The elusive "grand fiscal bargain" will not be reached while "this president" is in office, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan told CNBC on Thursday.
That's why this week's small bipartisan budget deal is the best approach to chip away at the nation's spending and debt problems, he insisted in a "Squawk Box" interview.
"You can't shoot for the moon every time," Ryan declared—when describing the framework he helped craft with his Senate Budget Committee counterpart, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
"Senator Murray and I decided to focus on common ground," the Wisconsin Republican said. "If I can't get a mile, I'll take a step."
(Read more: Budget deal a 'joke and betrayal': Stockman)
"We knew ... that if we required that the other person [to] violate their core principles, we'll get nowhere," he continued. "That's why all these grand bargain talks go nowhere."