Washington (CNN) – The last time Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, was on Capitol Hill he was known best as the chairman of the House Budget Committee and as a popular member among rank and file Republicans for leading the charge for major spending cuts and advocating a dramatic Medicare overhaul.
But Ryan, now the GOP vice presidential nominee in a tightly contested national race, will return this Thursday to an institution whose popularity is at record lows with the American people.
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House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy told reporters Monday Ryan would be back in Washington to vote on the "continuing resolution" that funds the government through March - the one "must pass" measure Congress is expected to approve before the election.
A Romney campaign official confirmed Ryan would be back on Capitol Hill Thursday.
That six month spending bill, negotiated by leaders from both parties this summer, keeps the government funded at the level agreed to in last summer's debt deal - $1.047 trillion. But that's not the number Ryan supported earlier this year. After vocal criticism from a bloc of conservative House Republicans that the deal didn't cut spending fast enough, Ryan introduced a budget that moved the overall spending level about $20 billion lower, to $1.028 trillion.
That budget passed the House, but was immediately rejected by Senate Democrats as violating the bipartisan debt deal. Ryan supported that bill last August.
Asked how Ryan would vote this week on the funding bill, McCarthy initially told reporters he expected Ryan to support it, but when pressed about the spending level, he said he had indications his GOP colleague would vote for it, but he couldn't speak for other members.
An aide to Ryan did not respond when asked by CNN if the congressman planned to vote for the six month spending bill.
– CNN's Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report