appointed to the powerful bipartisan panel charged with slashing $1.5 trillion from the next decade's federal deficits. But Ryan wasn't one of the three lawmakers Speaker John Boehner picked to represent House Republicans on the 12-person panel. Why will Ryan be sidelined as the "super committee" tries to develop its plan by Nov. 23? Here are four theories:
1. Ryan has bigger problems to address
The Wisconsin Republican didn't get passed over — he asked Boehner to leave him off the super committee, says the Janesville, Wis., Gazette. Ryan wants to leave the specifics of the deficit cuts to others, while he focuses on his own House committee's efforts to reform the entire federal budget process. "If we are truly going to put the country's fiscal house in order, it will not be enough to temporarily reduce what Washington spends," Ryan said. "We must permanently reform the process by which working American’s hard-earned tax dollars are spent."
2. And he wants to avoid the super committee's "toxic" choices
There's an obvious reason Ryan wants no part of this super committee, says Alana Goodman at Commentary. Joining would mean "risking his spotless fiscal conservative credentials." The way the debt deal that set up the super committee is written, conservative members will have to choose between raising taxes and cutting defense spending. That's a "toxic" dilemma for Republicans — and Ryan clearly wants no part of that lose-lose situation.
3. Plus, Ryan knows the committee will fail
The House's budget guru doesn't believe the super committee will get anything done, says Brian O'Connor at Red Dog Report. He has said publicly that he doesn't expect the panel will fix our financial problems, and that there's "probably greater than a 50-50 chance" the deliberations will end in stalemate. I disagree with him on one point, though: "There is a 100 percent chance that the 'super committee' will fail." Both parties appointed true believers who share no common ground, so nothing will get done unless President Obama takes a "prominent and forceful leadership role."
4. Maybe conservatives just don't need Ryan on the super committee
It's not like Boehner threw in the towel by not picking Ryan, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. He appointed House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) as co-chair of the committee, and he also named House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). They're true conservatives in their own right, and "even without Ryan, these seem like pretty strong selections."