Speaker of the House

Paul Ryan

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: 'If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It.'

2016/09/28

On at least 37 separate occasions, President Obama pledged that Americans would be able to keep the plan they like. pic.twitter.com/tZ7rgm4Nv2

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 16, 2016

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice.

Next up, "If you like your plan, you can keep it." As Obamacare continues to unravel, we look back at one of its biggest broken promises. 

The Promise: "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." This was a go-to line for President Obama in the lead-up to the creation of Obamacare. In an effort to ease concerns about his sweeping government overhaul of our health care system, the president and his surrogates repeated this “promise” over and over again as if it were fact. Indeed, on at least 37 separate occasions, the president pledged that Americans would be able to keep the plan they like.

The Reality: The reality is simple: This was not true. Before Obamacare became law, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted that millions of Americans would lose their plans. And that’s exactly what happened. Shortly after the law took effect, millions of Americans received letters informing them that their plans had been cancelled. 

‘Lie of the Year’: So how big was this lie? So big that the non-partisan fact-checker PolitiFact named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” their Lie of the Year. PolitiFact wrote that the “promise was impossible to keep. So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong. . . . Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along.”

Not Funny: While the president’s advisors laugh off the broken promise, Americans across the country have been forced to deal with the harsh reality of losing their health care. The stress and financial uncertainty associated with losing health insurance is no laughing matter for families across the country.

Wrong Direction: It’s now 2016 and Obamacare appears to be imploding. Insurers continue to flee exchanges, leaving Americans with fewer options and higher costs. For example, a recent report from the New York Times says that “17 percent of Americans eligible for an Affordable Care Act plan may have only one insurer to choose next year. . . . By comparison, only 2 percent of eligible customers last year had only one choice.” 

Collapsing CO-OPs: Another sign of Obamacare’s failure is the collapse of the federally backed Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) programs across the country.  So far 16 of the 23 CO-OPs created under the law have failed, which leaves more Americans without health insurance.

Better Way: This week the House voted to provide relief for people affected by CO-OP failures. Rep. Adrian Smith’s (R-NE) bill, the CO-OP Consumer Protection Act of 2016, exempts from Obamacare’s individual-mandate tax penalty those who unexpectedly lost their health insurance in the middle of the year when their CO-OP closed. But the fundamental problems with our health care system won’t be solved until we get rid Obamacare and replace it. That’s why House Republicans have put forward a plan to replace Obamacare with a patient-centered system that gives every American access to quality, affordable health care. Read more about our plan at Better.gop.

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House Tackles Water Infrastructure Challenges

2016/09/28

#WRDA is on the floor. We must pass this #jobs & #infrastructure bill & return to regular order. pic.twitter.com/7qm1Zx8hYB

— T&I Committee (@Transport) September 27, 2016

Our nation’s infrastructure is in trouble. Thanks to years of waste and abuse, poor prioritization of projects, our infrastructure is not up to American standards. That’s why, over the past year, House Republicans have made upgrading our infrastructure a major priority.

In November, the House passed a bipartisan highway bill that cut waste and fast tracks good projects so our highways, bridges, and tunnels can be safer and more efficient.

This past July, the House passed the Federal Aviation Administration Extension, which makes our nation’s airports safer and more secure by upgrading safety and security. (It also means less time in in TSA lines.)

Next up: infrastructure for our nation’s water resources. Today, the House is set to take up the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA), which addresses the needs of America’s harbors, locks, dams, flood protection and other water-related infrastructure. 

Here are five things you need to know about this legislation:

1. Provides authorizations for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency in charge of handling these infrastructure projects, and gives them tools necessary to tackle the backlog of water projects totaling in the tens of billions of dollars.

2. Is fiscally responsible. New authorizations are fully offset and it contains zero earmarks.

3. Installs strict oversight capabilities to prevent waste through review of annual reports.

4. Follows new, transparent approval process that was established by Congress in 2014. 

5. Puts Congress on a two-year cycle of addressing infrastructure—a much-needed return to regular order. 

The Senate has already passed its version of this bill, so the next step is working out differences between the two houses and getting it to the president's desk. 

Our nation’s waterways make up a huge portion of our economy. Upgrading our water infrastructure will create jobs and strengthen our economy, while keeping Americans safe. This is simply a Better Way.

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Statement on the Passing of Shimon Peres

2016/09/28

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the passing of former Israeli President Shimon Peres:

“The world has lost a true legend and statesman. Shimon Peres was a gift to the country he helped establish and lead, and a persistent voice for the cause of peace. President Peres' countless contributions to the world earned him the Nobel Peace Prize, Congressional Gold Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. While we join the State of Israel and people around the globe in mourning his death, we also give thanks for his incredible life." 

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Speaker Ryan: Clean Power Plan Would Cost People Jobs, Send Electricity Bills Skyrocketing

2016/09/27

Today at a House Republican press briefing, Speaker Ryan discussed the #BetterWay alternative to the Obama administration's “Clean Power Rule”—a multi-billion dollar regulation that would cripple the coal industry and raise electricity costs in 47 American states:

Whether you are a consumer, a worker, or a small business owner, our regulatory system should work for you, and even with you, but never against you. Unfortunately, that is just what is going on today. “Tom Marino just gave you a perfect story of how the regulatory state is working against the American business, consumer, and family. “Take the president’s so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ rule, another one of these multi-billion dollar regulations. In February, the Supreme Court issued a stay on this rule. Today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments in a challenge against it. “This is a rule that is especially egregious. It’s an egregious example of this president’s unlawful overreach. It essentially forces states to upend their energy economies, without an act of Congress. “It is designed to cripple fossil fuels, moving us away from energy that is reliable and affordable—and doing it without a vote of Congress. It is another frontward attack on coal country, which has already been decimated by this administration’s policies. All told, it is estimated that this one rule will raise electricity prices in all 47 states that it affects. “Again, this comes down without an act of Congress. There has got to be a better way to deal with these things—and there is. There is a better way. “Our plan says that no major regulation should become law unless Congress makes a vote. Look, what we’re trying to achieve here is reasserting self-government—government by consent. In America, we as citizens write laws that govern ourselves through our elected representatives. That’s not happening today. “You’ve got an administration that is passing these rules under the full force of law on our consumers, on our businesses, on our American people—that they have no voice for—that is costing them their jobs, their livelihoods, giving them skyrocketing electricity bills.   “We should encourage energy development, so we can actually lower costs and create jobs. All of these ideas are part of our Better Way agenda, which you can learn more about by going to better.gop. “In the meantime, our hope is that today this rule is struck down permanently—before coal country is destroyed, and before Americans are consigned to these higher energy costs imposed by these unlawful regulations.”

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Why does the White House oppose bipartisan Syrian sanctions?

2016/09/26

The administration opposes our bipartisan bill to sanction the Assad regime. What's their excuse? https://t.co/xeHwXJAKpI pic.twitter.com/TSJnPqbozB

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 25, 2016

Last week, Speaker Ryan called out the Obama administration for pressuring House Democrats to abandon a bipartisan bill to sanction the Syrian regime. “I think that this administration is essentially protecting some of the world’s worst war criminals,” he said. “That is why I am calling on the White House to allow House Democrats to work with us to pass these sanctions in short order.”

Ok, let’s deconstruct the White House’s befuddling response, in the words of White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest:

“[W]e already have got the authority that we need to impose sanctions against the Assad regime if we believe that’s going to advance our interests in that part of the world.”

The suggestion here that these sanctions aren’t new is patently false. These are tougher measures designed to isolate the Assad regime for its war crimes. As Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies explains, “This legislation significantly expands the scope and coercive impact of the existing secondary sanctions.”

“[W]e’re looking to maximize the pressure that we can apply to the Assad regime.”

Perfect. We agree. Then the president should support this legislation. But wait for it. . .

“[A]pplying unilateral sanctions by the United States is not the most effective way for us to do that.”

This really sums up the president's broader failure to lead in Syria. Rejecting new sanctions because the administration would need to build international support for them is the definition of leading from behind. Our failed partnership with Russia has only brought more chaos and carnage—not a cessation of violence, much less peace.

Where does this leave us? The administration ostensibly opposed this bill to provide space for its ceasefire to play out, but it failed within a week. The Assad regime has already launched a new offensive to recapture Aleppo, and hundreds have been killed by barrel bombs in some of the heaviest bombings since the war began. As Speaker Ryan said, “So what’s the excuse now?”

The president’s strategy in Syria has been an abysmal failure. He should change course and help us enact this bill. 

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How a Statue Comes to the Capitol

2016/09/26

Last week, Congress unveiled the newest addition to the National Statuary Hall Collection: Thomas Edison of Ohio. From the lightbulb to the motion picture—Edison's contributions to American society, and the world, are well-known. But what you may not yet know is how a statue comes to find its home in the U.S. Capitol. Here are a few facts to shed some light on that process:

  • There are 100 statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection. Each state may contribute two statues.
  • All statues must be made of either marble or bronze and must represent deceased persons who have been citizens of their respective state.
  • Each statue is donated by the state it represents (to include transportation costs). As such, the statues in the U.S. Capitol do not cost federal taxpayers a dime.
  • In fact, states largely have sole authority to pick and replace their statues whenever they want. To do so, the state legislature must enact a resolution and the governor must submit a written request to the Architect of the Capitol.

Click here to learn more about the National Statuary Hall Collection.

Interested in seeing the whole statue unveiling ceremony? Click here.

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Speaker Ryan Discusses Charlotte, #BetterWay on Face the Nation

2016/09/25

“Each of us have to get better perspectives.” On a weekend celebrating the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture—a day Speaker Ryan called good “for American scholarship and the American people”—there is still progress to be made in our communities. That was his message this morning on CBS News’s Face the Nation, when he responded to the events in Charlotte, NC, and discussed how House Republicans are identifying—and supporting—local, bottom-up solutions for safer, more inclusive communities:

“This country has to find new ways of learning how to heal and understand all the different perspectives. . . . [the House has] a working group on this. They were in Detroit last week, doing listening sessions. They're now all doing ride-alongs with the police. And what we're trying to do is quietly and calmly come together and find what we can find, some common solutions. . . .

“I don't want to make the case that the federal government can just pass a law and this is all going to go away. I think what we need to do is make sure we go in the communities, listen, learn, identify local homegrown solutions, support them. And then see if we can find good solutions that could be replicated in other areas. And that's the kind of dialogue we're trying to achieve. . . . Each of us have to get better perspectives, get outside of our comfort zones, understand what other people are saying and what they see, and then try to come up with common ground solutions. And that’s, to me, the kind of healing that has to occur.”

But the conversation doesn’t end there. House Republicans are prioritizing addressing many of the biggest problems facing our nation, like much-needed tax reform and creating a patient-centered health care system. Because, after all, it’s Congress that writes laws: 

“Congress is the one that writes the laws, that puts them on the president’s desk. And our Congress is offering very specific solutions . . . we are offering a unified front of solutions. That’s what we should do.”

Learn more about the House Republican agenda—A Better Way—at better.gop

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Ryan Celebrates Opening of African-American History Museum

2016/09/24

WASHINGTON — This morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) attended the official opening and dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. After the ceremony, Speaker Ryan issued the following statement:

“It was an honor to attend today’s ceremony. This museum is a valuable addition to the Smithsonian. No one can fully understand America without a deep appreciation for the African-American experience. African-Americans have made so many contributions to our country, and I’m glad to see those contributions finally get their place in our nation's capital. This is a good day for American scholarship and the American people.”

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Star Trek GIFs Explain A Better Way

2016/09/23

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, a story of wonder and adventure that has captivated generations. Speaking of great enterprises, allow me to tell you about your own... 1. Right now, our country is on the wrong path. At home and abroad, the troubles are just piling up.

2. We can get angry, and stay angry...

3. Or we can pull together, and embark on a mission to explore new ideas and seek out a bold agenda to address some of our biggest challenges.

4. So we have engineered A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of our country’s biggest challenges.

5. Take poverty. Every year, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars to address this crisis, but there are still more than 43 million people living in poverty. 

6. Instead of doing the same things and getting the same results, our plan makes sure work always pays so that we can transport more people on to the ladder of opportunity.

7. And we take an evidence-based approach, backing what's working on the front lines by making better use of data.

8. That’s a Better Way to Fight Poverty.

9. There are six Better Way plans in all, including a health care plan that restores the doctor-patient relationship. 10. To learn more about these ideas, just boldly go to better.gop

11. Because with A Better Way, everyone can have the chance to live long and prosper.

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Speaker Ryan Discusses Midnight Rules Relief Act

2016/09/23

Yesterday at his weekly press briefing, Speaker Ryan discussed the Midnight Rules Relief Act—bipartisan legislation passed by the House Judiciary Committee to enhance congressional oversight of the overreaching regulations often issued during the final months of a president’s term: “The Midnight Rules Relief Act—this [is] bipartisan legislation to stop the rush of regulations that presidents typically issue in the last months and particularly in the last weeks [of their terms.]

“As my colleague Jerry Nadler of New York, a Democrat, once put it—and I don’t typically quote Jerry Nadler. As Jerry Nadler put it, ‘Midnight rules can be abused to allow a president to reach into a third term without any accountability.’ “I could not agree more—especially when it comes to this president, who has overseen a regulatory onslaught.

“This is why, in our Better Way agenda, we recommend giving Congress the power to stop all midnight regulations with one vote. Then administrations would know that they will be held accountable, even after they leave office.

“Now Chairman Goodlatte, Chairman Sessions, and Mr. Issa have moved a bill to make this happen. It passed the Judiciary Committee last week by a vote of 15-5. This truly is a better way to govern.  “It is resuscitating the separation of powers to make sure that the laws that we live under are written by the people we vote fornot unelected bureaucrats, and certainly not bureaucrats whose time is up in office.

“You can read more about this whole plan by going to better.gop.” 

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Speaker Ryan Meets With Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

2016/09/22

I want to thank Prime Minister @TurnbullMalcolm for his friendship and support for the U.S.-#Australia relationship. pic.twitter.com/Q9VqsyCNeF

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 22, 2016

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: “The alliance we’ve built with Australia over the past seven decades is stronger than ever. Today was a great opportunity to discuss how we best strengthen our defense and economic ties. I want to thank Prime Minister Turnbull for his time, friendship, and support for the U.S.-Australia relationship.”

 

The alliance we've built with #Australia over the past seven decades is stronger than ever. https://t.co/fSoPrDqZDH pic.twitter.com/OW4nT9pBZY

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 23, 2016
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Ryan urges White House to stop interfering with bipartisan Syria sanctions bill

2016/09/22

Today, Speaker Ryan urged the White House to stop interfering with bipartisan legislation to sanction the Syrian government. As the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, the administration pressured House Democrats to back away from the bill, despite its unanimous approval by the Foreign Affairs Committee in July.

Speaker Ryan’s full remarks:

"This week, we learned that the Syrian military was complicit in bombing a humanitarian convoy. This should not come as a surprise. At no point has the Assad regime stopped committing atrocities against the Syrian people. That is why it is so troubling to me that the White House is blocking bipartisan legislation to impose new sanctions on the Assad regime. The administration’s rationale was that this could complicate the ceasefire—of course, a ceasefire that collapsed within a week. So what's the excuse now?

"This is not a game. I think this administration is essentially protecting some of the world’s worst war criminals. That is why I am calling on the White House to allow House Democrats to work with us to pass these sanctions in short order."

 

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Speaker Ryan Addresses Charlotte Riots

2016/09/22

A Few about North Carolina

What's happening in North Carolina is heartbreaking. The loss of ANY life is a tragedy, but the answer to a violent tragedy can’t be more violence.

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, September 22, 2016

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) addressed last night's protests and riots in Charlotte, NC, during his weekly press briefing. Below are his full remarks: “I’d like to say a few words about what’s going on in Charlotte. You know, we all are seeing this on TV. These images—they’re just so heartbreaking and so upsetting. The loss of any life is a tragedy.  "The response to that, though, cannot be more violence. As leaders, it is our responsibility to promote calm, peace, and dialogue.  "We cannot allow our nation to be divided along racial lines, and so I hope leaders can come together to find solutions. That’s what we’re trying to do here in the House."

The answer to a violent tragedy can’t be more violence. As leaders, we must promote calm, peaceful dialogue. https://t.co/0DtfUBGKpQ

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 22, 2016
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Ryan accuses the Obama administration of coddling Iran

2016/09/22

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Yesterday, Speaker Ryan called out the Obama administration for coddling Iran with unprecedented cash ransom payments in exchange for unjustly detained Americans. Last night, his comments were featured on Fox News’s Special Report with Bret Baier.

Here are some highlights from the segment:

“House Speaker Paul Ryan is lashing out against Secretary of State John Kerry, saying he’s a quote ‘shill for Iran.’ The harsh criticism comes as the lawmakers examine the ramifications of a $1.7 billion payment to the Islamic Republic.”

. . . .

“With the GOP-led Congress holding fresh hearings on the secret cash payments the U.S. made to Iran in January—payments that settled a longstanding court dispute over frozen Iranian funds that were only disclosed in full in the last two weeks—the top House Republican used extraordinarily blunt language to accuse the Obama administration of coddling the Islamic regime.”

. . . .

“Ryan’s comments came after aides to Secretary of State John Kerry admitted last week that the Iran nuclear deal may have emboldened the regime to become more aggressive toward the U.S., and admitted that they couldn’t guarantee every dollar used in the payouts to Iran—$1.7 billion in all, and all in hard foreign currency—had been kept out of the hands of the terror groups that Iran sponsors.”

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Speaker Ryan, Congressional Leaders Unveil Statue of Thomas Edison of Ohio

2016/09/21

This statue captures a hint of Thomas Edison's character—a piece of his legacy—which will inspire all Americans who walk these halls. pic.twitter.com/Pd7sGebnCi

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 21, 2016

WASHINGTON—Today, leaders from the U.S. House and Senate dedicated a statue of late scientist and inventor Thomas Alva Edison during a ceremony in National Statuary Hall. Below are Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) remarks from the ceremony as prepared for delivery: “So when I heard we were unveiling a statute of Thomas Edison, my first thought was, ‘We don’t have one already?’ And when I heard which state was sponsoring the statue, my second thought was, ‘He was born in Ohio?’

“And then, after I thought it all over, I realized, ‘That actually makes perfect sense.’

“Ralph Waldo Emerson once argued that great men don’t shape their times so much as reflect them. They give voice to long-simmering frustrations and desires. They solve widely shared, longstanding problems. They also, in a funny way, take on all the quirks and contradictions of their fellow countrymen.

“In other words, they are a walking embodiment . . . of the spirit of the age. And Thomas Edison was no exception.

“Born in the middle of the 19th century—in the middle of the country—he spent his life in the middle of all the action. In his heyday, America was on the rise. It seemed like we were inventing our way to prosperity: There was the railroad, the telephone—and thanks to Edison, the lightbulb, the phonograph, and motion pictures.

“And yet for all his success and for all his fame, he maintained a distinctly American outlook.

