Ryan presents stark choices to conservatives on spending – By LAUREN FRENCH and BEN WEYL 02/12/16 01:38 PM EST


The speaker tells rank-and-file members that failing to pass a budget could lead to a much worse outcome.

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Ryan opened the Republican meeting by describing the realities of tackling a budget, stressing there was an opportunity to act on a conservative agenda if the House can move past the current budget stalemate. | AP Photo

The speaker tells rank-and-file members that failing to pass a budget could lead to a much worse outcome.

House Republicans can do three things with the 2017 budget: pass it, punt on it or just give up.

That’s the message Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) delivered to his conference Friday morning during a prolonged meeting in the Capitol that was described by attendances as an airing of grievances about the funding blueprint before the House.

The top-line numbers for the budget, which were agreed to last year, have met a familiar roadblock with conservative lawmakers who question why spending levels were increased for 2017 as part of an omnibus debate with Democrats.

Ryan opened the Republican meeting by describing the realities of tackling a budget, stressing there was an opportunity to act on a conservative agenda if the House can move past the current budget stalemate.

But lawmakers need to act, Ryan said. He asked whether Republicans were willing to give up on the appropriations process and a potential chance at entitlement reform over a relatively small funding increase.

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