“If you already have health insurance,” then-Senator Obama told us, “the only thing that will change for you under this plan is that the amount of money you will spend on premiums will be less.”
That was back in 2007, and it sounded too good to be true.
Fast-forward to yesterday, when the Obama administration casually announced that premiums will skyrocket 25 percent on average.
Over the past several years, Democrats have continued to push the false narrative that Obamacare would lower premiums for hardworking American families with stuff like this:
Don’t forget this:
Oh yeah, and this:
But hey, at least one prominent Democrat chose to level with the American people:
Interestingly enough, you won't find any of these Democrats tweeting about lower premiums lately (especially not this week). That's because they know this law is raising costs and diminishing care, and they know this is the biggest broken promise used to sell the Obamacare since “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” They're now desperate to fix this law, but there is only one way—one better way—to fix it.
As Speaker Ryan said yesterday, Obamacare is blowing up like a Samsung Galaxy. That’s why House Republicans are offering a Better Way to ensure all Americans have access to quality patient-centered health care. Learn more about our plan at better.gop.Read More
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the Department of Defense’s decision to suspend the collection of bonuses awarded to our veterans:
“I'm glad the Pentagon came to its senses. I want to thank everyone who spoke out on this issue, particularly Leader McCarthy and our committee chairs, for standing up for the brave men and women who serve our country in uniform. Congress will continue to work on any reforms necessary to ensure this doesn't happen again. As part of our Better Way agenda, House Republicans have put forward a plan to ensure we keep the promises made to our veterans and their families.”
The Pentagon tried to take back bonuses paid out to American veterans. Today, under pressure from Congress, they came to their senses. This is very good news for our vets.Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday, October 26, 2016
We want America to lead the world. But President Obama has created a void, one filled by aggressors and terrorists on the march. Our enemies no longer fear us, and our allies no longer trust us. There is a better way. Our plan sets out a clear strategy to defeat ISIS and radical Islamist extremism. We will protect the homeland, keeping terrorists out of America and securing our borders, and we will make sure that our troops always have the tools they need. What's more—they’ll get a well-deserved raise too.
Learn more at better.gop.
Our veterans deserve better than what the VA is offering.Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday, October 14, 2016
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the Department of Defense's demand for our veterans to repay their bonuses:
"When those Californians answered the call to duty they earned more from us than bureaucratic bungling and false promises. The House has already taken steps to fix this kind of injustice in the future. Now, the Pentagon should immediately suspend efforts to recover these overpayments, so Congress has time to complete the work we began in May to protect service members from lifelong liability for DOD's mistakes."
Background: Section 642 of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House on May 18, would establish a statute of limitations on the military's ability to recover future overpayments and would scrutinize the Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s management of existing cases of service member debt. Section 642 is an important first step toward establishing a common standard for correcting accounting errors that applies equally to both the Department of Defense and the individual service member.Read More
In a nation of 323 million people, it makes no sense for one federal bureaucracy to dictate Americans' health insurance plans. But that’s exactly what Obamacare does, and it is not working.
Our plan gives you more control so you can choose the plan that best meets your needs—not Washington’s mandates. We will:
You can do it for your car, why can’t you do it for your care too?
All of this will help lower premiums. And instead of Washington at the center of your health care, it will be you and your doctor.
Learn more at 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.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after the Obama administration confirmed that premiums will rise by double digits next year under its health care law:
"The president recently compared Obamacare to a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and he's right: this disastrous law is blowing up. But at least you can return the phone. Families are stuck paying these higher premiums, and Democrats only want to double down on Obamacare. There is a better way. Republicans are offering a plan to repeal Obamacare, and replace it with real, patient-centered solutions that fit your needs and your budget. We don't have to accept this kind of sticker shock."
NOTE: Learn more about our health care plan at better.gop.
The president recently compared Obamacare to a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and he's right: this disastrous law is blowing up....Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday, October 24, 2016
There's a better way to start your mornings—with a new whiteboard video every day this week. Each animation will focus on one plank of the 6-part Better Way plan from House Republicans. Today, it's all about fighting poverty.