“When the Serbian engineer Nikola Tesla applied for a job with Edison, he recalled, ‘I was thrilled to the marrow by meeting Edison, who began my American education right then and there. I wanted to have my shoes shined, something I considered beneath my dignity. Edison said, ‘You will shine the shoes yourself and like it.’’ And that’s exactly what Tesla did.

“Yes Edison had this uniquely American combination: He knew both how to self-promote and how to build a great team. He brought together the brightest minds from all over the world to work on some of the greatest inventions of their time. The team he assembled at the famous Menlo Park in New Jersey patented around four hundred inventions before moving to a bigger laboratory elsewhere.

“So, Edison, with his low-key brilliance and his leader-driven teambuilding, reflects that American contradiction, that American tradition, really—of democratic excellence—just as the people of Ohio do too. Theirs is a state that reflects the brilliant diversity and the widespread opportunity of America. So it only makes sense that they should be the ones to add this statue to our nation’s Capitol.

“When Edison died, Henry Ford urged the people at his deathbed to capture his dying breath in a test tube. Unfortunately we couldn’t capture something so fleeting. But this statue does capture a hint of his character, a piece of his legacy, which will serve to inspire the thousands of Americans who walk these halls for many years to come.

“Thank you.”

There's a new statue at the United States Capitol—Thomas Edison from Ohio. He changed the world with his inventions, and he continues to inspire Americans to push for a better, brighter future.

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday, September 21, 2016
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Speaker Ryan: The Obama administration misled the public over Iran

2016/09/21

At today’s press briefing, Speaker Ryan addressed the Obama administration’s troubling cash payments to Iran, a story that the administration has changed multiple times. Below are his remarks:

“We want America to lead. We want our enemies to fear us, and we want our allies to trust us. So what does it say when the United States repeatedly bends over backwards to accommodate the world’s No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism?

“By bend over backwards, I do not just mean all of these concessions, cash infusions, and side deals. I do not just mean sending the Secretary of State out to shill for Iran like he’s the president of the Tehran chamber of commerce. And I do not just mean paying ransom for hostages.

“We now know that the administration misled the public about the details of its arrangement with the Iranian regime. First there was a payment, but it had nothing to do with the hostages. Then it did have to do the hostages, but it wasn’t a ransom. Then the president said we couldn’t have wired the money, but all now know it turns out we could have wired the money. The administration is not just circumventing the parameters of the agreement—it is pushing legal and ethical boundaries to appease the regime.

“Now, Chairman Royce is right: we cannot let this happen again. We need to stop these cash payments. We also cannot afford to let our foreign policy keep drifting like this. This is why, as part of our Better Way agenda, we are offering a real national security agenda and vision for the country. There are 67 ideas for how we get America’s security back on track. You can learn more about these ideas at better.gop.

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: A Sluggish American Economy

2016/09/21

During his final State of the Union address, President Obama said, “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction . . . the economy has been changing in profound ways.”

"Profound ways," indeed. But probably not the ways he'd hoped for...

Sluggish economy. Just last month, the CBO projected that, for the first time in modern history, America’s economic growth will fall below 2 percent over the next 10 years. Even worse, a widely shared belief that there’d be a year-end economic boost has quickly faded.

Flat wages. While recent job reports may show some gains on paper, American workers are failing to see that progress in their paychecks. Consumer costs are continuing to rise, yet people aren’t seeing a corresponding pay increase to keep up with their bills.

Low labor participation rates. Flat wages are for the working—but many aren’t even participating in our labor force at all. When President Obama took office, the labor participation rate was 65.7 percent. Now, it’s 62.8 percent—and has been as low as 62.4 percent. That’s 94 million people who currently aren’t looking for a job.

Decline in American home ownership. A recent report from the Census Bureau revealed only 62.9 percent of Americans own their homes—the lowest percentage we’ve seen in more than 50 years.

College-educated millennials moving back in with mom and dad. Not only are Americans not buying their homes, but many can’t afford to rent, either. See recent grads. In 2014, nearly one-third of young adults lived in their parents’ home as opposed to other living arrangements. (Another first for modern history.)

Unfortunately, the list goes on. Because in spite of—or even because of—President Obama’s policies, Americans can’t keep up with the ever-rising costs.

That’s why House Republicans are offering a #BetterWay—a plan that will boost our economy in ways Americans can actually benefit from. Our agenda will help stop harmful policies that are crippling the economy—like Rep. Marino’s REVIEW Act, which puts an end to costly regulations and allows businesses to hire and invest with certainty—and jumpstart the growth we need. Learn all about this and more at better.gop

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Three Ways to Help Stop These Kinds of Attacks

2016/09/20

“I just want to say all of us are thinking and praying for the people of New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota—and especially for our first responders, who have done top-notch work protecting our country.” – Speaker Ryan, 9/19/16

As Speaker Ryan said yesterday, the recent attacks further illustrate the critical role that first responders play in keeping our communities safe every day. And as terrorist threats continue to evolve, we must ensure that the people on the frontlines—the police, firefighters, and EMTs—have the tools, training, and resources they need to prepare for and respond to potential attacks. That is why the House is acting on several bills to streamline and strengthen homeland security at the local level. 

Here are three bipartisan bills the House will act on this week: 

  • H.R. 5859, the Community Counterterrorism Preparedness Act, sponsored by Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX): This bill authorizes funding for emergency responders in major metropolitan areas to conduct training and exercises to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the most likely terrorist attack scenarios, including active shooters and the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
  • H.R. 5460, the First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act, sponsored by Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ): This bill requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop a clear and uniform process to review grant applications for first responder equipment that doesn’t meet a consensus standard or for which one doesn’t exist. This bill will make it easier for first responders to cut through red tape and acquire new technologies they will need to respond to evolving threats.
  • H.R. 5943, the Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Actsponsored by Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY): This bill improves the ability of transit agencies to prevent terror attacks by making the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) more flexible. By expanding the scope of this funding, it allows transit organizations to use their security funds more effectively for training and other purposes.

These are commonsense steps to help our first responders stay ahead of the curve when dealing with new threats.  And confronting these threats at home is a key aspect of a broader national security plan House Republicans put forward earlier this year. To learn more about our plan, visit Better.gop.

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VERIFIED: The Curious Case of the Iran Payments

2016/09/20

The ongoing eight-month saga over the curious case of the Obama administration’s payments to Iran has raised more question than answers. We still don’t know exactly why these payments were made, but facts are finally coming to light.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

VERIFIED: The administration paid a ransom. In January, the administration revealed that it paid a $1.7 billion “settlement” to Iran coinciding with the release of five unjustly detained Americans. We raised concerns at the time that a ransom was paid, but the administration refused to disclose any details about the arrangement. However, last month we learned that the payment—made in unmarked foreign cash—was airlifted to Iran, and hostages were only freed once the money was secured. The administration chalked this up to coincidental timing and strategic “leverage,” but Americans know that this was ransom.

VERIFIED: The administration lied about the payment. On August 4, President Obama explained that “The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions, and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran that we couldn’t send them a check and we could not wire the money.” Well, as the Foreign Affairs Committee notes, it turns out that was a lie. Over the weekend, we learned that the administration has wired the Iranian regime millions of dollars within the past two years—both before and after the $1.7 billion cash payment. This includes the unprecedented $8.6 million purchase from the Iranian nuclear program of heavy water. This completely undercuts repeated statements from the administration that cash payments are necessary because wiring money to Iran is impossible.

VERIFIED: There is nothing stopping this from happening again (yet). Believe it or not, there’s nothing on the books to stop something like this from happening again. Of course, we never thought a law preventing an American president from sending untraceable cash to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism would be necessary. Now it is. That’s why this week the House will consider Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce’s (R-CA) bill to block all cash payments to Iran. This would prohibit future administrations from striking more ridiculous backroom deals with Tehran to bolster the regime.

VERIFIED: These additional concessions will fund more terrorism. The reality is that these payments are dangerous concessions that go far beyond the letter of the nuclear agreement. As even President Obama and Secretary Kerry admit, gifting billions of additional dollars to Tehran will only fuel more terrorism against the United States and our allies. Paying ransoms will only threaten Americans traveling abroad. And lying to the public will only cast further doubt on the credibility and durability of this awful nuclear deal.

As Speaker Ryan said last month, “The president owes the American people a full accounting of his actions and the dangerous precedent he has set.”

We’re still waiting.

Related:

Speaker Ryan statement on Iran ransom payment

Definitely not ransom!

Six key unanswered questions about the $1.7 billion ransom payment to Iran

Here’s how we stop future ransom payments to Iran:

The one-year #Iranniversary of the Iran deal

#ThanksIran

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Top 6 Takeaways from Speaker Ryan’s Address to The Economic Club of New York

2016/09/20

Yesterday, Speaker Ryan delivered an address to The Economic Club of New York to discuss #BetterWay—a bold agenda to tackle our country’s biggest challenges. After the address, he also took questions on issues ranging from tax reform to poverty to fixing our entitlement system.

You can watch the full speech here, or check out the top six takeaways below: 

Pray for New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota

We are praying for the people of New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota—and especially our first responders. pic.twitter.com/Q9u0ArpF4Q

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 19, 2016

I Saw the Best of America

I went in expecting to see the worst of America, and I came out realizing I’d just seen the best of the America. pic.twitter.com/zSEeM1Sq6i

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 19, 2016

Fighting Poverty Person to Person

Measure success based on results rather than efforts. That's how we can beat poverty—person to person. #BetterWay pic.twitter.com/vXmf9DlcoZ

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 19, 2016

We Have to Fix Our Tax Code

Don't punish people for saving and investing → Reward them. #BetterWay pic.twitter.com/KJHKTS7AD3

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 19, 2016

Replace Obamacare and Fix Entitlements

We must replace #Obamacare and reform our entitlements to get spending under control. #BetterWay pic.twitter.com/kpyTnjCE0A

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 19, 2016

This is What American Exceptionalism Means

To believe in American exceptionalism is simply to be grateful for what God has given us. pic.twitter.com/7EiDqk1wiu

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 19, 2016

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Watch Speaker Ryan's Address at The Economic Club of New York

2016/09/19

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) addressed The Economic Club of New York, where he discussed the positive ideas House Republicans are offering to restore opportunity for the next generation. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thanks, everybody. Well, I don't have to tell you that the whole country is thinking about New York these days. In the span of just a few hours, we all realized—yet again—that terror can strike at any moment—on any street or at any train station. In this new world we're living in, nothing can be taken for granted. And nothing could sober the mind more than what's happened in this city over the past few days. So I just want to say all of us are thinking and praying for the people of New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota—and especially for our first responders, who have done top-notch work protecting our country. And I want you to know that these kinds of things don't go unnoticed. At the highest levels, all of us see this as an even more compelling reason to confront the threats we face and to do all we can to keep America safe.

“You know, I’ve been thinking about our security challenges recently. All of our challenges really. I’ve been thinking about what we’re going to do on January 20, 2017—when we’re standing face-to-face with all of our country’s problems. And you know, to be honest, when I start running through all the things we need to do, I almost get discouraged.

“I look at the dysfunction of our current divided government, and think to myself, ‘If we have four more years of divided government like the last six, we are not putting ourselves in the position to truly tackle the nation's big problems.’ Don't get me wrong. We will do everything we can to make things right—no matter who sits in what office. But it is exciting to view with our minds' eye the picture of getting our country back on track, solving our problems, restoring a confident America. I'd like to share with you what that picture looks like. 

“In other words, I'd like to share with you what it is we are actually trying to achieve with a unified Republican government. 

“We are trying to restore the American Idea for our generation. You see, there are a lot of people out there who don’t think this idea is true for them anymore—and for good reason: Over the past several years, power has been slowly slipping out of the hands of the people—and into the hands of an expansionist federal bureaucracy. It happened gradually. In the Bush years, we were so focused on the War on Terror. And in the Obama years, the president was focused on cementing the progressive legacy in place. But at this point, it’s clear we need to change our ways—because if the American Idea is not true for everybody, then it is not true at all.

“But that, of course, leads to the question: What is the American Idea? What do we stand for? And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

“When you get down to it, how you answer the question, ‘Why is America struggling?,’ depends on how you answer the question, ‘Why did America succeed?’ Sure, we’ve got a lot of natural resources—minerals, land, water. But those aren’t strictly necessary. Just look at Japan or Israel. And we’ve got a very diverse population. But then so does India. So you have to ask yourself why did this country, this one, unique country, achieve so much? And it’s because this country was based on an idea: freedom. Not race, not class, not minute petty distinctions. Other countries tried to elevate what they considered the best part of their society: the nobility or the military or the bureaucratic elite. But here in America we decided we’d do all we could to unlock the best in everyone—in every American citizen.

“That is the meaning of American exceptionalism. I know it’s not the most popular term nowadays. People think it’s arrogant or condescending. But we’re not saying the American people are inherently superior to all other countries. What we’re saying is, for whatever reason—it truly is a mystery—we were given the opportunity to prove, by our example, that people from all walks of life could live together in peace. They could deliberate and vote . . . haggle and bargain . . . and fight side by side. We’d be more than a beacon to the world; we’d be a herald of good news: Freedom is possible. In other words, to believe in American exceptionalism is simply to be grateful for what God has given us.

“Does freedom require government? Absolutely, no question. Who could succeed in a country where the town bully could steal your stuff? Where you couldn’t bank on your neighbor’s word? Where the law of the land was no more than a passing whim? In this country, if you build it, if you grow it, if you work for it, it is yours. You have earned it. That is a core principle. And it simply wouldn’t be possible without government—without property rights and contracts and the rule of law. Nobody understands that better than conservatives. And nobody is more proud of our founding, governing documents: the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

“Nope, there’s no argument there. Government can be a force for good—when it empowers the individual . . . when it gives us the information we need to make our own decisions . . . when it wins more customers for our products across the globe . . . when it lays down clear, firm rules for all of us to live by. Because when government does that, it creates a free market, where millions of people can buy, sell, trade, build, and work their way to a better life. We all can attest to the incredible power of free people working together. It has built the greatest economy the world has ever seen.

“Now, are we skeptical of government? You bet we are. Our tax code shouldn’t look like a block of Swiss cheese. No law of ours should run longer than War and Peace. But our skepticism comes not from a hate of government but from a love of individual freedom.

“And it’s one thing to have read your von Mises and your Hayek and your Uncle Miltie. It’s one thing to understand, on a purely intellectual level, the economic need to empower the individual. But when you see it in person—and in the most unlikely of places—why, that’s a whole new ball game. That’s when you realize it’s not just good policy; it’s a moral imperative. Suddenly, you start to ask yourself, what else is America for—if not for the people who want to start over? Who could be more American than the person who’s been to hell and back? What is the American Dream if not the search for redemption?

“And I’ve got to tell you, to hear these stories and to meet these people—it’s a huge morale boost. I have been discussing our nation’s problems with the best policy minds out there for years. And they’re brilliant and all. But take it from me, if you’re looking for a few words of encouragement, the last person you should ask is an economist. Our problems kept multiplying, and no one seemed to know the way forward. And that’s when I started to think, you know, when you’re in a jam, it’s good to have a sense of history. But what you really need is creativity—an ability to take adversity and turn it into opportunity.

“So I decided to try a different tack. For the past four years, I’ve been going around the country with my friend Bob Woodson and visiting some of the poorest communities in America. I’ve been to drug clinics, homeless shelters, you name it. And you know, I went in thinking all I’d see would be shuttered homes and shattered lives. But that’s not at all what I saw. What I saw was the drug dealer who had become a drug counselor, the tough guy who had become a family man, the gang leader who had become an entrepreneur. I saw the small businesses they created, the support groups they formed, the loving families they had rebuilt. In other words, I went in expecting to see the worst of America, and I came out realizing I’d just seen the best of the America.

“I’ll give you just one example. At Pulaski High School in Milwaukee, there’s something called the Violence-Free Zone program. The school hires about five young graduates to mentor the next generation. But these are not your garden-variety guidance counselors. These are ex-gang members, people who know the streets. And that’s precisely why they have the credibility to tell kids, ‘Don’t make the same mistakes I did.’ Pulaski started this program just a few years back. And what happened? Suspensions went down. Attendance went up. There used to be fourteen gangs that roamed the school grounds. Today, they’ve all but disappeared. And the principal had tried all sorts of things to keep students safe—a bigger police presence, more cameras. But only this program worked.

“Now, I could say to you, how fortunate to see the crime rate decline—or how encouraging to see the graduation rate rise. But that’s not the reason I love this story. I love this story because I saw, with my own two eyes, the American Idea come to life—for real, flesh-and-blood human beings. Here were people who had lost their way, now finding their place in life. Here was the power of people working together to turn around their lives. You may not read about them in Fortune or the Wall Street Journal. They may not grow up to be rich people or famous people. But without a doubt, they are growing up to be free people—upstanding citizens—good-hearted Americans. They are applying our free-market principles in a distinct, new way. They are social entrepreneurs.

“And they are the reason that I am optimistic—because you walk away from your experience thinking, ‘What talent. What drive. What courage.’ You walk away thinking, ‘You know, we need them. We need to get them and others back into the economy. It’s only when we start chipping away at that 94 million people out of the work force that we’ll really make a dent in that $19 trillion in debt. We need the federal government to work with them, not against them. And here’s the thing: They are more than eager to do it. They’re ready. They can’t wait to get started.’ That’s when you think to yourself, ‘If they can beat their odds, then who are we to complain about ours?’

“But, of course, it’s not enough to praise the success stories. We need to change our laws so that we see more of them. Our policy platform must be more than an ode to the power of positive thinking.

“Look, this presidential race is getting very tight. I think we have a real opportunity here to win a mandate for unified Republican governance. That’s why House Republicans and I are offering what we’re calling A Better Way. This is the agenda we want to pursue with the next president. And it is our answer to some of the biggest challenges we face: poverty, national security, the economy, restoring the Constitution, health care, tax reform. I’d be remiss if I didn’t plug our website: better.gop. Go there if you want to read the whole thing. But let me paint you a picture of what we can achieve.

“I think we can expand opportunity for all of our people—especially those who need it most. You know, these days, the person paying the highest effective marginal tax rate isn’t Warren Buffett; it isn’t Aaron Rodgers. It’s the single mom with two kids making something like $28,000 a year. If she finds a job that pays just a little bit more, she’ll be losing 80 cents on the dollar to take that step forward—which is a huge disincentive to work and to advance. We call this the poverty trap. It’s the result of having almost 80 different federal anti-poverty programs, as we do today, with almost no coordination among them. Once you add up all the benefits she’ll lose and all the new taxes she’ll pay, it just doesn’t make sense to take that job.

“We’ve got to change that. So we’re saying, let’s give states the flexibility to try innovative and new things. Then the states can coordinate with the people who are already fighting poverty on the ground and winning—groups like the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, America Works. We need to get the public sector and the private sector, the non-profit sector and the for-profit sector—all of these sectors working together and pulling in the same direction. Customize welfare benefits to meet a person’s needs and to always reward work. Measure success based on results rather than efforts. That’s how we can beat poverty—person to person, eye to eye, soul to soul.

