WASHINGTON, DC – A warning to members of Congress hoping for a choice photo-op with vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan during his trip to the Capitol today: you won’t be getting much in the way of photos, but at least you can attend an unofficial “visit” with your budget chairman.
Although initially Ryan was not scheduled to hold any meetings with members of the Republican conference in either House or the Senate, House Republicans announced this afternoon that he would indeed be holding court - albeit unofficially - at 4:45 in the Speaker’s office for members of the GOP conference.
Ryan, the current chairman of the House Budget Committee and the architect of the Republican budget blueprint, is scheduled to return to his Capitol Hill haunts today for an early evening vote.
And that’s about it.
While there aren’t any hard and fast rules governing a Capitol Hill visit by a vice presidential candidate, the fact that, as an aide confirmed, Ryan isn’t scheduled for any meetings with his fellow Republicans is still remarkable.
What won’t Ryan be doing during his brief stop-over the nation’s Capitol? For starters, he won’t be having a formal meeting with the House Republican Conference, where’s spent more than a decade as a member of Congress. Neither will he be formally meeting with the Senate Republican Conference, nor individual meetings with Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or any other elected leader of the Republican party.
Not even his closest friends in Washington, including House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, who along with Ryan and Majority Leader Eric Cantor formed the vaunted Young Guns program, is getting any scheduled face time with his old compadre.
That’s not to say Ryan will be avoiding interactions with members of the House and Senate. The campaign aide noted that, after all, he be on the House floor during the 6 pm spending vote where he’ll assuredly have a chance to catch up with leaders, friends and colleagues from the lower chamber.
Prior to the announcement of the afternoon meet and greet, a spokesman for Ryan said that despite having no formal meetings planned, the vice presidential contender was still expecting to huddle with his colleagues.
“We expect the Congressman will spend a good deal of time catching up with his colleagues while in the Capitol,” the spokesman, Brendan Buck, said.
And Republicans in both chambers cautioned that Ryan’s schedule could change. Still, his apparent lack of interest in being seen with — or even seeing — his colleagues may reflect Romney campaign’s reluctance to be tied to congressional Republicans, whose detailed budget and stray remarks have both proven, at times, campaign liabilities.
For months, the campaign has been unhappy, and at times embarrassed, by the antics of Republicans in the House ranging from the kerfuffle over lawmakers skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee to Rep. Todd Akin’s incendiary comments about “legitimate rape.”
And while McCarthy and others have argued tapping Ryan as his vice presidential candidate was a demonstration of Romney’s embrace of the House GOP’s policies, neither he nor Cantor were invited to speak at the Republican National Convention and House members generally played a minor role in the festivities.
[This story has been updated to reflect Ryan’s adding a meeting with Congressional Republicans.]