Say you’re a mother of two making about $28,000 per year. If you get a job that pays a little more, you will lose 80 cents on the dollar. This is the problem with our welfare system today; it is basically a work replacement system. It discourages work. It penalizes work.
Under our plan, we will remove penalties so that it always pays to work. We will improve skills and job training. And we will innovate, measuring success not by how much we spend, but by how many people we help. This is how we get more Americans out of poverty and on to the ladder of opportunity.
Learn more at better.gop.
Welfare should be tied to work. ← 89% agree
The stakes are as high as they've ever been.
Every single generation of Americans has always left the next generation better off, but we know that if we stay on the path we are on, that won't be the case. We've never done that before.
That's why Republicans in the House of Representatives are offering a better way. We see this as a make-or-break time for America.
If we keep kicking the can down the road, these problems will get worse, and the solutions will not be pleasant.
But the good news is that it's not too late to get our country back on track. It's not too late to fix America's core problems. If we do it now, we can get it right, and all Americans can be better off.
P.S. I hope you'll take a few minutes to check out some of the hundreds of conservative solutions that House Republicans have proposed at better.gop.Read More
WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s address to college students on the Affordable Care Act: “After listening to the president’s speech, I’m not sure what health care law he’s talking about. "He wondered out loud why there's been such a fuss. It's no secret: It's because of Obamacare. That's why we’ve seen record premium hikes. That's why millions of people—including millennials—have lost their plans, or been forced to buy plans they don’t like. That's why we've seen waste, fraud, and abuse. And at this point, one thing is clear: This law can't be fixed. “That’s why we need to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reforms—and our plan does just that. It’s a step-by-step approach that ensures every American has access to quality, affordable health care. We believe people should have more choice—and more control—over their health care needs, and not be under the thumb of Washington bureaucrats. “Because if we want a stronger, healthier nation, we have to offer a better way for tomorrow’s generation. America’s young people know a bad deal when they see one—and Obamacare is a bad deal. It’s time to give every generation of Americans the real hope and change they deserve.”Read More
The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice.
Next up, a look at how Obamacare is hurting millennials.
Later today, President Obama is heading to Miami to speak to college students about Obamacare and the progress it’s made.
But something tells us they won’t end up buying what he’s selling. They certainly haven’t so far.
Obamacare has been anything but a hit with millennials—the group has among the highest rates of uninsured in the country. This, of course, is much to the dismay of the Obama administration—that whole subsidizing thing isn’t exactly working out as planned.
Here’s the thing: President Obama desperately needs millennials to sign up for coverage in order for the program to work, but young people are choosing not to. Why’s that?
For starters, many can’t afford it. Under Obamacare, insurance companies need to sell plans to young, healthy people at steep prices to keep the system above water (more on that here.) But in a time when students are juggling rising everyday costs, record student debt, and a sluggish job market, the last thing they need is another huge expense.
Others simply don’t want to—roughly 16 percent of Americans ages 25 to 34 have chosen to remain uninsured, and about 14 percent of those ages 35 to 44 have done the same. If you’re young and healthy, why pay for something you can’t afford?
Not to mention, millennials like to customize. Whether it’s Spotify or Apple Music, Uber or Lyft, Amazon Prime or . . . (well, everyone likes Amazon Prime), the point is: We encourage the power of making your own decisions, and the freedom in it, in most aspects of life—why should that stop with health care?
Plus, it isn’t an encouraging sign for their future. A few weeks ago, one university announced it will cut the working hours of its student employees to avoid Obamacare penalties, continuing a trend we’ve seen nationwide. Yep—because of Obamacare’s employee mandates, college students are now forced to choose between prioritizing their studies and paying their bills. So basically, even if they wanted to try and make their Obamacare plan work, Obamacare itself is making it harder for them to afford it.
C'est la vie? Not if we can help it.