“Yes, outdated policies are holding people back—and they’re holding our whole economy back. If we want to create more good-paying jobs in America, then we need to fix our tax code. You know, where I come from, overseas is Lake Superior. And the Canadians are taxing their businesses at 15 percent. But our tax rate on successful small businesses is 44.6 percent right now. We also have the highest corporate tax in the industrialized world. So we are taxing American businesses at a much higher rate than other countries are taxing theirs.

“We want to make our tax code simpler, flatter, fairer. Bring the number of tax brackets down from 7 to 3. Lower rates for everybody. Bring the top individual rate down to 33 percent. Close those special-interest loopholes. Consolidate those deductions and credits. Make it so simple that the average American can do their taxes on a postcard. But also cut taxes on small business. Lower their top rate to 25 percent. Cut our corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent. Stop taxing people when they bring money into our country. Stop taxing new investments. Don’t punish people for saving and investing. Reward them. The Tax Foundation says this plan would create 1.7 million new jobs right here in America.

“What we’re proposing to build is not so much a more competitive America but a more collaborative one. We want to trade in the old, top-down bureaucratic government for a bottom-up, organic society where the opportunity is real and plentiful. Because as we all know, it is only in the collaborative environment of free enterprise that the individual can truly flourish.

“These are the commonsense ideas we need to get America back on track. These are the ideas that will put power back into the hands of the people—back into the hands that pay the taxes and meet the mortgage and make this country work. These are the ideas that can solve our seemingly insurmountable problems. This what we need to do to restore the American Idea. You know, if we keep kicking the can down the road, then people really are going to give up hope. And what a shame that would be. But if we put the right reforms in place, I know we can get this right.

“To feel anxious at a time like this—well, that’s only natural. But pessimism is a choice. The happy warrior doesn’t shrink from a fight. He accepts the challenge with joy. For all of our problems, for all of our doubts, I know we can turn things around—because I have faith in the American people. Look, there’s no one in this country—and I mean no one—who sits around, thinking, ‘Boy, I wish my life were empty and meaningless.’ Nobody does that. And that’s why we shouldn’t write anybody off—least of all, our fellow citizens. All of us want to be defined, not by our segment of society, but by our contribution to it. So when we see people struggling, it is the rules—and the rule-makers—that have failed, not the people.

“None of this is automatic. None of this is easy. The American way of life is always a work in progress. And the challenges we face are very stark. But this is our generation’s calling, and we must answer that call. So let’s go to work, together, in high spirits, with firm resolve, and rebuild the country we love."

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Weekly Republican Address: The Constitution Is What Makes America Exceptional

2016/09/17

WASHINGTON—In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) celebrates Constitution Day by discussing how a #BetterWay will restore accountable government and the separation of powers. “Our Better Way plan seeks to restore the separation of powers in at least a few important ways,” said Rep. Rothfus. He continued, “These Better Way reforms are a good start, but the work of defending the Constitution is the work of every generation. It is how we live up to the legacy of our founders. It is how we keep America exceptional.” NOTE: The audio of the weekly address is available here, and the video will be available on speaker.gov.

Remarks of Representative Keith Rothfus of Pennsylvania Weekly Republican Address Washington, DC September 17, 2016

By listening to the American people, Republicans have developed a positive agenda to get our country back on track. We’re calling it A Better Way. A Better Way would not only restore American leadership in the world, it would generate a healthy expansion of our economy that would increase job opportunities, lift wages, and help us keep the commitments we've made to our seniors and veterans. You can learn more about these ideas by going to better.gop. Our plan addresses the need to reform government itself, and that’s what I would like to focus on here. Because today is Constitution Day. Two-hundred twenty-nine years ago today, a group of visionaries—including Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and George Washington—emerged from Independence Hall having signed the final draft of the blueprint for our federal government.

Theirs was a vision for a new kind of government, one based on freedom not force. Our Founders recognized that in our country, the government would operate by the consent of the governed. And so to guard against arbitrary power, there would instead be a separation of powers among three branches of government. This all sounds so simple, but in recent years, we’ve seen an erosion of these principles.

A regulatory superstate has replaced the sovereignty of the people. So-called experts in Washington churn out all kinds of rules and red tape without accountability, hurting millions of Americans. For example, the misguided regulation of community banks under Dodd-Frank, Washington's financial control law, is harming consumers and families. Prior to Dodd Frank, 75 percent of community banks offered free checking; today it’s down to 39 percent. Ten dollars a month may not seem like much to Washington bureaucrats with six figure salaries, but it is to the 75 percent of American people living paycheck to paycheck.  

Similar harm has been done in healthcare, where millions have been harmed by skyrocketing premiums and deductibles, and in the energy industry, where tens of thousands have lost jobs since President Obama’s 2008 promise to bankrupt the coal industry.

That is why Americans want the people from their area—their representative—making the laws, not the unaccountable bureaucrats who live in a far off capital.  We also need to get back to basics regarding the fundamental freedoms our Constitution protects. We have seen threats, for example, to First and Second Amendment rights in recent years. Indeed, my own Diocese of Pittsburgh, as well as the Little Sisters of the Poor, had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to protect the right to exercise their religion against an overbearing regulatory agency.

Our Better Way plan seeks to restore the separation of powers in at least a few important ways: We propose that Congress actually write laws in clear language that provides clear lines of authority—no gray areas that allow unelected bureaucrats to run amok; we propose new limits on spending, so that Congress and the people have the ultimate say over how your tax dollars are being spent; and we want to increase transparency across the board. Make government publish more information about what it’s doing, and especially, what it’s regulating. After all, this is the people’s business.

These Better Way reforms are a good start, but the work of defending the Constitution is the work of every generation. It is how we live up to the legacy of our founders. It is how we keep America exceptional. 

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Statement on POW/MIA Recognition Day

2016/09/16

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement to commemorate National POW/MIA Recognition Day:

“Today is a somber day—a day of remembrance for those men and women who stepped up to serve our country and never came home. We will never fully know the trials they endured, but we know that their courage and sacrifices have shaped the fabric of our nation. We know that they are heroes. For that, we salute them and we honor them. We pray for them and their loved ones.”

 

We may never know the trials they endured, but we salute & honor America’s #POWMIA heroes. https://t.co/8yrcxSb1Ml pic.twitter.com/PkyJYN083w

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 16, 2016
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On Constitution Day, Rep. Keith Rothfus Will Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2016/09/16

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, September 17. Marking Constitution Day, Rep. Rothfus’s address will detail House Republicans’ commitment to a government that works for its people and restoring the separation of powers—part of the Constitution plank of the #BetterWay agenda.

Washington bureaucrats are churning out rules and regulations at a record pace without Americans’ consent or input, destroying jobs and forcing businesses overseas. It’s no wonder why Americans feel they have no voice in Washington,” said Rep. Rothfus. “That is why, this Constitution Day, I wanted to share what our Better Way agenda will do to restore the separation of powers, so that the people—not Washington bureaucrats—are sovereign once again.”

Our government needs to be three things: accountable, representative, and transparent. Unfortunately, it’s been anything but for the last eight years,” said Speaker Ryan. “Our Better Way agenda will restore Americans’ confidence in their government—one that upholds the Constitution and holds all three branches to the same standard. On Constitution Day, Rep. Rothfus’s address comes at an important time with an even more important message.”

Rep. Keith Rothfus is passionate about ensuring that America remains the land of opportunity and freedom that the Founders intended it to be. He was sworn in on January 3, 2013 and is serving his second term in the United States House of Representatives. Rep. Rothfus serves on the Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. His Financial Services work enables him to promote policies for a competitive economy that will result in more jobs and better wages.

To learn more about Rep. Rothfus, follow him on Twitter, like his Facebook page, or visit his website.

Note: The weekly Republican address will be available starting in Saturday, September 17 at 6:00 am. ET on speaker.gov.  

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Ryan to Obama: Implement Sanctions Against North Korea

2016/09/15

RT to tell President Obama to enforce sanctions against North Korea ⇩ pic.twitter.com/wJye3J7Llw

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 15, 2016

Today, Speaker Ryan ramped up pressure on President Obama to take swift action against North Korea in light of Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test. In particular, he urged the administration to implement the strict sanctions enacted in February, which would help cut off North Korea from its financial sponsors.

Speaker Ryan's full remarks:

“Earlier this week I met with leaders of Korea—a delegation led by the speaker of their assembly—to reaffirm our strategic alliance, which is particularly important in light of North Korea launching its second nuclear test of the year. In February, we enacted new sanctions to cut the Kim regime off from the global financial system. Unfortunately, the president has failed to make use of these authorities. I do support the announced overflight exercises with South Korea. But the president must enforce these sanctions to isolate North Korea. This administration’s continued policy of strategic patience clearly is not working. We need concrete action, and we need concrete action soon."

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Speaker Ryan Discusses Survivors' Rights, #BetterWay Initiatives

2016/09/15

Today, Speaker Ryan opened his weekly press conference by discussing the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act—legislation recently passed by the House to protect victims of sexual assault: “Every 109 seconds, another American becomes a victim of sexual assault. Every 109 seconds. “The survivors of these heinous crimes should be afforded the full protection of the law. Too often, however, that’s just not the case these days. Evidence is not properly collected or preserved. The laws tend to vary from state to state. It’s all a complicated patchwork.

“After all these survivors have endured, the last thing they should have to deal with is a broken system.

“And that is why the House just recently passed the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act. It will provide—for the first time—a clear and consistent set of protections for the survivors of sexual assault. This came together in the House thanks to Mimi Walters and Zoe Lofgren. Chuck Grassley’s taking the lead over in the Senate. We hope to get a final bill to the president’s desk very soon.” Speaker Ryan also discussed what a good week it has been for the #BetterWay agenda—including bills to improve education, health care, regulations, and the VA: “This has been another good week for the Better Way agenda. The House has passed: Glenn Thompson’s bill to improve career and technical education, which is critical to getting more people on the ladder of opportunity.

“We passed Martha McSally’s bill to protect seniors from another Obamacare tax increase.

“We passed Tim Walberg’s bill to make agencies post more information online about pending regulations. Believe it or not, the White House calls this idea ‘burdensome.’

“And we passed Jeff Miller’s bill to boost accountability at the VA, and overhaul the disability benefits appeals process—something that those of us in Congress work a lot on, and it’s been extremely frustrating for our veterans.

“I could go on and on, but for now, I’ll just encourage everyone to learn more about these ideas by going to better.gop and look at the concrete solutions that we’re offering.” 

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Statement on Gitmo Detainee Releases

2016/09/15

BREAKING: The House just passed legislation to prohibit the transfer of any detainee from #Gitmo. https://t.co/mUkBFe25nr

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 15, 2016

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on House passage of H.R. 5351, Rep. Jackie Walorski’s (R-IN) bill to prohibit the transfer of any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay:

“The news that two more former Guantanamo detainees have returned to the fight underscores the need for this action. The administration should heed the will of the House and cease its planned transfers of more terrorists back to their host countries. For the president, this is about keeping a campaign promise. For us, this is about keeping Americans safe. I appreciate Congresswoman Walorski bringing this timely bill to the floor.”

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: A VA That Fails Our Veterans

2016/09/15

The promise: “We’re going to do right by our veterans across the board, as long as it takes. We’re not going to stop working to make sure that they get the care, the benefits and the opportunities that they’ve earned and they deserve. I said we wouldn’t tolerate misconduct, and we will not. I said that we have to do better, and we will.” –President Obama, 5/30/14, after accepting the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki The reality: The misconduct was in fact tolerated. Bonuses for bureaucrats continued. Instead of doing better, wait times actually got worse. The excuses piled up. And all the while, the president never put forward a comprehensive plan to fix the VA. So the VA has continued to languish, jumping from crisis to crisis without giving veterans any confidence that things will get better. The runaround: The VA won’t even acknowledge its problems, let alone confront them. The agency rejected a report by its own inspector general that said veterans died while waiting for they care. It fought the release of records tied to brain injury exams. It fired an employee who sought help for disability pay issues. Just recently, the VA stopped sharing required performance data about the quality of care at its hospitals. (The agency says it will resume the practice.) Yeah, that was bad: In January 2015, President Obama’s motorcade passed by—but didn’t stop at—the Phoenix hospital at the heart of the VA scandal. Veterans had lined up in front of the building hoping that the president make a stop. (He got around to it later in the year.) This wasn’t so great either: Earlier this year, VA Secretary Robert McDonald tried to spin the wait time problems at the VA by asking, “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?” That didn’t go over so wellAnd this is just inexcusable: The VA's culture is so lax that some calls to a suicide hotline were being transferred to voicemail. This is still going on too: The VA can’t—or won’t—account for how the cost of a single hospital construction project in Denver ballooned by $1.1 billion. When asked to explain it, the VA’s deputy secretary said, “you’re not going to find a dollar-by-dollar account.” To be fair, VA officials did end up putting together a report on what happened. They just won’t make it public. Good news: The House has passed a series of reforms to improve the VA, most recently the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act, which makes it easier to get rid of bureaucrats that are failing our veterans and overhaul the department’s broken disability benefits appeals process. There’s a better way: Our national security plan calls for a 21st-century VA. We should honor those who served by modernizing the institutions that serve them, improving the military retirement and health care systems, strengthening mental health research, and enhancing transparency and accountability at the VA. Servicemembers, veterans, and their families should always receive quality care and services in a timely, convenient, and efficient manner. Learn more by going to better.gop.

A reminder for bureaucrats at the VA ⇒ America’s #veterans are sacred. The VA is not. pic.twitter.com/X2DiJuyDsv

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 13, 2016
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Speaker Ryan Honors the Life of Congressman Takai

2016/09/14

WASHINGTON—Today, the House of Representatives honored the life of Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI) with a memorial service in Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol. During the ceremony, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following remarks as prepared for delivery:

"When I think of Mark Takai, the first thing that comes to mind is a lighter moment. Just a few months after I became speaker, Mark made sure to give me an Aloha shirt. He was determined to convince me to allow Aloha wear on the House floor during Friday votes. He made a heck of a pitch.

"And I think that shirt almost symbolizes his most distinctive qualities: his zest for life, his pride in his heritage, and, of course, his persuasive gifts. He was a dear colleague.

"Not everyone receives such an outpouring of grief when they pass. But that was the kind of man Mark was.

"You can feel his absence now—precisely because he was such a presence in our lives. Funny, joyful, caring, committed. I wish there was a way we could’ve captured his spirit and saved it for the future. And in a way, there is: all the memories he left behind.

"He said he was proud to have served the people of Hawaii. Well, all of us were proud to have known him, to have served with him, to have called him our friend and colleague.

"I will be praying for him, his wife Sami, and their two children. But I also thank God for bringing him into our lives, even for such a short but sweet time.

"Mahalo, Mark."

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Ryan Celebrates New Librarian of Congress

2016/09/14

As the largest library in the world, the @LibraryCongress is a national treasure. https://t.co/SiQ8m8w8Fb pic.twitter.com/HgXLnCXGW2

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 14, 2016

WASHINGTON — Today, Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th librarian of Congress. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) attended the ceremony, and below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

"In 1815, Thomas Jefferson sold most of his library to Congress, partly because he was a patriot—but mostly because he was broke. The British had burned the original Library of Congress when they invaded Washington the year before. And though a later fire destroyed most of Jefferson’s books, we still have some of them. They make up the heart of the library we have today.

"Jefferson, as you all know, was a unique man. Other people arranged their books alphabetically or by size. But he divided his library into three sections that corresponded with the three main faculties of the mind: memory, reason, and imagination. And when you stop to think about it, those are the very same qualities that define Dr. Hayden.

"First, as a librarian herself, she has the institutional memory necessary to run the largest library in the world. That’s a long way of saying she’s a total pro. Second, she understands the need to bring the library into the digital age. We have millions of documents that almost nobody knows about. It’d be a shame if they were lost to the world out of mere inconvenience.

"But it’s that third quality—imagination—that I think is so important. We all think of America as the land of promise—the place where people from all walks of life could get their start, whether farming on the frontier or working in a factory. But the public library itself is an icon of opportunity. It is a safe haven where people can go to learn and feed their ever hungry imagination.

"I think of the writer James Baldwin, who as a young man, would go to the library and read every book he could get his hands on. When he was done, he’d bring the books home with him, and there’d he be, holding a younger sibling in one arm and a book in the other. What would have happened to James Baldwin if there had been no public library? A great mind would have been starved of material.

"And nobody knows this better than Dr. Hayden. She was widely praised for keeping open her library during Baltimore’s unrest last year. But for her, it was the only real choice. She seems to come from sturdy stock. One day, when she told her 83-year-old mother that she was heading to the library, which was then right in the middle of all the trouble, her mother replied, 'Oh, make sure you have coffee.'

"Yes, our next librarian is an accomplished woman, and I have every confidence that she will make us all proud. Jefferson once said, 'I cannot live without books.' Neither can we. The Library of Congress is a national treasure. And with Dr. Hayden at the helm, I know it is in good hands. Congratulations."

Our @LibnOfCongress is an accomplished woman. I’m sure she’ll make all of us proud. https://t.co/SiQ8m8w8Fb pic.twitter.com/PFVoz0mhIj

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 14, 2016
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Here’s how we stop future ransom payments to Iran:

2016/09/14

BREAKING → The House just passed @RepEdRoyce's bill to ban ALL cash ransom payments to #Iran. pic.twitter.com/uT9W8iqrA5

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 23, 2016

To be honest, we never imagined legislation prohibiting cash payments to Iran would be necessary. Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee is considering Chairman Ed Royce’s (R-CA) bill to prevent future administrations from strapping millions of unmarked foreign dollars to pallets and airlifting them to Tehran. In fact, it would make any cash payments of any kind to Iran illegal.

We never believed an American president would circumvent the financial sanctions regime that the U.S. government put in place in order to pay a ransom to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. We never believed these facts would be withheld from the public for months until exposed by the press. And yet here we are.

Call it whatever you’d like—leverage, a settlement, a coincidence, a quid pro quo—but the American people aren’t fooled. This was ransom, plain and simple.

This $1.7 billion payment to Iran sets a dangerous precedent that puts a price on the head of Americans traveling abroad. Without this bill, future administrations could enter similar agreements and provide similar feeble explanations.

As we continue to press the administration for answers about this payment, Chairman Royce’s bill is necessary to prevent this from ever happening again. 

As Speaker Ryan recently said“The president and his administration have been misleading us since January about whether he ransomed the freedom of the Americans unjustly imprisoned in Iran. The president owes the American people a full accounting of his actions and the dangerous precedent he has set."

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This is why our troops haven’t gotten a pay raise yet

2016/09/14

Last week, a leaked memo exposed Pentagon officials advocating for a presidential veto of the annual national defense bill, which gives a well-deserved pay raise to our troops. In stark political terms, the memo puts forth a strategy to “play hardball” and “attack” efforts to make the bill law by using President Obama’s veto pen as a “weapon.” 

But beyond the bluster, what’s going on here? 

