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Paul Ryan to Marco Rubio: 'Read the deal and get back to me'

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Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, had a pretty direct request for GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida Thursday after being presented with Mr. Rubio’s criticism that the budget deal Mr. Ryan helped broker is going to make it harder for Americans to achieve the American Dream.

“Read the deal and get back to me,” Mr. Ryan said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “People are going to do what they need to do; in the minority, you don’t have the burden of governing, of getting things done.”

Mr. Ryan defended the plan he crafted with Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, as one that reduces the deficit without raising taxes while preventing deep military spending cuts and one that presumably averts government shutdowns in the near future.

“We found common ground; we know it’s a modest agreement,” Mr. Ryan said. “We don’t think having two government shutdowns over the course of the next year is in anybody’s interest.”

The Ryan-Murray agreement increases spending in 2014 to $1.012 trillion and in 2015 to $1.014 trillion and restores more than $60 billion in across-the-board “sequester” spending cuts.

The new spending is offset in part by lowering the cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees, requiring higher pension contributions from recently hired federal employees and raising fees on travelers collected by the Transportation Security Administration.

Mr. Ryan said he thought such criticism of the deal was “a little strange” because “the press releases came flying out before Patty and I actually even reached an agreement. So, you know, it is what it is. This is Washington. I would prefer that people would actually read what we’re doing and see the details before forming conclusions.”

He added, however, that he’s been around for awhile so it doesn’t surprise him.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, used unusually pointed language Wednesday in hitting back at conservative opponents of the deal, also charging that critics opposed the agreement even before knowing what was in it.

“They’re using our members and the American people to their own purposes,” Mr. Boehner said. “This is ridiculous.”

“Look, I don’t think about that stuff, honestly,” Mr. Ryan replied Thursday. “I’m just focused on doing my job, representing my constituents, and doing what I think is right in advancing my principles.”

“Look, there’s this older British guy who has often said, ‘You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need,’ ” he quipped.

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