Republicans believe it’s the patient and their physicians who know what’s best, not the government or an insurance company. We shouldn’t force people of any age into plans they don’t want—and can’t afford—to make the system work; we should have a system that works for whoever wants to be a part of it.
And that, my friends, is what a #BetterWay is all about: patient-centered, affordable, quality health care. Learn more at better.gop.Read More
Shhh. President Obama doesn’t want you to know this, but the VA is still broken.
The president recently asserted at a CNN town hall that he “fired a whole bunch of people” who oversaw corrupt VA facilities.
The Washington Post fact checker gave this claim Four Pinocchios. That is actually more Pinocchios than senior VA officials fired for manipulating waitlists at agency health care facilities. As the Post notes, a grand total of one executive was fired for waitlist violations. One.
Then there’s VA Secretary Bob McDonald’s claim that 90 percent of VA medical center heads have been replaced since the start of his tenure in 2014. That sounds like a great talking point, but a new report from USA TODAY shows this number is just—well—manipulating the facts:
“[O]f 140 medical center directors, 92 are new since McDonald took office in July 2014. That’s 65%. Of those, only 69 are permanent placements; the rest are interim appointees. And all but eight of these directors already worked at the VA.”
These attempts to whitewash the corruption at the VA throughout the course of this administration are shameful. You can’t fix a problem if you insist it no longer exists. Here the facts speak for themselves:
This agency continues to be a national embarrassment under President Obama’s failed leadership. That’s why, as part of our Better Way agenda, House Republicans have a plan to completely overhaul the VA so it works for every single veteran and their families. As our report explains,“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, is directly proportional to their perception of how the veterans of earlier wars were treated by their nation. We will honor those who served by modernizing the institutions that serve them.”
Learn more about our plan at better.gop.
On Monday, the president gave what was billed as a speech about his education record at a high school in Washington, DC. One line in particular was striking: “For too many students in America,” he said, “zip code still determines how far they’ll go. And that’s not acceptable.”
It certainly isn’t acceptable, which is why it so important that we promote the great diversity of schools in America, whether it’s public schools, private schools, charter schools, magnet schools, online universities, or homeschooling.
A new law—the Every Student Succeeds Act—expands school choice, including support for high-quality charter schools. In the spring, the House passed legislation reauthorizing the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. And our Better Way agenda calls for doing more to support state and local efforts to further expand school choice.
Indeed, school choice is a lifeline for students trapped by their zip code, yet it received no mention whatsoever during the president’s speech. Not even a nod to it. Nothing.
Here was the president touting “real progress” in education, and he made no mention of charter schools—even when half of kids in DC are in charter schools, and more than 3 million students nationwide go to charter schools.
No mention of the groundbreaking DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), either. The only program where the federal government allows families to choose the schools that best fit their kids’ needs, OSP has helped thousands of DC students escape underperforming schools. Looking at last year’s results, the program had a 95 percent graduation rate, and an 87 percent satisfaction rate among parents. Nearly 82 percent of placed students were African American or Hispanic.
Perhaps the president didn’t bring up any of this because, if he had his way, the program wouldn’t even exist anymore. The administration has repeatedly zeroed out funding for DC’s school choice program, only to be foiled by a bipartisan coalition.
The president has always had it out for school choice, inside the Beltway and out. His administration sued to shut down Louisiana’s school choice program, but the suit was thrown out. And there was the Justice Department’s years-long investigation into a school choice program in Wisconsin.
School choice thrives despite all this for the very reason the president opposes it: It shifts power away from government and unelected bureaucrats, embracing local reform and empowering people on the front lines.
So now, with little to show for his quest to shut down school choice, President Obama has to settle for ignoring it. He has become, in effect, a school choice denier. And in doing so, he discounts the work of so many, year in and year out, who save kids from falling through the cracks and help get them a quality education.