The administration’s political gamesmanship reveals a dangerous priority: it is willing to block military resources and a pay raise for our troops until the president gets more money for his bureaucratic pet projects. And Democrats in Congress are doing their best to make sure the president gets his way. When Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid blocked a defense bill from moving forward in the Senate in July, the New York Times noted that “Democrats showed no remorse.”

While this political posturing is shameless, it’s not surprising. This White House has a long track record of placing politics above all else.  In fact, the President attempted this same gambit last year and even held an official veto photo-op in the Oval Office to mark the occasion.

Make no mistake, the administration’s approach attempts to use our men and women in uniform as pawns to gain political leverage. In the meantime, our military is facing serious readiness challenges. Our troops and their families deserve so much better. We need to end the games and get serious about building a 21st century military. That’s why Speaker Ryan has called on Secretary Carter to “recant this strategy, and work with us in good faith to pass a defense bill.”

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We Need A Strong U.S.-Korea Relationship

2016/09/13

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after meeting with a delegation of Korean leaders led by Speaker of the National Assembly Chung Sye-kyun, Saenuri Party Assembly Leader Chung Jin-suk, Minjoo Party Assembly Leader Woo Sang-ho, and People’s Party Assembly Leader Park Jie-won:

“Strong U.S.-Korea economic and defense ties are critical to the safety and prosperity of both nations, as well as broader stability in the peninsula. I appreciated the opportunity to reaffirm our alliance with the delegation this afternoon.” 

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#BetterWay: “This Is An Opportunity Bill”

2016/09/13

A short while ago, the House began debate on H.R. 5587. Authored by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), this initiative will strengthen career and technical education programs, helping to connect students with good-paying jobs and careers.

This is an opportunity bill” is how Rep. Thompson recently described his Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. “We are helping people get good-paying jobs. We are providing an exit strategy from poverty, for people to attain the American Dream.”

Indeed, this bill is an important part of our Better Way plan to fight poverty, which is focused on making sure work always pays. Instead of replacing work, we want to encourage work.

One way we can do this by improving skills and schools, so that students are ready to step up and compete for the best jobs.  For many young people, career and technical education (CTE) programs offer a stepping stone to success, and instill the confidence to make the most of their potential.

CTE programs are especially critical at a time when more than 94 million Americans are not taking part in the labor force. The Los Angeles Times notes that  “many households that once had middle-class incomes have not recovered since losing work in manufacturing and other higher-paying jobs, with some of them dropping out of the labor force and becoming impoverished.

This is where Rep. Thompson’s initiative comes in. The Education and the Workforce Committee has the full rundown on what the bill does, but in short, it empowers states and local leaders to improve CTE programs so they can focus on helping all students find high-skill, high-wage jobs.

We redefine the role of the federal government and empower the state and at the local school level,” Rep. Thompson says. "We bring business and industry a front seat to determine what are the in-demand skill sets that they cannot fill.”

It’s a good idea, and of course, a better way

UPDATE: The House passed this Better Way initiative 405-5. 

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House will vote to prohibit the transfer of any Gitmo detainees

2016/09/13

The president wants to release more dangerous terrorist back onto the battlefield. We're taking action to stop him.https://t.co/b25ewkLRbc

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 13, 2016

Right now, it’s already illegal for the president to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to American soil. These restrictions were first passed under a Democrat-controlled Congress in 2009, and they’ve been renewed annually ever since.

However, there’s nothing to stop the president from rushing through transfers of detainees to other countries. In fact, the administration has already cleared 20 of the remaining 61 detainees at Gitmo for release.

Why is this so dangerous?

Well, according to the Director of National Intelligence, nearly one-third of released detainees return to terrorism. We’re talking about releasing some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists back onto the battlefield.

And that’s not all.

To make matters worse, in May we learned that the administration knowingly approved the transfer of detainees despite the receiving country lacking the resources necessary to prevent their return to terrorism.

That’s why the House will vote this week on Rep. Jackie Walorski’s (R-IN) bill to prohibit the transfer of any detainee, period.  

For the president, this is about keeping a failed campaign promise. For Congress, it’s about keeping the American people safe.

RT to agree → President Obama should not release these dangerous terrorists from #Gitmo.https://t.co/b25ewkLRbc pic.twitter.com/e9wcfsYb8f

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 13, 2016
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Speaker Ryan Announces Departure of Anne Bradbury

2016/09/13

Hugh Halpern to serve as new Floor Director for the speaker 

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today announced that Anne Bradbury will depart as Director of Floor Operations, and he has named Hugh Halpern, the current Staff Director at the House Rules Committee, to succeed her:

"Anne makes this place tick, and it won’t be the same without her,” Speaker Ryan said. “No matter the situation, you can always look to Anne for a solution. She has made countless contributions to the House with her wisdom, steadiness, and leadership, but what everyone, including me, will miss the most is how great a person she truly is. On behalf of the whole House, I thank Anne for her service, and wish her all the best.”

"We could not ask for a more qualified person to step into this role than Hugh Halpern,” Ryan added. “No one knows the rules of the House better than Hugh, and he is trustedand respectedby every member of the institution. I’m excited to have him on the team." 

Bradbury will leave the Office of the Speaker next month after more than a decade in floor operations, including the last six years as Floor Director for Speaker Ryan and former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Halpern, a 29-year veteran of Capitol Hill, has served as staff director of the House Rules Committee since January 2005. Over the course of his career, he has worked for a number of committees, including the Public Works and Transportation Committee, the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Financial Services Committee, as well as the first Select Committee on Homeland Security.

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: Benghazi

2016/09/10

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice. 

Next up, Benghazi. As we mark the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attack that took the lives of four brave Americans, we are reminded of the president’s failed foreign policy legacy.

The promise: “We knew that if we wanted—if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world. It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen.—President Obama, 3/28/2011

The reality: President Obama delivered these remarks less than a year before the Benghazi attack in justifying U.S. intervention in Libya, which he claimed was necessary to prevent the Gaddafi regime from massacring Libyan civilians. However, in executing this strategy his administration failed to protect the selfless Americans serving our country in Libya. The result was the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods.

Our Select Committee issued a fact-based report earlier this summer detailing the administration’s failure to protect our personnel in Benghazi.

Repeated security requests were routinely denied by Secretary Hillary Clinton’s State Department in the months leading up to the terrorist attack in Benghazi.

No response team was ever activated throughout the 13-hour attack, even though deployable assets were available just a few hours away.

A video tape was initially blamed publicly for inspiring the assault on Benghazi despite evidence that the administration knew privately that it was a coordinated terrorist attack.

There’s a better way: The terrorist attack in Benghazi was the direct result of a weak foreign policy spearheaded by President Obama and Secretary Clinton in Libya. There is a better way to restore American leadership, protect those who serve our country overseas, and keep the homeland safe. Learn more about our plan at better.gop

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A Portrait of the Man from Monticello

2016/09/09

He's the man from Monticello. The dean of the Kentucky delegation. The chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations. And after more than 40 years of service to the nation, in both the National Guard and the House of Representatives, Hal Rogers will have a portrait hung in Congress as a testament to his life's work.

After 40+ years of service in the @USNationalGuard and the House, @RepHalRogers will have a portrait in Congress. pic.twitter.com/oPMwwxCnB8

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 9, 2016
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Speaker Ryan Remarks at 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

2016/09/09

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) made the following remarks at a congressional remembrance ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of September 11:

“Today, I can’t help but think of my own children—and all the children born after 9/11. Do they fully understand what happened that day? Will they ever? Can they? They can watch the old footage. They can see clips of the towers falling. They can hear the great roar as a landmark comes crashing down—and with it, an era. But can they actually feel it? I've had so many conversations with my own kids about this, about the shock . . . the terror . . . the outrage. Can they feel the sense of bereavement—at losing almost 3,000 Americans in a single morning? I don’t think they can. But that makes it our generation’s burden. We lived through that terrible day. And we will never forget that terrible day.

“Today, though, we aren’t here to relive the tragedy, but to remember it—and to honor its memory. None of us would ever choose to go through that day again. But all of us must choose what it is we take away from it. I think of the firefighters—the people who went rushing into danger when the whole world was running away from it. I remember you couldn't get a flight, just driving home. I remember all those flags appearing on overpasses across this country as if these flags suddenly appeared to bind up the nation’s wounds. These are the stories that we can pass on. We can turn our burden of grief into a gift of grace—because our children may not fully understand the horror of it all. But they can admire the heroism.

“That is how all of them—and all of us—can mark this anniversary. We can tell the stories. We need to tell the stories. We need to pray for the fallen. And in this small but meaningful way, we can begin to understand the pain and the promise of this great nation.”

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Statement on North Korea Nuclear Test

2016/09/09

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on North Korea’s nuclear test:

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms this latest nuclear test by North Korea, which continues to threaten our allies and defy the international community with its belligerent behavior. This destabilizing activity is also a consequence of the administration’s failed policy of strategic patience and its hollow pivot to Asia. The president should immediately make full use of the sanctions authorities Congress gave him earlier this year, and he should join me in urging China, as Pyongyang’s chief sponsor, to fully enforce the international sanctions on the Kim regime.”

 

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#BetterWay: House Passes Bill to Unburden Small Businesses

2016/09/08

WASHINGTON—Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2357, the Accelerating Access to Capital Act, legislation authored by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) and passed by the House Financial Services Committee to remove unfair burdens on small businesses. Upon passage, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement:

“Small businesses cannot grow if their resources are swallowed by the government. This bill simplifies redundant regulations so businesses can spend less time on paperwork and more time hiring workers and expanding their companies. Our economy is nothing without productive small businesses—this bill offers a better way to encourage success by expanding capital access and removing unnecessary burdens. I’m proud to support it.”

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Speaker Ryan Discusses Zika, Defense Bill at Weekly Press Briefing

2016/09/08

Earlier this summer, the House did its job and passed legislation to address the public health crisis that is Zika—but Senate Democrats, blocking it for the third time this week, continue to put politics ahead of legislating. Speaker Ryan discussed this and more at his weekly press briefing:

On Suicide Prevention Week:“First, I want to note that this is Suicide Prevention Week. In a given year, roughly one in five Americans suffer from some kind of mental illness. One in five.

“As you know, the House has passed landmark reforms to change the way our health care system deals with mental illness. This legislation’s not going to solve all of the problems, but it’s a very, very important step, and we really hope that this bill becomes law.

On protecting the public from the Zika virus:“Next, even in a government as divided as ours, there are some things that should remain above politics. That, of course, includes dealing with a public health crisis such as the Zika virus.

“That is why the House—in July—the House passed a plan to make sure the resources go to where they are needed most.

“I will remind you that this plan is a compromise. It is the full funding level that the Senate supported, and it is only partially offset. Yet the Senate Democrats voted not once, not twice, but three times—the Senate Democrats voted three times to block this.

“They need to get past the politics, and work with us to protect the public.

On giving our military the resources it needs:“Another matter that should be above politics is making sure that our men and women in uniform—they get the resources they need to do their job.

“We have passed the defense authorization bill for decades on a bipartisan basis. This week we learned of a Pentagon memo that lays out in detail a plan to—and I’m quoting—‘play hardball’ with our national defense bill.

“This bill is a bill that both parties have always worked on together. It provides for a pay raise for our troops. But the memo describes a veto of that pay raise—and I’m quoting again—to use it as a ‘principal weapon at our disposal.’

“When you consider our readiness crisis, it is an abdication of responsibility for this administration and its officials to use our military as political leverage. Quite frankly, they ought to be ashamed of this memo. My hope is that Secretary Carter will recant this strategy, and work with us in good faith to pass a defense bill.

“This is exactly why we are offering a better way for national security—so that we can truly build a 21st-century military, and have a strategy that keeps us safe and doesn’t play politics with our military. You can learn more about this by going to better.gop.”

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Speaker Ryan Talks Oversight, #BetterWay on Hugh Hewitt

2016/09/08

This morning, Speaker Ryan called in to The Hugh Hewitt Show to catch up with the radio host. In the interview, Speaker Ryan touched on two important—and timely—topics: congressional oversight and the #BetterWay agenda.

To kick off the conversation, Hugh asked Speaker Ryan if the House is being denied its constitutional oversight by the FBI in its investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server. In short: yes. He explained:

Yes, and it’s not the first time we’ve experienced this. I was part of the IRS investigation in my last job here in Congress, and I would say it’s a very, very similar story. It’s a story of stonewalling. The reason we know about these things is because of our investigation, our oversight. Jason Chaffetz is doing a great job. You know all of these things that you just discussed because of our oversight. But as we do this oversight, we see more obfuscation. We see more misleading. We see that the claims that were made six months, a year ago about servers and emails and devices were false when they were made—knowingly false. So we clearly see that she’s not being truthful. . . . So this is not a new story, unfortunately . . . but it’s an ongoing one—and that, to me, is very alarming.”

After all, the FBI is not supposed to be political:

The FBI’s not supposed to be minimizing political damage or political stories—they’re supposed to be getting to the truth and holding people accountable. And so when they make things like this, it makes them look political.”

That’s why House Republicans are prioritizing congressional oversight and the separation of powers—to ensure the rule of law is followed by every branch of government. How? It’s part of the Better Way agenda:

"We’re doing our oversight, trying to bring truth to power to try and uncover these things, so people don’t live above the law. And, we’re offering a better way—we’re offering an agenda for how we would fix these problems. . . . If you go to our Better Way agenda—go to better.gop—you will see that item number three and four is a specific plan to resuscitate the separation of powers and reclaim our Article I powers of the Constitution. Because the other branches of government have overstepped their boundaries. . . . We have a very specific plan for getting Article I back so that we restore the principle of self-government and accountable government.”

A Better Way is “an agenda to restore the Constitution, it’s an agenda to rebuild our national security, it’s an agenda to get the economy going, reform the tax code, and replace Obamacare with patient-centered health care.” As Speaker Ryan said near the end of the call, “Americans don’t like the way we’re going. I think we have a duty to offer them a better way—and that’s what we’re trying to do.” 

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House Passes Better Way Initiative to Halt Abuse of Power

2016/09/07

WASHINGTON—Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5063, the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act, legislation authored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and part of the Better Way plan to restore self-government and the separation of powers. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement: 

“Here is a classic case of bureaucrats in this administration putting their interests above those of the people they serve. Taking settlement money from victims and funneling it to left-wing activists isn't just wrong—it's illegal. Chairman Goodlatte’s bill will halt this abuse of power at the Justice Department, and provide much-needed accountability. It is a better way to do the people's business.”

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Top 7 Quotes from Administration’s Political Attack on Troop Funding

2016/09/07

RT to agree → The administration's political strategy to block a pay raise for our troops is shameless.https://t.co/UXI3XfOj4f

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 7, 2016

Yesterday, a bombshell leaked memo from the Department of Defense revealed the Obama administration’s political strategy to veto the national defense bill, which funds our troops and gives them a well-deserved pay raise.

Here are the top seven quotes from this political memo:

  • The principal weapon at our disposal is the veto, which can and should be deployed against both authorization and appropriations if they include the OCO gimmick.”
  • “In short, we should attack the OCO gimmick and be prepared to play hardball opposing it.”
  • “Appearing at these meetings does impact votes, but also risks the appearance of partisanship. . . . As a general matter, avoiding this risk is advisable, but in an ‘all in’ approach to opposing the gimmick, the risk would be worth taking.
  • “Like last year, we need to help House Democrats justify their voting against both bills on the House floor.”
  • “Early indications are that both are prepared to lead opposition to an OCO gimmick, but their efforts will take place in the broader political context of their chambers in an election year.”
  • Speaker Ryan directed the HAC-D to follow the HASC gimmick and they have. He is therefore an active participant with the gimmick.
  • “The Department can also ensure outside influencers . . . are fully informed about the Department’s concerns. The Department cannot advocate that such individuals take any specific actions, however.”

As Speaker Ryan said on Tuesday, “For this administration, it's always politics first, even at the Pentagon. This memo details with relish a plan to use a presidential veto of a defense bill as a 'weapon.' It's shameless, and it threatens more than five decades of bipartisan cooperation to enact a national defense bill for our troops. The men and women who defend our country deserve better."

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Speaker Ryan Discusses #BetterWay Tour

2016/09/07

This morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) joined House Republicans for a press briefing to discuss what was learned from the month-long #BetterWay tour of the country. Below are his remarks: “We just completed a month-long tour of the country talking about our Better Way agenda. It has been a great success. And here’s why I think it's been a great success.

“People are very anxious right now, whether it’s the state of our economy, or the state of our world. So we decided, all of us, back in January, to assemble a bold agenda to tackle some of the country’s biggest challenges.

“We knew it would not be just enough to put some ideas on paper. That’s the old way, top-down. You write a bill, put a cute acronym on it, talk about it from a podium like this, and move on.

“Our goal has always been to raise our gaze. Our goal has always been to take this agenda to the country and to listen to the country. Over the last month or so, that is exactly what we have been doing in this country.

“Coffees, roundtables, town halls, Rotary lunches, Chamber dinners, food banks, churches…

“I ended up giving away all of my booklets. This is my last one. That’s why you can just go to better.gop.

“The point is, what we have found is that this is what people want. People want a positive vision and a clear direction for solving the country’s big problems. Because at its core, this agenda is about restoring a sense of possibility. This agenda is about restoring the notion that people can reach their potential in this country. That no matter where they start, we can find a better way to pull people together.

“So, we appreciate the feedback we have received. We are going to act on more of these initiatives as this month unfolds, and the majority leader can get into that. We're going to keep this momentum going, because we believe it is our duty and our job for our fellow citizens and our constituents to offer solutions to our country's big, pressing problems. And that's exactly what we are doing."

