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Paul Ryan Is Going To Need Democrats On Omnibus, Just Like Boehner

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AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster

The only question now is whether the conservatives in his conference will buy it.

During a press conference Wednesday morning unveiling the big budget deal he struck, Ryan told reporters that he was not going to make any promises about how many Republican votes he could secure in his conference on the omnibus.

"I inherited a process at the end of the process," Ryan said. "As far as who votes for what I will leave that up to the members of the Congress. That is their decision to make."

Attracting the majority of the majority has been a stumbling block for House leaders in the past and has been a key rallying point for conservative members to criticize leaders. By staying vague on what he expects from the vote, Ryan is making it clear that he won't be held to that standard -- the so-called Hastert Rule -- at least this time around.

Throughout the negotiations, Ryan has tried to cast the omnibus as Boehner's final legacy, not his own decisive first moment. Ryan has promised members that starting in 2016, Republicans will get back to "regular order" a process where lawmakers pass individual appropriations bills throughout the year instead of allocating money for programs just weeks before the holidays.

"We played our cards the best we could," Ryan said of Republican negotiating efforts.

He boasted that Republicans finally managed to lift the ban on exporting crude oil. He also tried to focus on certainty in the tax code that the $600 billion tax extender package provides

"For the first time in over a decade, we are providing the certainty to taxpayers that they need," Ryan said.

But even with those triumphs, Ryan is aware of the Republican schisms that will reveal themselves in upcoming days. Despite his efforts to hold half a dozen listening sessions on the spending bill and host special conference meetings, Ryan's still expected to need Democratic support to get this omnibus over the finish line. The fact that Democrats were able to kill GOP provisions making it harder for refugees to come to the United States or slashing Planned Parenthood funding shows that Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had a lot of leverage in this negotiation.

So Ryan's strategy may be very different from Boehner's, but his outcome? Not so much.