Speaker Paul D. Ryan hedged Tuesday on whether a majority of Republicans will support must-pass, year-end measures such as the omnibus appropriations bill and a tax extenders package, saying many issues have yet to be resolved.
"We'll see how the process goes," he said. But Ryan did say he expects a majority of Republicans to support highway and elementary and secondary education conference reports that the House plans to take up this week.
"We expect to have very good majority support on both the highway bill and the ESEA bill," he said. "These are great conservative education reforms. I think that it was quoted in the paper yesterday that this is the greatest evolution of power back to the states in education in 25 years. That's impressive and that's why I think a majority of Republicans will be supporting it."
Addressing a potential standoff with the White House on contentious riders to the omnibus related to environmental regulations or Planned Parenthood funding, Ryan said, "Look, we obviously have differences of opinion on all of those big issues. Those negotiations are ongoing right now. The last thing I want to do is get ahead of our Appropriations Committee, which is taking the lead in those negotiations."
Ryan addressed the Nov. 27 shooting at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs. "What happened is appalling, and justice should be swift. Clearly we can do more and one common denominator in these tragedies is mental illness."
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In an effort to prevent future violence, Congress should prioritize fixing the nation's mental health system, Ryan said. He pointed to an overhaul bill by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., that is making its way through the Energy and Commerce Committee as an example of what the House can do, but deferred to Murphy and the committee on the details.
"Congressman Murphy has put a very comprehensive effort underway," Ryan said. "He's put years into this, and that is why we want to see this process all the way through."
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