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More #BetterWay Stories from around the Country

2016/09/07

With @RepFrenchHill talking about getting gov regs off innovators' backs so they can grow jobs & economy #BetterWay pic.twitter.com/qbJ8RVh1wt

— Ann Wagner (@RepAnnWagner) September 1, 2016

Over the last month, House Republicans have taken A Better Way to the country, sharing positive ideas and a bold agenda for addressing some of our country’s biggest challenges. We recently highlighted some of these stories in a five-part series, but here are even more examples from the last week:

  • “Combatting poverty by partnering with local non-profits and streamlining federal anti-poverty programs were cited by U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne during a national address…. ‘The problem is the many federal programs that are supposed to help people in need are leaving far too many people in poverty,’ Byrne said. ‘There is a better way.’” (AL.com)
  • Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) on WBTX: “What we’ve been talking about is what we call ‘A Better Way.’ It’s a new agenda to deal with the frustrations that Americans are talking about today.”
  •  “U.S. Rep Jackie Walorski (R-IN) visited Plymouth to see nutrition programs up close and meet with those on the front lines of the fight against hunger. … In June, she joined House Speaker Paul Ryan and several colleagues to unveil ‘A Better Way to Fight Poverty’ — a set of policy ideas for improving the effectiveness of federal anti-poverty programs.” (South Bend Tribune)
  • Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) “also spoke of his support for Speaker Paul Ryan’s ‘A Better Way’ plan which he called the Republican’s “offensive playbook” to address changes in six areas: poverty, national security, economy, Constitution, health care and tax reform. For more information, visit www.better.gop.” (Troy Daily News)
  • “Some words of wisdom from Congressman Mike Conaway who held a town hall meeting in Bronte. He wanted to explain to residents about a better way reform agenda which is a full slate of ideas addressing six policy areas including poverty, tax reform and national security. … He also promoted a website called better.GOP.” (KLST)
  • “On Monday, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson kicked off his annual district bus tour. … Wilson is a big supporter of Paul Ryan’s plan, ‘A Better Way.’ It’s essentially an initiative to promote job creation, reduce poverty, and strengthen the national defense. (WJBF)
  • Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) on WJBF: “We need tax reform in this country, and we have a better way that we’re looking at.”
  • Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) op-ed for BlogHer: “When politicians talk in Washington talk about ‘women's issues,’ I'm always quick to remind them that our confusing, complex, and costly tax code is among them. Our corporate tax rate, the highest in the industrialized world, acutely impacts women through the lost jobs that it sends overseas. Meanwhile, the sheer length of the tax code means women and families must spend an average of 13 hours just to complete their annual returns. That is why I support House Republicans' ‘Better Way’ for tax reform.”
  • Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) op-ed for cleveland.com: “More than 40 years of the war on poverty have produced minimal, if any, results.  It is time we rethink how we help our fellow citizens in need. House Republicans have put forward a plan, A Better Way, to end the never-ending cycle of poverty and give all Americans the opportunity to succeed.”
  • Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) op-ed for CNN.com: “Another important thing we have done is to develop a first-of-its-kind platform: A Better Way. If implemented, A Better Way would not only restore American leadership in the world, it would generate a true economic expansion that would lift wages, increase job opportunities and generate revenues that will help us keep the commitments we've made to our seniors and veterans.”
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) op-ed for The Grove Sun: "Republicans have come up with a ‘Better Way’ to reform the welfare system. Under this plan, we will reward work.”
  • Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) on Medium: “A Better Way to Fight Poverty. In order to fix the problem, we need to think differently. I am working to help Americans pursue the careers they want and contribute to our thriving nation. I am working to help people get back on their feet.”
  • Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) on Medium: “Obamacare has been marred with errors and failures since its inception, but these most recent issues may be some of the biggest blows to this horrendous law, and more importantly Minnesotans, yet. Now is the time to work together, regardless of political party. There truly is a #BetterWay.”
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Again, Senate Democrats Play Politics with Zika Funding

2016/09/06

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement after Senate Democrats voted again to block needed resources to help our veterans and stop the spread of the Zika virus: 

“Senate Democrats are talking out of both sides of their mouths. In one breath, they call the Zika crisis urgent and pressing, and in the other, they vote down the very funding we need to help stop it. They have now blocked this funding for the third time. It is unacceptable. Democrats must finally give up the act and get the job done.”   

Related:

1. Senate to Vote on Zika Funding

2. White House and Congressional Democrats Play Games with Zika Funding

3. VERIFIED: Democrats Play Politics as Zika Threat Intensifies

4.  Statement on Senate Democrats Blocking Zika Funding—Again

5. Senate Democrats Block Funding for Veterans & Zika Response

6. House Passes Bicameral Plan to Address Zika Crisis  

  Read More

Senate to Vote on Zika Funding

2016/09/06

Today, Senate Democrats have a chance to end their obstruction of new funds to combat the Zika virus. The Senate is set to vote this evening on a bill to supply the government with $1.1 billion in additional funds to fight Zika. This is compromise legislation that was rejected not once, but twice by Senate Democrats.

Despite what you hear from Democrats, here’s the real Zika timeline:

June 23. House Passes Bicameral Plan to Address Zika Crisis

June 28: Senate Democrats Block Funding for Veterans & Zika Response

July 14:  Senate Democrats Block Zika Funding—Again

August 11: White House and Congressional Democrats Play Games with Zika Funding

Especially in light of recent reports of locally transmitted cases of the virus now in Florida, Senate Democrats should stop their shameless political posturing and pass funding that has been previously approved by the House and Senate.

The time is now to stop Zika before it spreads any farther. House Republicans and Senate Republicans are on board. Tonight, we’ll see how the Senate Democrats respond.

For more myth-busting on the Zika front, read this Verified.

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House to Vote on Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Sexual Assault Survivors

2016/09/06

Every year in the United States, more than 288,000 people suffer from rape and sexual assault. But many rape kits, which often contain key pieces of evidence, are never even tested. Sometimes, it’s because the law doesn’t require a test unless criminal charges have been filed—leaving many victims without the closure or protection they need. Today, Congress votes to change that.

Enter the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016. Introduced by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) of the House Judiciary Committee, this legislation will provide stronger protections and greater access to legal remedies for survivors of sexual assault. It will ensure that survivors not only have access to evidence-collection kits when involved in federal criminal cases, but also that they be notified before their kit is destroyed—and can request that it be preserved, if necessary. 

Consider Amanda Nguyen—a 24-year-old rape survivor who, every six months, has to “fight to keep her rape kit in the system” because she “doesn’t currently have the time and resources to participate in a months-possibly years-long rape trial.” She’s fighting for survivors, herself included, who want their kits—and their rights—protected. Now, Congress is standing by her side.

With today’s vote, the House will take a bipartisan step toward preserving the basic rights of sexual assault survivors. Because they have endured enough trauma already—and their right to justice is unconditional. 

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: A Record-Low Work Rate

2016/09/06

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice.

Next up, a record-low work rate. This month's jobs report includes a number all too familiar to the American people: 94 million—that's the number of people who are out of the work force.

The record: 94 million. That’s the number of people who aren’t looking for a job or have given up trying.

It’s up big from the roughly 80 million people who were out of the work force when the president took office.

And it translates to a labor-force participation rate of 62.8 percent, the lowest since 1978. That’s a record low that the economy has hit multiple times throughout this presidency.

What both these numbers show is that millions of people can’t find the good-paying jobs they need.

So the president can brag that “we’re in the middle of the longest streak of private sector job creation in history.” But there’s no denying that this recovery has also been historically weak. The economy is not creating the kind of jobs it needs to—and it’s leaving millions of people behind.

There is a better way. House Republicans have a plan to lift more people out of poverty and create more good-paying jobs. Learn more at better.gop

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Statement on Obama Administration's Political Strategy to Veto Defense Bill

2016/09/06

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement regarding an Obama administration memo detailing its political strategy to veto the national defense bill, which includes a pay raise for our troops:

“For this administration, it's always politics first, even at the Pentagon. This memo details with relish a plan to use a presidential veto of a defense bill as a 'weapon.' It's shameless, and it threatens more than five decades of bipartisan cooperation to enact a national defense bill for our troops. The men and women who defend our country deserve better."

This memo details with relish a plan to use a presidential veto of a defense bill as a “weapon.”It’s shameless.https://t.co/GlVHEzzwx3

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 6, 2016
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Weekly Republican Address: A #BetterWay to Escape Poverty

2016/09/03

WASHINGTON—In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Bradley Bryne (R-AL) discusses a #BetterWay to fight poverty and help those who need it most. As part of his tour through his district to learn how the federal government can better help local efforts, Rep. Bryne’s address takes place at Feeding the Gulf Coast, an organization that provides nutritious food to the hungry.

“Everyone in America deserves a real opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty—once and for all,” said Rep. Byrne. “To do that, we need to combine the present jumble of programs into just a few that can meet people’s needs. . . . It's time for a better way. A better way for poor children. A better way for struggling adults. And, a better way for America.” NOTE: The audio of the weekly address is available here, and the video will available on speaker.gov.

Remarks of Representative Bradley Bryne of Alabama Weekly Republican Address Theodore, Alabama September 3, 2016

Hi, my name is Bradley Byrne, and I have the honor of representing the first district of Alabama in the United States House of Representatives.

This summer, my colleagues and I have been talking with our constituents all over the country about our proposed agenda for 2017—what we’re calling A Better Way. I’ve decided to focus on the first plank of our agenda: poverty. Over the past few months, I have been on a tour of my district—talking not only with the people helping those in need, but also many of those trapped in poverty.

Some are struggling with addiction. Some have no homes. Some have jobs that simply don't pay enough. They come from all kinds of backgrounds. And none of them want to stay in poverty. On this Labor Day weekend, we should recognize that every person struggling wants to get a job and make enough money to live a good life.

I should also say that some of the best work with the poor that I have seen has been by private non-profit organizations. I'm speaking to you today from one of those groups, Feeding the Gulf Coast. They have a real concern for the people they help here. They treat those in need as human beings with real worth and openly prove to people that they are loved.

It’s clear to me that one thing government sure can't do is love someone—only another person can do that. But the government can learn from these groups what really works and make sure what the government does actually supports their efforts.

The problem is, the many federal programs that are supposed to help people in need are leaving far too many of them in poverty. We’ve spent trillions of dollars over the last 50 years on the so-called "War on Poverty"— $800 billion this year alone. And yet during that time the percentage of our people living in poverty has hardly changed.

There is a better way.

Let's start with a simple principle: Everyone in America deserves a real opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty—once and for all. To do that, we need to combine the present jumble of programs into just a few that can meet people’s needs. These programs should make sure every adult who can work has the education and skills to find a good-paying job in the 21st century economy.

We propose five simple steps to do just that.

First, reward work. If you are capable, we will expect you to work or prepare for work in exchange for benefits.

Second, tailor those benefits to people's needs. If we allow states to customize benefits, then they’ll be able to work with groups like Feeding the Gulf Coast and get people the help they need.

Third, improve education and job training.

Fourth, help people plan and save for the future.

And fifth, demand results. Keep track of what we’re doing, so that we can see which ideas actually work.

The way I see it, if we succeed here, we get a "three-fer". First, we lift people out of poverty. Second, the economy will grow as more of us start working. And finally, as people leave the welfare rolls, we will spend less taxpayer money.

Yes, it's time for a better way. A better way for poor children. A better way for struggling adults. And, a better way for America.

May God bless you this Labor Day weekend and may God bless the United States of America.

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Statement on Clinton Investigation Document Release

2016/09/02

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the FBI’s release of documents related to its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state:

"These documents demonstrate Hillary Clinton's reckless and downright dangerous handling of classified information during her tenure as secretary of state. They also cast further doubt on the Justice Department's decision to avoid prosecuting what is a clear violation of the law. This is exactly why I have called for her to be denied access to classified information."

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Rep. Bradley Byrne to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2016/09/02

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) will deliver the weekly Republican address on Saturday, September 3. During the district work period, Rep. Byrne traveled throughout his district to learn how local organizations are helping  lift people out of poverty. Rep. Byrne will discuss these visits in his address, as well as House Republicans’ commitment to offering a #BetterWay to fighting poverty.

“Far too many Americans are trapped in poverty, yet Washington continues pushing the same failed policies—something must change,” said Rep. Byrne. “I spent the last month traveling across my district to visit with organizations and groups who are actually succeeding at lifting people out of poverty. I look forward to sharing some of the highlights from my visits and outlining why there truly is a Better Way to fight poverty.”

“Bradley has been doing exactly what’s needed in the fight against poverty—going straight to the front lines and hearing about what’s working at a local level,” said Speaker Ryan. “We have to open up our system for more collaboration and tailored benefits—making it easier for individuals and communities to get back on their feet. Too many people feel like the American Idea is out of reach, and House Republicans are committed to changing that.”

Congressman Bradley Byrne was elected to his first full term on November 4, 2014. In Congress, Rep. Byrne has established himself as an effective legislator by successfully advocating for local interests while also championing a smaller, less invasive federal government. Byrne has worked to support local industry through improved infrastructure, including the construction of a new I-10 bridge over the Mobile River. In an effort to shrink the federal bureaucracy, Byrne has pushed for the repeal of Obamacare, fought to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses and worked to rein in out-of-control federal spending.

To learn more about Rep. Bryne, follow him on Twitter, like his Facebook page, or visit his website

NOTE: The weekly Republican address will be available starting on Saturday, September 3, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov

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House to Hold Remembrance Ceremony for 15th Anniversary of 9/11

2016/09/01

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives will hold a ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and remember the thousands of men and women who were lost on that day.

The ceremony will take place on Friday, September 9 at 10:30 am ET on the House Steps of the Capitol.

In addition to remarks by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Members of the House will take part in a rendition of “God Bless America.”

On the evening of 9/11, members of Congress sang “God Bless America” at an impromptu gathering outside the Capitol. In the House’s oral history of the day, Tina Tate, then the director of the House Radio/TV Gallery, describes what happened: “Someone started singing God Bless America, and the rest of the members of Congress joined in. It was such an affirming act, a very simple but very affirming act. And because it was broadcast, people around the United States and around the world knew that the Congress of the United States was not terrorized, was not cowering.”

The remembrance ceremony will be broadcast on speaker.gov/live.

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Six Key Unanswered Questions About the $1.7 Billion Ransom Payment to Iran

2016/09/01

Here are six key questions the president still needs to answer about the $1.7 billion ransom payment to #Iranhttps://t.co/SFnID6Bjzs

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 1, 2016

Over the past several weeks, the Obama administration has dodged questions, invented excuses, and misled the public to spin the apparent $1.7 billion ransom payment to Iran. So far this has left us with more questions than answers, particularly as it relates to the $1.3 billion “interest” payment.

As Speaker Ryan said earlier this month, “The president owes the American people a full accounting of his actions and the dangerous precedent he has set.”

Here are six key questions the president still needs to answer:

1. Why was the $1.3 billion transferred through an unknown central bank while the $400 million was paid in cash?

2. Why were these payments made separately?

3. Why wasn’t the $400 million paid through the central bank?

4. Was the $1.3 billion wired or paid in cash?

5. Was there a license issued to the unnamed central bank to shield it from sanctions under the Iran Transactions and Sanctions Regulations?

6. Is there a formal settlement agreement from the dispute at the Hague Tribunal?

The House will consider legislation later this month to address this dangerous ransom payment.

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: Solyndra

2016/08/31

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice. 

Next up, Solyndra, the Obama administration’s failed gamble with half a billion dollars of taxpayer money, which filed for bankruptcy 5 years ago this week.

The promise: Back in May of 2010, President Obama said “companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”

The proposal: Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturing company based in Fremont California, received a $535 million loan approval from the U.S. Department of Energy. It was the first recipient of funds from President Obama’s stimulus loan guarantee program for companies developing “commercially available technologies.”

But the red flags told a different story. Between independent credit agencies giving Solyndra less than desirable scores and Solyndra’s own auditor raising “substantial doubt about its ability to continue,” the Obama administration kept its head in the sand and continued to back Solyndra. "The general perception was that that company was not going to stay in business for a long time," said M.J. Shiao, an analyst in solar markets for GTM Research, which studies the green energy industry.

It was only a matter of time before Solyndra started collapsing under its own weight and general market pressures. Before the 2010 midterm election, the White House got news of Solyndra’s impending layoffs, but the company’s announcement was conveniently delayed until after Election Day. Finally, on August 31, 2011, Solyndra announced it was filing for bankruptcy, shut down its operations, and laying off all 1,100 employees.

Lesson learned? The federal government has no business picking winners and losers in our nation’s energy market. The Obama administration should have learned this lesson when it recklessly gambled half a billion of taxpayer dollars away. But yet, five years later, the Obama administration continues to punish fossil fuel companies and favor less viable renewable companies—all in the name of a radical climate agenda that hurts the poor the most.

There’s a better way. Republicans believe that the government’s only role in the energy market is to enact policies that encourage responsible production of all energy sources so that people are empowered to live their lives as affordably as possible. 

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Puerto Rico Oversight Board Candidates Announced

2016/08/31

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement in response to the president’s announcement of candidates for Puerto Rico’s oversight board, a major component of the bipartisan Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which Congress passed and the president signed into law in June: 

“Today marks another step forward in the reform of Puerto Rico with the announcement of candidates for the bipartisan oversight board, which will make needed recommendations to turn the territory's finances around. Drawing from a wide variety of practical experiences and policy prowess, the members have what it takes to serve Puerto Rico and help get the territory on a path to fiscal health.”

Related: 

1. Speaker Ryan Appoints Members Puerto Rico Congressional Task Force

2. Puerto Rico Bill Heads to President's Desk

3. House Passes Bipartisan Puerto Rico Bill

4. What you need to know about the House's Puerto Rico bill

Read More

Free the Dome

2016/08/31

More than two years ago, work began to completely restore the greatest symbol of democracy in the world—the U.S. Capitol dome. Now, after having thousands of cast-iron cracks fixed, receiving a shiny new coat of paint, and being hidden beneath 52 miles of scaffold pipe, the Dome is almost ready to be freed. 

In the 36-second video above, Speaker Ryan and Stephen Ayers, the Architect of the Capitol, take an up-close look at the dome project, which is set to be completed on time and under budget. 

Learn more about the Dome Restoration Project at aoc.gov/dome.

Related: 

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Speaker Ryan on the EU’s Ruling Against Apple

2016/08/30

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement in response to the European Commission’s ruling that Apple, Inc. owes Ireland $14.5 billion in back taxes:

“This decision is awful. Slamming a company with a giant tax bill—years after the fact—sends exactly the wrong message to job creators on both sides of the Atlantic. It's also in direct violation of many European countries' treaty obligations. This is precisely the kind of unpredictable and heavy-handed taxation that kills jobs and opportunity.

“Above all, this is yet another reason why we need to fix our tax code. We need more American companies to invest their money and create jobs right here in the United States. Today’s decision should be a spur to action.”

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: Veto of the national defense bill

2016/08/29

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice.

Next up, veto of the national defense bill. We are still a nation at war, but President Obama decided to put domestic pet projects above our troops.

The promise: “Our country's greatest military asset is the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States. When we do send our men and women into harm's way, we must also clearly define the mission, prescribe concrete political and military objectives, seek out the advice of our military commanders, evaluate the intelligence, plan accordingly, and ensure that our troops have the resources, support, and equipment they need to protect themselves and fulfill their mission.” —President Obama, 4/23/07

The reality: Last October, President Obama vetoed the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act—a bill to provide pay and critical resources to our men and women in uniform. In this unprecedented move, the president insisted that he will “not fix defense without fixing non-defense spending.” But what he’s actually saying is that he is not willing to spend to meet the needs of our troops, unless Congress pays the ransom of more money for his domestic, “non-defense” priorities.

Making ‘history’: As Senator McCain and Rep. Thornberry wrote at the time, “In vetoing this legislation, President Obama has made history, but for all the wrong reasons. He has become the first commander in chief willing to sacrifice national security by vetoing a bill that authorizes pay, benefits and training for U.S. troops, simply because he seeks leverage to pursue his domestic political agenda.”

But wait, there’s more: If blocking a critical defense bill wasn’t enough, the president decided to brag about it by holding an official veto photo-op at the White House. Beyond the dangerous policy implications, this kind of blatant political maneuvering sends the wrong message: Politics is more important to this president than protecting our troops.  

There’s a better way: This veto is a symbol of a bigger problem: During the Obama years, military readiness has been put on the back burner. We live in a dangerous and unpredictable world, and we need a military that is fully trained and equipped for today’s evolving threats. There’s a better way. House Republicans have put forth a specific plan that will address current shortcomings and help guide U.S. defense policy moving forward. This is what the men and women in uniform deserve.

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#BetterWay in Your Neck of the Woods, Part Five

2016/08/26

Every day this week, we've brought you examples of how House Republicans are promoting A Better Way around the country and in your neck of the woods. Thanks for following along with us, and to learn more about these ideas, just go to better.gop. Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4  And here's the final five in this series:

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) “has held town halls across the district, extolling Speaker of House Paul Ryan’s ‘A Better Way’ plan. … ‘The initiatives we have are initiatives that came about as a result of the input of the constituents. It is very well received,’ he said.” (Effingham Herald)

“Carter, R-1, presented House Republicans’ new legislative plan, ‘A Better Way,’ and answered questions Tuesday at town meetings in Brunswick and Kingsland.” (The Brunswick News)

“Carter reviewed six initiatives that Republicans in the House are proposing to drive the legislative agenda for the 115th Congress in January. Details can be found at abetterway.speaker.gov. The proposal addresses poverty, national security, the economy, the Constitution, health care and tax reform.” (Savannah Morning News)

Enjoyed speaking at @jessaminechambr's breakfast about the #BetterWay agenda. Learn more: https://t.co/OtB2stnjV8 pic.twitter.com/yisS84jBrS

— Rep. Andy Barr (@RepAndyBarr) August 18, 2016  

At my Lamar town hall we discussed a #BetterWay to organize healthcare in this country. https://t.co/HYHM7h85IF pic.twitter.com/DkBzmDc2C8

— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) August 26, 2016  

Today's roundtable discussion with local manufacturers was an opportunity share #BetterWay ideas to grow our economy pic.twitter.com/24cfPQwJqX

— Jackie Walorski (@RepWalorski) August 25, 2016
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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: Dodd–Frank

2016/08/26

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice.

Next up, Dodd–Frank. Thanks to this law’s thousands of pages of regulation, community banks have been closing their doors.

The promise: “And responsible lenders, including community banks, doing the right thing shouldn't have to worry about ruinous competition from unregulated competitors.” — President Obama, 9/14/2009.

The reality: Instead, they’re worrying about Dodd–Frank’s ruinous regulation. This legislative behemoth is over 2,300 pages long and requires federal regulators to write some 400 rules—all of which are hurting our community banks.

In fact, the number of community banks shrank by 14 percent between 2010 and 2014. There are now fewer than 6,500 banks in total, the lowest level since the Great Depression. And many services that people took for granted, like free checking accounts and small dollar loans, are in danger of being eliminated.

So what did we get out of this? Well, the law did create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, yet another federal agency, which can outlaw any consumer-credit product it considers “unfair” or “abusive.” Bonus: Congress has no control over CFPB’s funding, so its unelected director is unaccountable to the people.

There is a better way to protect our economy and expand opportunity. House Republicans have put out a plan to expand banking services to low-income families and to lay down clear, firm rules for job creators and workers. Learn more at better.gop

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#BetterWay in Your Neck of the Woods, Part Four

2016/08/25

Every day this week, we are bringing you examples of how House Republicans are promoting A Better Way

 

  • House Armed Services Comittee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) “visited ten cities in ten days to meet with community leaders and discuss ‘A Better Way, a House Republican blueprint designed to help people in the areas of health care, tax reform and national security.” (ABC 7 Amarillo)
  • “Rep. Thornberry covered a lot of ground in the wide-ranging roundtable discussion—unveiling ‘A Better Way,’ the House Republicans’ blueprint of ideas to address what they consider the country’s biggest challenges.” (The Canadian Record)
  • “Thornberry, R-Clarendon, said he has spent time in the 13th Congressional District during this recess meeting with civic and business leaders in some of his smaller communities to find out what's working for them, what's not working, and to roll out Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's plan to focus on positive goals.’” (Times Record News)

.@RepMarthaRoby: A better way to govern https://t.co/vUcawnzvKU #ALPolitics #politics

— AL Today (@AlabamaToday) August 24, 2016  

  • Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) writes in the Andalusia Star-News, “House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, have come forward with an agenda of forward-thinking policy measures meant to communicate clearly and directly with the American people our plan for the future. It’s called 'A Better Way,' and it is our blueprint for using responsible, conservative policy ideas to restore a confident America.”

  • Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) highlighted A Better Way last night on Facebook Live, saying, “Like you, we think there is a better way forward for America. And we’ve laid out all our ideas for the American people to see. In fact, you can find this plan at www.better.gop.”
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#BetterWay in Your Neck of the Woods, Part Three

2016/08/24

The third day of our series on how House Republicans are promoting A Better Way focuses on, well, series...

In a series of forums across his district, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) is promoting A Better Way to Do Tax Reform.

We don't have to settle for this economy. #BetterWay https://t.co/Hef00ptQaV

— RepKevinBrady (@RepKevinBrady) August 10, 2016

In a series of videos, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) provides an in-depth look at A Better Way to Fix Health Care.

In a series of local columns, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is promoting different planks of A Better Way.

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#BetterWay In Your Neck of the Woods, Part Two

2016/08/23

Every day this week, we are looking at how House Republicans are taking the Better Way agenda to the country. As we mark the 20th anniversary of welfare reform, today's entry focuses on our plan to fight poverty, which shifts the emphasis from one-size-fits-all programs to local solutions.

As part of my #BetterWay to fight poverty tour, I stopped by Bridge to Recovery in Stanly County with Sheriff Burris pic.twitter.com/cQk0dILfII

— Richard Hudson (@RepRichHudson) August 18, 2016

As part of his Better Way to Fight Poverty TourRep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) held a roundtable discussion and visited with nonprofits that are making a difference.  

From the Salisbury Post: “During the roundtable, Hudson promoted the ‘A Better Way’ plan — a policy package introduced by House Speaker Paul Ryan. … When describing the plan to the nonprofit groups gathered Wednesday, Hudson briefly focused on the importance of tailoring benefits to individuals.”

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) talked about A Better Way at the ground-breaking ceremony for Klamath Works, a new facility in Klamath Falls, Oregon, that will include emergency shelters and kitchens as well as job training services. 

From the Herald and News: “Walden … told the story of how he hand-carried the proposal by Klamath Works for the human services campus to Paul Ryan in 2015… ‘Over the course of the last now nine months, we have been working in the House on a whole plan to deal with various issues … One of the five categories is a better way to fight poverty, and you will find in this program … some of the very principles and proposals that originated right here in the basin.”

Rep. French Hill (R-AR) held a Better Way Anti-Poverty Initiative Roundtable in Little Rock to “hear ideas from community leaders who are involved with successful upward mobility programs.”

From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: “The Little Rock meeting was the sixth such roundtable he has held since taking office in January 2015. Its theme was 'career and technical education and skilled workforce.' ... Hill said his previous roundtables have focused on early child nutrition and health, foster care, homelessness, community development and educational improvement. 'The theme here is 'How do we lift people up out of poverty,' Hill said.”

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: 'You Didn't Build That.'

2016/08/23

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice. 

Next up, "You didn't build that."

The delusion: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” President Barack Obama, July 13, 2012

The reality: Hardworking Americans who devote their time, money, and creativity to starting businesses are responsible for their success—not the government.

Individual achievement is just that—individual: Americans are known for their ingenuity and the drive it takes to turn ideas into action. That’s why, when a business hits the ground running—employing workers and expanding opportunity—we should celebrate the entrepreneurs and creative minds who made it happen.

That’s the problem with big-government Democrats: We’re of the camp that hardworking Americans deserve the credit. If you break out of D.C. and into our communities, you’ll find the smaller role the government plays, the more opportunity exists—just look at California. Because of the Golden State’s overbearing taxes and regulations, more and more small companies are fleeing to more business-friendly states like Texas—a state that offers a more hospitable environment with fewer regulations.

Success looks good on you: Our economy soars when the people are in control. Extreme regulations only stifle innovation and infringe on liberty—and House Republicans want to reduce regulations and give American entrepreneurs the freedom they need to succeed. By regulating smarter, we can cut down the unnecessary while making what we do need more efficient and effective—so small businesses that shoulder a disproportionate share of the federal regulatory burden can regain productivity and growth. Why? Well . . .

Because you did built that: There are over 28 million small businesses in the United States—accounting for 54 percent of sales and 55 percent of all jobs. Here’s an even bigger number: The latest numbers show that small businesses are responsible for creating 63 percent of new jobs in America. You see? Businesses are built by hardworking Americans every year. They’re the backbone of our economy, and their contributions should not be denigrated—they should be celebrated.

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#BetterWay In Your Neck of the Woods

2016/08/22

All throughout this month, House Republicans are promoting A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle our country's biggest challenges. Every day this week, we will highlight some of these stories. Here are the first four:

At a town hall meeting in Smithville, Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), “who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and Budget Committee, shared her ideas for her plan, called 'A Better Way,' which would address ways to reform the tax code, combat poverty, rebuild the economy, replace Obamacare, protect our national security, and restore the constitutional separation of powers.” (Smithville Review)

#CoffeeWithCramer @ Tioga today talking energy, economy, regulation, defense & #BetterWay solutions. @HouseCommerce pic.twitter.com/iGoUpOI0CM

— Rep. Kevin Cramer (@RepKevinCramer) August 16, 2016

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), pictured holding up a Better Way booklet, is touting these ideas at town halls across North Dakota. (Download your own booklet here.)

Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) recorded the weekly Republican address at a small business in her district that makes security systems. She “outlined a plan to accomplish the GOP-controlled House objectives, focusing on defeating radical Islamist terrorism abroad with their agenda 'A Better Way.'” (CBS News

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) “discussed his project proposal, 'A Better Way,' during a Rotary meeting Wednesday in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Clarksburg Rotary.” (The Exponent Telegram)

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Welfare Should Be Tied to Work

2016/08/22

Twenty years ago today, landmark welfare reform was signed into law. And you know what? It was a success. We moved people from welfare to work. In fact, employment for single mothers increased by 15%.

But you know what else? That was just one program. Washington has created dozens more that need a second look. That's exactly what House Republicans are doing with our plan for A Better Way, and it starts with a simple principle: Welfare should be tied to work. 

In the 52-second video below, Speaker Ryan explains why.

Video Transcript

"The problem with our welfare system today is it's basically a work replacement system. It's a system that discourages work. It's a system that penalizes work, and as a result, people don't work!

"So people stay stuck in poverty. It's as if this War on Poverty approach is to treat the symptoms of poverty to make it more tolerable but more persistent instead of going at the root causes of poverty.

"The reason many people are in poverty is because they're not working or they're not getting an opportunity to make the lives that they want for themselves.

"What we're doing is changing the incentives and removing the penalties that are placed upon people in poverty so that work always pays. It always makes sense to take a job. It always makes sense to get the raise. You will not be severely penalized if you take that risk; you'll be encouraged.

"That is the core principle of our welfare reform plan."

--

Related stories:

  1. Six Things from Speaker Ryan's NPR Interview on Poverty
  2. A Better Way to Fight Poverty (event video)
  3. Four Takeaways from a Facebook Q&A with Rep. Mia Love
Read More

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: Red Line in Syria

2016/08/20

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice. 

Next up, Red Line in Syria. As the tragedy in Syria continues to unfold before our eyes, we are reminded of the costs when America fails to lead in the world. 

The promise: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.” —President Obama, 8/20/2012

The reality: Almost a year to the day later, Assad unleashed a chemical weapons attack that killed 1,400 civilians in the Ghouta region outside Damascus. In response, the administration proposed an “unbelievably small” military response that would do nothing to prevent the regime from massacring its own people. A bipartisan majority in Congress rejected the plan.

But wait, didn’t the administration strike a deal to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons? Well, sort of. The agreement claimed to eliminate Assad’s stockpile, but chemical weapons attacks continued afterwards. Moreover, the deal stabilized the regime, which to this day slaughters civilians with barrel bombs, mortars, and other heavy weaponry.

Exactly four years since President Obama drew his “red line,” Assad is still in power. Over 400,000 people have been killed. The civil war drags on with no end in sight. The administration’s peace efforts have gone nowhere. ISIS and other extremists have infiltrated rebel factions, and Russia has stepped in to prop up the regime.

There’s a better way: The president’s strategy in Syria has been a complete failure. There is a better way to restore American leadership and protect our homeland. Learn more about our plan at better.gop.

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Weekly Republican Address: A Strong America Promotes a Safer World

2016/08/20

WASHINGTON—In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) discusses how the agenda unveiled by House Republicans—a #BetterWay—addresses the security threats facing both the nation and the world. The address takes place in Rep. Walters’s district at a small business focused on domestic security. Rep. Walters’s message is clear: When America is strong, the world is safer. “If we've learned anything over the past eight years, it's that the president's foreign policy is not doing the job,” Rep. Walters said in the beginning of her address. She continued, “A Better Way is our answer to the challenges we face. Our plan includes 67 specific ideas to strengthen our national security. . . . America will be safe only when we are strong. And I believe our plan will accomplish just that.” NOTE: The audio of the weekly address is available here, and the video will be available on speaker.gov.

Remarks of Congresswoman Mimi Walters of California Weekly Republican Address August 20, 2016 Irvine, CA

The first job of the federal government is to keep our country safe. And if we've learned anything over the past eight years, it's that the president's foreign policy is not doing the job. Look no further than: the vanishing red line in Syria, the faulty reset with Russia, the attempt to "lead from behind" in Libya, followed by the rise of a terrorist safe haven on the Mediterranean Sea. He made a dangerous nuclear deal with Iran. He has not done enough to take on ISIS. You add all of this up, and what do you see? All across the world, our enemies don't fear us, and our friends don't trust us. The president's foreign policy has left a power vacuum, which our rivals are all too happy to fill. So to say this foreign policy is not making us any safer is—well, an understatement.

But we House Republicans need to take action. It's not enough to sit on the sidelines. It's not enough to criticize. We have to propose an alternative. And we have. We're calling it A Better Way. We are showing the American people what we will do in 2017 and beyond if given the opportunity. We developed this plan from the bottom up, hearing from our constituents and working with all the members of our conference. And now we're taking our case to the American people. In fact, I'm talking to you from a small business in my district that makes security systems for public buildings. As I've met with people I represent across my district, so many of them have told me that national security is an issue. It’s an issue that concerns them the most.

A Better Way is our answer to the challenges we face. Our plan includes 67 specific ideas to strengthen our national security. We lay out our four objectives: Keep Americans safe at home, defeat the terrorists, advance America's interests abroad, and renew our national security tools. We focus a lot of attention on defeating radical Islamist terrorism because rooting out this extremist ideology is crucial to protecting Americans at home and abroad.

We also wrote our plan with the understanding that our homeland faces a number of threats—from border security to cybersecurity—and with the understanding that new threats will emerge. It renews our friendship with our allies. It makes sure our military and law enforcement officers have the tools they need to complete their missions. It makes sure our veterans receive the care they have earned. It also requires the federal government to work with technology experts—and bring together the best minds in one room to find ways to combat cyber threats.

President Reagan famously called for "peace through strength." That is still the case today. America will be safe only when we are strong. And I believe our plan will accomplish just that. To learn more about our plan, go to our website: better.gop. Thank you.

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Rep. Mimi Walters to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2016/08/19

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, August 20. In the address, Rep. Walters will discuss the national security plank of the #BetterWay agenda House Republicans introduced earlier this summer, and how it would make America—and the world—a safer place.

For the past eight years, President Obama's failed foreign policies have made us less safe,” said Rep. Walters. “The American people deserve a comprehensive national security strategy that directly addresses the challenges we face and those we will face in the future. House Republicans have put forth a better way to keep our country safe, and we will continue to fight for our national security.”

A confident America not only keeps its people safe, but helps promote peace in a dangerous world,” said Speaker Ryan. “Take a look around—it’s clear the Obama administration hasn’t held up its end of the bargain. We need a Better Way that keeps America safe and secure—and that’s what Mimi will discuss in her address this week.”

Congresswoman Mimi Walters represents the 45th Congressional District of California and currently serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. She previously served in the California State Senate from 2008–2014, representing California's 37th District of the California State Senate. A champion for job creation, lower taxes, less intrusive government, and fiscal responsibility, Congresswoman Walters has been active in conservative causes for many years.

Learn more about Rep. Walters by following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, or visiting her website.

Note: The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting Saturday, August 20, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov.

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Statement on Iran Ransom Payment

2016/08/18

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement today on the Obama administration's $400 million ransom payment to Iran:  

“Today, the State Department admitted what we've long suspected—that the president and his administration have been misleading us since January about whether he ransomed the freedom of the Americans unjustly imprisoned in Iran. The president owes the American people a full accounting of his actions and the dangerous precedent he has set.”

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: Illegally Funding Obamacare

2016/08/18

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice. 

Next up, Illegally Funding Obamacare. We're hearing a lot lately about how Obamacare is not sustainable. Remember, parts of it are also essentially illegal. 

The promise: “Now, part of the reason I faced a trillion-dollar deficit when I walked in the door of the White House is because too many initiatives over the last decade were not paid for—from the Iraq war to tax breaks for the wealthy. I will not make that same mistake with health care.” —President Obama’s first State of the Union Address, 9/9/2009  

The reality: The administration is so desperate to keep Obamacare in place that it's actually paying for part of the law without approval from Congress. This isn't just illegal—it's unconstitutional. 

The Constitution is clear: Only Congress controls the federal purse strings. However, the administration has already paid out billions of taxpayer dollars to insurance companies under Obamacare without approval from the people's representatives.

And now, thanks to our oversight work in the House, we know that senior officials within the administration expressed concern over the lack of authority to fund the program, but they were overruled. This revelation shows that the administration knowingly ignored the Constitution in order to prop up Obamacare.

Here’s the good news: The House is suing the administration for improperly spending taxpayer dollars for this part of Obamacare. In May, a federal judge ruled that these payments are indeed unconstitutional. This was a big win for the Constitution, and now we’re taking this fight to the Supreme Court.

There is a better way: House Republicans recently proposed a strong replacement plan that will drive down costs and put patients in control of their health care. There is a better way to give every American access to quality, affordable health care. Learn more at better.gop.

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There Is A Better Way to Fix Health Care

2016/08/17

Here's the deal: There is a better way to fix health care. 

You can have a system in America where everyone has access to affordable healthcare, including people with pre-existing conditions, without a costly government takeover or double-digit premium increases.

That's what our plan does.

I hope you'll read more about it on this website → www.better.gop.

 

President Obama promised Obamacare would lower premiums for the typical family by $2,500. Instead average premiums in job-based coverage increased by $3,775.

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday, August 16, 2016
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More Better Way Columns From Around The Country

2016/08/17

In addition to town halls and poverty tours, House Republicans are taking A Better Way to their local papers. Here's a sampling of recent columns. And here are links to more.

REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R-VA): “‘A better way' to fix health care. When will this Administration realize there is a better way? It’s time to start over. One plank of the ‘A Better Way’ agenda put forth by House Republicans does just that. The recently released agenda, which is available online at better.gop, includes our ideas, step-by-step, to create a health care system that improves every American’s access to the care they need.” (The News Virginian)

REP. MORGAN GRIFFITH (R-VA): “Ninth District Agriculture and a Better Way to Do Tax Reform. Among other things, Chairman Brady’s ‘A Better Way to do Tax Reform’ would work to make the tax code simpler, fairer, and flatter. It would also make it easier to create jobs, increase wages, and expand opportunities. And rather than almost encouraging the shift of jobs overseas, as does our current tax code, Chairman Brady’s plan would reduce the tax penalty for those businesses wanting to bring overseas earnings home to America to invest.” (The Roanoke Times)

REP. JOHN KLINE (R-MN): “Better Way for Economy: Removing Barriers That Hold Us Back. … I remain focused on removing regulatory barriers that hold workers and entrepreneurs back, lowering health care costs that burden families, and helping more Americans acquire the skills and education they need to compete in today’s workplaces. Our pro-growth agenda offers a better way for every American to achieve a lifetime of success and prosperity.” (The Kenyon Leader)

REP. BILLY LONG (R-MO): “As part of the new ‘Better Way’ plan to reform the tax code this Congress, the House passed H.R. 529 with more than 400 votes. This bill would expand and strengthen tax-free 529 college savings plans, and modernize the program so that students can use these funds to purchase a computer. By making these savings plans more accessible, Americans will be able to plan for their kids’ future.” (Springfield News-Leader

REP. JASON SMITH (R-MO): “There is a better way. Today we have the opportunity to stop being reactive and become proactive about our future, just like the small business owners and farmers I met with this week. I have helped author solutions as part of the Better Way agenda which from healthcare to regulations to taxes will shrink the size of government in all our lives and restore American’s confidence in their future and the future of this country.” (Houston Herald

REP. STEVE STIVERS (R-OH): “A better way on foreign policy and national defense. This summer, House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans released the ‘Better Way’ plan to offer ideas and solutions to get America back on track. One portion of this plan is a better strategy to handle our national security and foreign policy challenges. This includes ideas to better protect our country, defeat ISIS, tackle new threats, and defend freedom around the world.” (Chillicothe Gazette)

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#BetterWay Over Coffee, Lunch, and the Evening News

2016/08/16

Morning, noon, and night, House Republicans continue to tout A Better Way—a bold agenda to tackle some of our country's biggest challenges. Take a look:

“Over pastries and warm cups of coffee, Congressman David Rouzer tuned in as a group of Sampson County residents voiced their concerns about political matters and social matters. During the visit, he presented a comprehensive policy platform — ‘A Better Way.’ The ideas unveiled from House Republicans centered around poverty, national security, economy, constitutional authority, health care and tax reform.” (The Sampson Independent)

I spoke with South Bend Kiwanis Club today about how we can work together to move our community forward. pic.twitter.com/D2Q6YzXf86

— Jackie Walorski (@RepWalorski) August 11, 2016

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) “told the lunch audience at Century Center about chairing a subcommittee on nutrition that is ‘looking at the past, present and future of food stamps.’ The panel is working with House Speaker Paul Ryan's policy agenda called ‘A Better Way to Fight Poverty.’ ... ‘There really is a welfare cliff,’ she said, referring to the idea that low-income people face disincentives to earn money if it leads to cuts in their welfare benefits. ‘It does exist, and it's our jobs — since it was built by bureaucrats — to dismantle it and find a better way for success for people.’” (South Bend Tribune)“Congressman discusses GOP ‘Better Way’ platform. . . . Arkansas's District Four Representative, Bruce Westerman (R) supports ideas outlined in the 'Better Way' platform and discusses how they impact his constituents. Backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, the 'Better Way' platform provides an overview of a set of Republican solutions that address six main areas of concerns. . . . poverty, national security, the economy, the constitution, health care and tax reform.” (KTAL)

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Six Graphics That Explain A Better Way

2016/08/15

There's an important campaign going on right now. It won't be decided in a single day at the ballot box, and it has much farther-reaching repercussions than just the next four years. It's a campaign of ideas, and it's being waged by all those who are tired of our nation going down the wrong path and are ready for a better way

House Republicans have proposed a full slate of solutions to address some of the biggest challenges of our time. You can read about each of these ideas in great detail at better.gop, but if you're on the go, here are six graphics that explain our campaign to offer you a clear and compelling choice for the future of America.

1. Poverty

2. National Security

3. The Economy

4. The Constitution

5. Health Care

6. Tax Reform

Related:

  1. Six Photos and Six Quotes from A Better Way
  2. Weekly Republican Address: This Is A Better Way
  3. www.better.gop
Read More

White House and Congressional Democrats Play Games with Zika Funding

2016/08/11

This week, Democrats reached a new low in their politicization of the Zika crisis. While Senate Democrats are filibustering new funding passed by the House, Republicans have repeatedly called upon the Obama administration to use funds already available to combat Zika. But the White House has refused, choosing instead to let much-needed funds sit idle as Zika spreads, so it can point fingers at Congress. In early July it was reported that the administration has spent only one-sixth of the nearly $600 million it has to fight the virus.

But now, in response to a group of Florida Democrats making the same request to the administration to use the funding already available, the Obama administration is suddenly complies. Again, this is after a month of ignoring the same request from Republicans. Even the outbreak in Florida didn’t make the administration comply with Republicans’ request.

All this after Senate Democrats blocked funding to combat Zika—not once but twice.

We’re pleased that the Obama administration is finally activating funds it has to combat Zika. But it’s a shame that it’s come after months of shameless political posturing. Democrats in the administration and Congress have shown over and over again that they’d rather mischaracterize history to demonize Republicans instead of swiftly address a public health crisis. That’s a new low.

Now, Democrats should drop their filibuster so we can get all the resources we need to fight this disease. 

Related:

1. VERIFIED: Democrats Play Politics as Zika Threat Intensifies

2.  Statement on Senate Democrats Blocking Zika Funding—Again

3. Senate Democrats Block Funding for Veterans & Zika Response

4. House Passes Bicameral Plan to Address Zika Crisis

5. Zika: The Facts

6. Mosquitoes Carrying Zika Must Be Killed

7. House Continues Working to Stop Zika Threat in America

8. Just Passed: A Plan to Stop the Spread of Zika

9.  VERIFIED: House Zika Proposal Allocates Targeted Resources, Is Fully Paid For

10. Congress Fights Zika Virus Threat

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$10 Oil Tax

2016/08/11

The promise: Back in 2008, President-elect Obama said putting a tax on gasoline would be a "mistake" because it would put "additional burdens on American families."

The proposal: In his State of the Union address this year, President Obama sought to cement his anti-energy legacy by proposing a $10 tax on every barrel of oil produced.

The kicker: After the president’s proposal was announced, White House economic advisor Jeff Zients admitted, "We recognize that oil companies would likely pass on some of the costs.”  What are those costs? Independent analysts estimate this policy would raise gas prices by about 24 cents per gallon—effectively the same as that gas tax President-elect Obama thought was such a mistake.

Yikes: Who will bear the brunt of that cost? American consumers. Which consumers are hurt the most? Folks who live paycheck to paycheck, who really feel the pain of increased energy prices. 

Flashback: "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." That was a quote from former Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu before he was named head of the agency in Obama’s first term. And in case you didn’t know, gasoline in Europe is double or triple the price of gasoline in the U.S., thanks to massive taxes. After a lot of heat, he tried to walk back his radical view saying, “Of course we don’t want the price of gasoline to go up, we want it to go down.” Riiiiight.

Here’s the good news: The $10 tax on gasoline is dead on arrival in Congress. House Republicans will never let this policy—which hurts families and the poor above all else—become law.

There is a better way: House Republicans are committed to affordable American energy and a strong U.S. economy. Instead of radical policies from the Obama administration that drive up the cost of energy, House Republicans have proposed policies that release regulatory burdens and increase energy production—which help to drive down the cost of energy, giving all Americans access to the freedom and mobility that low-cost energy brings.

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What Makes This Country Great

2016/08/10

As a country, if we simply react to the news of the day—if we just chase the loudest voices—then we're not going to serve the people of the country the way that they ought to be served. 

The reason I push so hard for ideas—the reason we're pushing so hard to offer this "Better Way" agenda—is because ideas are really what make this country great, and we have ideas for making this country great. We have ideas for getting this country back on the right track.

And so it's very clear that there is going to be noise and news of the day that can clearly distract government. It can distract Congress. It can distract the people of this country. 

But to me, what gets me up in the morning—what gets me excited—are ideas, good ideas, ideas that work, ideas that improve people's lives, ideas that get our country to reach its potential. That is why we stand here and fight for ideas, and we know if we stick to it—if we keep pushing and pounding good ideas—we will cut through all of the noise.

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I realized I wasn’t alone.

2016/08/09

Honored to share the Jaskulski family's story—constituents of #WI01 who overcame addiction. https://t.co/n2B1ndefnW pic.twitter.com/YX4LaQtwu9

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 9, 2016

On July 14, in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, Speaker Ryan signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act—bipartisan legislation to tackle America’s opioid epidemic. With his signature, CARA was sent to the president’s desk, where it was signed into law on July 22.

This is a big deal. Sure, it’s an example of the work the House is doing, but what matters is how this will help everyday Americans struggling with addiction. Americans like the Jaskulski family of Franklin, Wisconsin. Michelle Jaskulski—one of Speaker Ryan’s constituents—spends her Saturday mornings (every one, from 10 to noon) leading an addiction and recovery ministry for those in her community who are suffering at the hands of opioid abuse.

It’s called Beyond Addiction. What started as a support group for individuals—six participants the first time—now partners with its church congregation and community, area high schools, and even the police department to raise addiction awareness—and reassure those struggling they aren’t alone.

Michelle’s story begins four years ago, when she and her husband, Darrell, learned that their sons were addicted to heroin. 

“We found out a few years ago that our two boys were abusing prescription pills,” recalled Michelle during a phone call last week. “Eventually, over the course of four years, they progressed to using intravenous heroin.” Her sons, Kyle and Darrell Jr., were all-American athletes in high school. In fact, the Jaskulskis are exactly what you think of when you think Wisconsin—four kids, Packers loyalists, vacation time up north. But addiction didn’t care about the normalcy of their family. Why? Because addiction doesn’t discriminate—and it’s affecting communities all over the country. I went through a period where I was depressed, ashamed, confused,” Michelle explained. “Then, I happened to see on the news another family who lost their son to heroin. So I started googling stuff, and I found a family support group, which really and truly was a life saver to me. I realized I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t my fault. “So after that, my husband and I started to get really involved. We knew of a few other people at our church—the Southbrook Church in Franklin—that were experiencing the same thing. So we started a ministry at the church—an addiction and recovery ministry.” And that ministry has grown exponentially. It’s become a safe haven for addicts and families alike to turn to when they have nowhere else to go. They are offering community and accountability. Which brings us back to July 14. Michelle was among those in the audience at the bill signing. She was joined by Darrell Jr., who, along with his brother, is 13 weeks sober. Afterwards, Speaker Ryan had a chance to say hello, having met the Jaskulskis earlier in the year to talk about this important legislation. “He gave [Darrell Jr.] a big hug, and said how proud he was of him. It was very touching—it was a great experience.” 

Help is on the way. The legislation Congress passed to battle back against the opioid epidemic will help thousands win...

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday, August 1, 2016
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Rep. Byrne Leads Better Way Poverty Tour

2016/08/08

Earlier this month, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) spent the day touting our plan to fight poverty and visiting organizations in Southwest Alabama that are on the front lines of this work.

Byrne’s Better Way to Fight Poverty Tour took him to Haven of Hope, where he learned about their recovery program that helps people break the chain of addiction. At the Washington County Baptist Association, he heard about the thrift store they operate, and how they help families with everyday skills such as paying bills. 

“This is what we should be all about: giving people the tools they need to live instead of just giving them another government program,” Rep. Byrne said. “We get people a better life by moving them out of poverty.”

To learn more about our plan—and the Better Way agenda—just go to better.gop.

Byrne toured parts of the state to see how organizations are helping in the fight against poverty. Today’s tour was called ‘A Better Way to Fight Poverty’ tour.’ … Byrne went on to say this will help develop policies that reduce the rate of poverty here in America.“ (WPMI)   

“Byrne held ‘A Better Way to Fight Poverty’ tour today. And that tour made a number of stops throughout the southwestern part of the state to take a look at organizations that are making a difference in the fight against poverty. He explained how he will able to translate this idea into something he can take back to Washington. … Byrne took some time looking at both rural poverty in Washington County and urban poverty in Mobile.” (WALA)

Related:

#BetterWay: Scenes From Rep. Reed's Anti-Poverty Tour #BetterWay: "A Positive Initiative...Solutions to National Problems"Better Way to Fight Poverty

Read More

8 Bills Congress Sent to the President

2016/08/08

The next time someone uses the outdated expression "do-nothing Congress," be sure to forward them this email. The work of the people's House does not always make for the best prime time TV, but it is always steady and ongoing. And these days, it's been marked by a lot of real, common-sense progress. (But then again, you probably already knew that because of all the positive stories in your newsfeed. . . no?)

Regardless, here are eight bills that Congress recently sent to the president's desk. Every single one of them are now law.

(Click on each photo to learn more.)

1. Global Food Security Act – requires a results-based approach for U.S. food aid spending, saving lives and money all at the same time.

2. FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act – updates airport security and safety requirements, allowing travelers to spend more time enjoying vacation and less time waiting in a TSA line.

3. Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Extension Act – extends sanctions against a Venezuelan regime that denies its people basic human rights.

4. United States Semiquincentennial Commission Act – lays the groundwork for a national celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the United States.

5. Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act – battles back against the nation's growing opioid epidemic by helping people get the information they need to prevent or overcome addiction.

6. Veterans’ Compensation COLA Act – increases benefits for disabled veterans.

7. Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act – requires greater transparency for foreign assistance programs, because you deserve to know where your money is sent.

8. Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion (POLICE) Act – allows first responders to use federal grant funds to train and better prepare for active shooter situations.

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: Taxing College Savings Plans

2016/08/08

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the pitfalls and consequences of liberal progressivism. 

Next up—as back to school season gets underway—Taxing College Savings Plans.

The proposal: “[T]he President’s plan will roll back expanded tax cuts for 529 education savings plans that were enacted in 2001 for new contributions, and . . . repeal tax incentives going forward.” President Obama’s State of the Union address fact sheet, January 2015

The reality: For years now, families saving for college have been able to use college savings accounts—called 529s—tax-free to help afford the cost of college. But in his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama proposed to change this by reinstating a tax on these plans, threatening to make college out of reach for many American families.

Wait—what? Our thoughts exactly. Stronger, modernized 529s means fewer middle-class families struggling to pay the high tuition costs at colleges nationwide. 529s mean families can start saving for their child’s education the day they’re born—and contributions large and small can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for various costs, like textbooks and housing, when it’s time to enroll. Does taxing these tried-and-true plans sound like a good idea?

Well, this is awkward: Members of his own party—and even his own cabinet (!)—agreed that this is a bad idea. Asked about taxing college savings accounts, former Education Secretary Arne Duncan said encouraging these plans “would be fantastic,” and the government should “incentivize and reward that.”

Hindsight is 20/20: Citing it as a “distraction,” the Obama administration eventually dropped its proposal to tax 529s—something that should’ve been obvious from the beginning. Because during a time when student debt is out of control and financial challenges are burying families, taxing a tool that promotes education should be out of the question. The American people clearly agreed. Today, total investment in 529 plans is at record levels, while the number of accounts has risen to 12.5 million.

There’s a better way to do this: Instead of taxing families who are saving for college, House Republicans want to help them by strengthening, expanding, and improving 529 plans. Legislation introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) passed the House on a bipartisan basis, and is part of the #BetterWay agenda released this year to reform our tax code. By making 529s more accessible and easier to use, Americans can have more control over their families’ futures—and their kids’ education.

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Weekly Republican Address: How to Make Real Change in Washington

2016/08/06

WASHINGTON—In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) discusses the House agenda Republicans unveiled earlier this summer—a #BetterWay. This month, Rep. Carter is hosting a series of events to highlight these proposals and solicit feedback from his constituents. The address comes at the end of the first week full of town halls in Rep. Carter’s district. “These are the kind of ideas we need to get America back on track,” said Rep. Carter. “And this is how we can make real change in Washington: by listening to the people who sent us there. If you want to learn more about our plan, go to our website: better.gop.” Note: The audio of the address is available here, and the video will be available on speaker.gov.

Remarks of Representative Buddy Carter of Georgia Weekly Republican Address Savannah, Georgia Saturday, August 6

Hello, I’m Buddy Carter, and I represent the first district of Georgia.

This week, I held seven town-hall meetings with people from all over our district. We talked about a lot of different issues. But the one thing I heard over and over again was this: People are frustrated. They’re working as hard as ever to pay the bills and put food on the table. But they’re just not getting anywhere. Their problems are growing. But their paychecks aren’t. And at this point, they’ve come to see Washington as the place where bad ideas go to take root—and where good ideas go to die.

That’s why House Republicans are taking action. Earlier this year, we decided we had to go from being an opposition party to a proposition party. If we didn't like the direction the country was going in, then it was up to us to offer an alternative. Well, now, we have offered that alternative. And we’re calling it a Better Way. It's our six-part plan to get the country back on track. In it, we tackle some of the biggest issues of the day: poverty, national security, the economy, the Constitution, health care, and tax reform.

What I like best about our plan is that it isn’t some top-down, Washington-imposed mandate. Instead, we took a bottom-up, organic approach. This is a plan we developed with input we got from all of our members—and our constituents—over many months. We put out the call for the best thinking out there, and these are the ideas that rose to the occasion.

I want to tell you about one issue in particular: health care. I’ve been a pharmacist for many years now. In fact, I’m speaking to you from a hospital in my district. So this issue is especially important to me. And the health care law we have right now is a mess. It is destroying the health care system I worked in for more than 30 years—the best health care system in the world. This law makes some people pay less by making other people pay more. It tries to give more choices to some people by taking them away from others. And lost in the constant back-and-forth between insurers and Washington bureaucrats is the most important person: the patient. So our plan would repeal and replace Obamacare. We would clear out all the red tape and mandates that are taking away your choices, and let you pick a plan that works for you.

Our plan would also help accelerate the development of life-saving devices and therapies. For instance, this week I had the pleasure of visiting the Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia. These doctors are developing the very treatments we need to beat cancer and to save lives. And now what we need to do is to tear down barriers so that the innovative research being done at places like Anderson can go to the people who need it.

These are the kind of ideas we need to get America back on track. And this is how we can make real change in Washington: by listening to the people who sent us there. If you want to learn more about our plan, go to our website: better.gop. Thank you very much.

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#BetterWay: “A Positive Initiative...Solutions to National Problems”

2016/08/05

Republicans continue to tout A Better Way around the country, from coffees and town halls to op-eds and editorial boards. Here are five more clips from the last few days: 

REP. MARTHA MCSALLY (R-AZ): “While the Republicans have the majority in Congress, McSally said that much of their efforts have been defensive, something that they are trying to pivot away from with a new collection of policy goals called A Better Way. ‘We’ve spent a lot of time trying to stop things from happening under this administration — which are important to stop, because a lot of things coming down are harmful to our businesses and our country — but also need to show what our ideas are, going forward,’ she said.”

REP. JEB HENSARLING (R-TX):Hensarling instead advocated the ‘Better Way’ agenda advanced by House Speaker Paul Ryan…That agenda outlines solutions to national problems that emphasize limited government, a simplified tax code, a strong defense and a return to the U.S. Constitution’s Article I - and the principle of the separation of powers. ‘The Founders insisted on a separation of powers to protect our constitutional liberties. But over time, especially in recent decades, the executive branch has collected more power for itself, enabled by a judiciary that defers to the bureaucracy and a Congress that has yielded some of its most fundamental duties. James Madison warned that the Constitution is ‘a mere parchment barrier’ unless each branch asserts its powers to keep the others in check,’ the Better Way website contends.” (Tyler Morning Telegraph, 8/3/16)

REP. JOE WILSON (R-SC): “‘A Better Way’ really is a reflection of Speaker Paul Ryan….to promote what I think is so positive, and that is initiatives to create jobs, initiatives for a strong national defense, to protect the American families at home, and so over and over again, we have a positive initiative, and that’s what I’ll be working on.” (WACH, 8/4/16)

REP. BUDDY CARTER (R-GA): “‘We’re going to have seven town hall meetings in the district in four days, so we’re going to be very busy, but I’m very excited about it,’ he said. We’re going to be talking about what’s been referred to as ‘A Better Way.’ It’s a group of initiatives that we’ve come up with in the House to help set the legislative agenda for the next Congress.’” (Coastal Courier, 8/3/16)

REP. MIKE CONAWAY (R-TX): “The Republican majority in the House published a policy agenda for the next four years. The initiatives include welfare reform, health care reform, and tax reform. Speaker Paul Ryan has a website describing the initiatives called “A Better Way.” On Obamacare, Conaway recognized that premiums are unaffordable and likely to go up. Conaway said: ‘The health care initiative that’s in our ‘A Better Way’ program will repeal Obamacare, and then here are the things it will do to address the cost issue … We can try to increase competition in the market by allowing buying insurance across state lines, allowing small groups to get to together to form attractive risk pools.’” (San Angelo Live, 8/4/16)

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Definitely not ransom!

2016/08/05

Back in January, President Obama approved loading $400 million in untraceable, cold hard cash in foreign currency onto an unmarked airplane and flying it to Iran within hours of Americans hostages being released.

Don’t worry though. This was definitely not ransom!

But don’t take our word for it. Just check out what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Wednesday: “Well, what I will say is that the United States, under President Obama, has not paid a ransom to secure the release of Americans unjustly detained in Iran, and we’re not going to pay a ransom.”

Case closed.

Ok, fine. So the Wall Street Journal did report that the Iranians have long characterized the $400 cash infusion as a ransom payment for American hostages. And we also learned that President Obama’s own Justice Department objected to the payment out of concern that it would be received as ransom, but they were overruled by the State Department.

But c’mon. As the White House said, it’s only hardliners in Iran and right-wingers in Congress who think this was ransom.

After all, it’s longstanding U.S. policy to not pay ransoms because doing so encourages countries like Iran to take more hostages. We’re not really sure why the regime already arrested more Americans since releasing prisoners in January, but it obviously had nothing to do with this payment.

We’ve also heard what the critics are saying. Speaker Ryan argues that this scandal exemplifies the lengths the administration will go to in order to accommodate Iran. He also points to a series of dangerous concessions to Tehran that go well beyond the requirements of the nuclear agreement. And the speaker asserts that this episode demonstrates how the administration continues to mislead the American people about its dealings with Iran.

Look, we get it. The timing was odd. The payment method was downright bizarre. And the explanation has been iffy at best. But just trust us on this one: this was definitely not ransom.*

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#BetterWay: Rep. Buddy Carter to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2016/08/04

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, August 6. Following his week of town halls throughout the state of Georgia, in the address, Rep. Carter will discuss House Republicans’ Better Way agenda to tackle the biggest challenges facing America, like implementing a patient-centered health care system. 

"The message I continue to hear across Southeast Georgia remains the same—people are frustrated with a broken Washington, and I stand with them,” said Rep. Carter. “Georgians and Americans across the country deserve a better way, which is why I hosted events across the district this week to share our agenda and hear from the people I am proud to represent. Together, we will tackle our greatest challenges and get Washington back on track."

Voicing what you’re against isn’t enough—you have to back it up with what you’re for, and what you’ll do to fix our nation’s challenges,” said Speaker Ryan. “Buddy has done that by taking our ideas straight to his constituents in Georgia and hearing what they have to say in return. I’m looking forward to hearing about those conversations in his address this week, and continuing to work toward a better way for all Americans.”

Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter is a businessman, healthcare professional, and faithful public servant. As the owner of Carter’s Pharmacy, Inc., South Georgians have trusted Rep. Carter with their most valuable assets: their health, lives, and families for more than thirty years. While running his business, he learned how to balance a budget and create jobs. He also saw firsthand the devastating impacts of government overregulation, which drives his commitment to ensuring that the federal government creates policies to empower business instead of increasing burdens on America’s job creators.

Learn more about Rep. Carter by visiting his website, liking him on Facebook, or following him on Twitter.

NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting Saturday, August 6, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov. 

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: Closing Guantanamo

2016/08/04

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice.

Next up, Closing Guantanamo.

The promise: “I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that.” —President Obama, 11/16/08

The reality: But the president waited until February 2016—with less than a year left in his term—to finally submit a proposal to Congress. The plan? Transfer these detainees—some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, including some of the 9/11 architects—to American soil. Where? It didn’t say. How much would it cost? It didn’t say.

Whoa, if true: Data shows that nearly one-third of former Gitmo prisoners have been confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorism.

You know it’s bad when: your own attorney general says your plan to bring detainees to the United States is against the law. She’s right. These restrictions were first put in place under a Democrat-controlled Congress in 2009, and they’ve been renewed annually ever since.

Here’s the good news: The American people and their representatives in Congress swiftly rejected this plan.

There is a better way: The president’s dangerous proposal to close Guantanamo is a textbook example of the administration prioritizing politics over national security. There is a better way to keep Americans safe. Learn more about our plan at better.gop.

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Speaker Ryan Op-Ed in USA Today: Drop the politics, put public's health first

2016/08/04

The following op-ed by Speaker Ryan appears in today's USA TODAY:

We shouldn’t be politicizing the Zika threat. We should be fighting it. From the start, the Republican-led Congress has made it a priority to enact smart measures and secure resources to protect the public.

Back in February, we urged the Obama administration to jumpstart this effort with existing resources. Eventually, officials came back to us and agreed to utilize $589 million, much of it already in the pipeline for Ebola response that could be easily re-directed. Yet to this day, hundreds of millions of dollars remain unspent. This is allocated money that the administration fully controls — money it seemingly refuses to spend.

Regardless, we have worked to make sure additional resources are in place if needed. In June, the House approved a plan that provides $1.1 billion in additional funding and includes critical steps — like spraying mosquitoes — to stop the spread of the disease.

One important thing to know about this plan is that it is a compromise. We agreed to the exact level of funding Senate Democrats have supported. Democrats sought to have none of the funding be offset, and we agreed to partially offset it.

Unfortunately, when this plan went to the Senate for a vote, Democrats derailed it. This was despite months of calling for action, and even voting in favor of that exact funding level just weeks prior. They blocked our plan not once, but twice — a blatant ploy in an election year. Because of their actions, this funding is in limbo. It shouldn’t be.

For its part, the White House turns a blind eye to all this. It demands more funding while sitting on unspent funds. It calls for more aggressive mosquito control while Senate Democrats block that authority. It points fingers at Republicans, knowing full well that Senate Democrats are being obstructionist.

Those are the facts. We need the White House and Senate Democrats to drop politics and put the public’s health first. We hope for a change of heart, and soon.

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Statement on the Passing of Former Rep. Steve LaTourette

2016/08/04

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement regarding the passing of former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH):

“All of us in the House will miss our friend and colleague, Steve LaTourette. Nobody could match his fierce sense of duty—or his great sense of humor. I will keep his wife, Jennifer, and the entire LaTourette family in my prayers.”

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Statement on the Administration’s Reported Ransom Payment to Iran

2016/08/03

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the Obama administration’s reported $400 million cash payment to Iran: 

“If true, this report confirms our longstanding suspicion that the administration paid a ransom in exchange for Americans unjustly detained in Iran. It would also mark another chapter in the ongoing saga of misleading the American people to sell this dangerous nuclear deal. Yet again, the public deserves an explanation of the lengths this administration went to in order to accommodate the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism."

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VERIFIED: Democrats Play Politics as Zika Threat Intensifies

2016/08/02

Given the newly reported cases of Zika in Florida and the Olympics about to start in Rio de Janeiro, there’s a growing fear of the severity of the Zika virus threat. People have been saying a lot of things, not least among them that Congress has failed to act to protect Americans. Unfortunately, the reality is that the Zika crisis has been hijacked for political gain.

Here’s where we are:

VERIFIED: The resources to fight Zika are already in the pipeline.  It was reported in early July that of the nearly $600 million set aside for the Zika virus, the Obama administration has only spent one-sixth of that amount.  On July 14, members of the House and Senate appropriations committees sent a joint letter to President Obama urging the White House to take rapid action with the remaining Zika funds. As CQ Roll Call reported yesterday, “The Obama administration is struggling to explain why it is pressing Congress for more money to fight the Zika virus while sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars that it already controls and could be used instead.”

VERIFIED: The House has passed a plan to put more resources in place.  In June, the House passed the final conference report for the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Zika Response Appropriations Act. This responsible bicameral compromise ensures that the administration continues to have resources in place to protect the public from the Zika threat. The conference report includes $1.1 billion in funding and other logical steps—like making it easier to spray for mosquitoes—to help stop the spread of this disease in the United States.

VERIFIED: Senate Democrats have repeatedly blocked funding—with cover from the White House. Senate Democrats—not once, but twice—blocked the $1.1 billion funding bill to combat Zika despite months of demanding action and even voting in favor of that exact amount at an earlier date. This was a blatant political ploy. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Senate Democrats “walked out on their own bill…to use the issue as a campaign bludgeon against Republicans.”  And now, the Obama administration is issuing major warnings for Florida, but it’s still not making a real effort to push Congressional Democrats to pass this funding legislation.  

VERIFIED: The federal government recommends more mosquito control—Democrats blocked this too. Despite calls from the CDC and EPA for more mosquito spraying in Puerto Rico, Senate Democrats have blocked a commonsense proposal to make it easier to do so. The House-passed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), removes duplicative regulatory barriers which make mosquito spraying too expensive for small businesses.

The truth is pretty clear. As the Wall Street Journal summed up in an editorial yesterday, "Democrats are calling Republicans obstructionists in hopes that frustration with government . . . will deliver them the Senate and perhaps even the House in November. But the root cause of Washington’s Zika pathology is Democrats who are exploiting the virus to score political points."

Related:

1.       Statement on Senate Democrats Blocking Zika Funding—Again

2.       Senate Democrats Block Funding for Veterans & Zika Response

3.       House Passes Bicameral Plan to Address Zika Crisis

4.       Zika: The Facts

5.       Mosquitoes Carrying Zika Must Be Killed

6.       House Continues Working to Stop Zika Threat in America

7.       Just Passed: A Plan to Stop the Spread of Zika

8.       VERIFIED: House Zika Proposal Allocates Targeted Resources, Is Fully Paid For

9.       Congress Fights Zika Virus Threat

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The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: Recovery Summer

2016/08/02

The end of the Obama presidency is near. In its wake are a string of broken promises, a stagnant economy, growing global threats, and an anxious nation.

Predictably, the president has begun to put his spin on the last eight years. He’s even taken to parroting conservative themes—channeling Reagan, some have suggested—to recast his time in office as somehow centrist. But let’s get real. No one’s being fooled. The real Obama legacy is one of sprawling liberalism, divisive identity politics, bigger government, and America ceding leadership in the world.

Today we’re introducing a new periodic series—The Real Obama Liberal Legacy—to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice. Republicans are offering A Better Way, but we must also not overlook the failures of the last eight years.

First up, Recovery Summer.

The promise: “I'm calling this the summer of recovery,” Vice President Biden declared in July 2010 amid a months-long campaign by the administration to sell its stimulus plan to the public.

The reality: Remember how well the economy recovered that summer? Yeah…we don’t either. In fact, with the middle class disappearing and wages stagnant, we still haven't really recovered. A new nonpartisan study shows that the president's policies "produced the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression." 

What went wrong: The stimulus package passed in 2009 was full of pet projects, from $3.4 million for that tortoise eco-passage tunnel (no joke) to the corrupt $535 million Solyndra experiment (we’ll get to that later). Or how about the $783,000 that was spent on a study of why young people consume malt liquor and marijuana? Millions of dollars went simply to highway signs that advertised stimulus-funded projects.

Talk about malarkey: Then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner contributed to the Recovery Summer push with the now-infamous op-ed headline: “Welcome to the Recovery.” Days later, the Labor Department reported that the economy had lost another 131,000 jobs.

Wipeout: There would be no sequel to Recovery Summer. By early 2011, the White House decided to stop defending the "stimulus" or even using the word altogether. “It was pretty obvious that people didn’t see a difference in the economy yet,” Bill Daley, the president's chief of staff at the time, said. 

There's a better way: Recovery Summer is a microcosm of the president's economic legacy: boasts and slogans giving way to anxiety and stagnation. There is a better way to grow our economy. Learn more about our plan at better.gop.

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Thomas Edison Statue to Be Dedicated at U.S. Capitol

2016/08/01

WASHINGTON—On Wednesday, September 21, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will dedicate a statue of late scientist and inventor Thomas Alva Edison during a ceremony held in National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will take part in the bipartisan, bicameral ceremony.

Mr. Edison was one of the world’s greatest inventors, developing devices like the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and, most notably, the electric light bulb. The statue will represent the state of Ohio, the birthplace and childhood home of Mr. Edison, as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. As each state is given two representatives, Mr. Edison’s statue will join that of President James Garfield and replace that of Governor William Allen.

Mr. Edison was chosen by votes at historic sites in Ohio in 2010, followed by a legislative process to make it official. Currently sitting in Ohio’s Milan-Berlin Public Library, the statue has traveled the state of Ohio since May of 2015 and will begin its trek to the Capitol in September.

Additional details regarding the dedication of the statue will be announced closer to the date of the ceremony.

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Nine Must-See Photos from July

2016/08/01

1. The Constitution – Speaker Ryan holds up a pocket Constitution as a reminder that Congress' first responsibility is to support and defend the Constitution.

2. Happy Birthday, Bob Dole – This American hero just celebrated his 93rd birthday.

3. Heroes from Orlando – Speaker Ryan personally thanked these two deputies who helped end the terrorist rampage in Orlando.

4. CNN Townhall – Jake Tapper and CNN hosted a townhall with Speaker Ryan to discuss a #BetterWay forward on the big issues facing America.

5. Live Facebook Q&A – Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) joined Speaker Ryan for an in-depth discussion about a #BetterWay to fight poverty in our communities.

6. Emmitt Smith – The legendary Cowboys running back and his wife visited the Capitol, where they received some good-natured ribbing from Packers fan (and owner) Paul Ryan.

7. Squad – Members of Congress eagerly awaited the enrollment of landmark legislation to combat the growing opioid epidemic in our country.

8. More than words – Moments after signing legislation to help those struggling with opioid addiction, Speaker Ryan shared a special moment with fellow Wisconsinite Michelle Jaskulski, whose sons are in recovery from heroin addiction.

9. In Remembrance of the Fallen – Speaker Ryan pauses for a personal moment of prayer and remembrance for Capitol police officers killed in the line of duty.

Related stories:

  1. Six Photos and Six Quotes from A Better Way
  2. Good News for Frequent Flyers
  3. This Bill Will Save Lives
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Statement by House Speaker Paul Ryan

2016/07/31

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement:

“America's greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it. As I have said on numerous occasions, a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values. I reject it. Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice. Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice—and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan—should always be honored. Period.”

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Four Takeaways from a Facebook Q&A with Rep. Love

2016/07/29

Live Facebook Q&A on Poverty with Rep. Mia Love

Front row seat for Facebook live with Rep. Mia B. Love

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Earlier this month, Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) invited thousands of Facebook users to participate in a live Facebook Q&A to talk about a Better Way to fight poverty in America. This issue is personal to Rep. Love, whose own parents came to America with just ten dollars in their pockets. It's from those humble beginnings that she formed her perspective on the federal government's War on Poverty—an effort that has barely moved the needle after more than 51 years and trillions of taxpayer dollars.

The discussion lasts about 20 minutes, and makes for great lunchtime viewing, but if you're pressed for time, here are the 4 main takeaways you should know about:

1. Work works. 

Our welfare system is rigged to replace work, not encourage work. The system traps families in a cycle of poverty, shuffling them from program to program instead of helping them break free altogether. The House Republican plan for a #BetterWay starts with work.

2. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. 

That's one big reason why the federal government has failed in the War on Poverty. Poverty-fighting programs should be matched with an individual's specific needs, and local communities are the ones who know best how to help their people get back on their feet.

3. Education is key. 

Whether it's a child in grade school, a teenager aspiring to go to college, or an adult who needs more training to move ahead in their career, education and skills training is what makes it possible to rise above your present circumstances. That's why a #BetterWay focuses on providing high-quality educational opportunities for those who need them most.

4. Measure outcomes, not just inputs. 

Too often, the federal government defines success by the number of people enrolled or the amount of money spent. Yet very few, if any, programs are assessed by whether they are making a real difference in people’s lives. Common sense says that taxpayers should only fund programs that have a track record of success.

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Contact Information

H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-0600
Fax 202-225-5117
www.speaker.gov

The Speaker acts as leader of the House and combines several roles: the institutional role of presiding officer and administrative head of the House, the partisan role of leader of the majority party in the House, and the representative role of an elected Member of the House. By statute, the Speaker is also second in line, behind the Vice President, to succeed to the presidency.

The Speaker presides over the House, administering the oath of office to Members, calling the House to order, and preserving order and decorum within the Chamber and in the galleries. Additionally, he appoints the chairmen to preside over the Committee of the Whole, appoints special or select committees, appoints conference committees, has the power of recognition of Members to speak, and makes many important rulings and decisions in the House. The Speaker may vote, but usually does not, except in the case of a tie. The Speaker and the Majority Leader determine the legislative agenda for the House, and often confer with the President and the Senate.