Of course, school choice isn’t just something we ought to talk about—it’s something we should fight for and support every day.Read More
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the Obama administration’s unilateral move to lift trade restrictions on Cuba, which took effect yesterday:
“The Castros continue to jail pro-democracy activists at a rate of hundreds per month, yet it is full steam ahead for the Obama administration’s efforts to appease this oppressive regime. President Obama’s latest move will only help finance the Castros’ grip on power and jeopardize the intellectual property rights of American businesses. As the past two years of normalizing relations have only emboldened the regime at the expense of the Cuban people, I fully intend to maintain our embargo on Cuba.”
My statement on new documents from the FBI investigation of Secretary Clinton ⇩ pic.twitter.com/TsUAlWKFUh— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) October 17, 2016
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today responded to new documents released under a Freedom of Information Act request related to the FBI investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server:
“These documents further demonstrate Secretary Clinton’s complete disregard for properly handling classified information. This is exactly why I called on DNI Clapper to deny her access to classified information. Moreover, a senior State Department official’s attempt to pressure the FBI to hide the extent of this mishandling bears all the signs of a cover-up. This is why our aggressive oversight work in the House is so important, and it will continue.”
Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday, October 17, 2016Read More
“Our plan is based on the notion that the best way to restore our prosperity is to tap into the talents and aspirations of our people and then get out of their way and let them be successful,” said Rep. Cramer. He continued, “Our plan promotes reliable and affordable American energy, enhancing our global competitiveness. . . . Our plan offers a better path—an inspiring path—so we can have more success stories and more comebacks.”
NOTE: The audio of the weekly address is available here.
Remarks of Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota Weekly Republican Address Grand Forks, North Dakota October 15, 2016
Hi, I’m Kevin Cramer. You know, everyone loves to celebrate success. And that’s what I am doing today as I speak to you from Grand Forks, North Dakota, where the University of North Dakota College of Engineering and Mines has just dedicated a cutting-edge collaborative energy research complex. This center will bring students, faculty, and industry professionals together to develop better strategies for the next level of energy production in oil, natural gas, coal, wind, and biofuels. Our state’s “all of the above” energy policy has elevated North Dakota’s economy to the top in the nation. At the same time, we enjoy the cleanest ambient air quality in the country. And we’ve proven that a strong economy and responsible environmental stewardship can go hand-in-hand. And with this same approach, other states can achieve North Dakota’s economic success. Yet as I travel around our state, I hear from people frustrated with how needless regulations out of Washington are making things tougher—for their farms, their ranches, and their small businesses. People feel the system is working against them, no matter how hard they work, no matter how much they plan. This is always my cue to hold up this Better Way booklet and share the bold agenda that Republicans have for a more confident America. It contains more than 100 ideas to get our economy back on track, many that have worked for us right here in North Dakota.
Our plan is based on the notion that the best way to restore our prosperity is to tap into the talents and aspirations of our people and then get out of their way and let them be successful.
We will cut down on needless regulations. To do this, we want to require a vote in Congress before any major regulation can take effect. Unelected bureaucrats should not have the final say—the people and their representatives should. And we believe that there should be a cap on the amount of regulatory costs Washington can impose each year.
Our plan promotes reliable and affordable American energy, enhancing our global competitiveness. North Dakota has been a leader in our country’s energy boom—let’s continue to connect this success to the consumers and workers who benefit from it most. And no more Keystones—no more of these endless delays that hold up jobs and projects indefinitely.
This is truly a better way—far better than the path our country is on now. You know, over the last eight years, President Obama has led a regulatory onslaught the likes of which we have never seen. In fact, this administration is on pace to make this the "busiest regulatory year in history," and it won’t even be close. In the works are everything from regulating overtime pay to retirement planning.
And what do we have to show for this? This has been the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression. People are working longer hours for less. We are not bouncing back because big government is in our way.
Our plan offers a better path—an inspiring path—so we can have more success stories and more comebacks. I encourage you to learn more about these Better Way ideas by visiting better.gop.Read More
WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, October 15. In the address, Rep. Cramer will discuss how the House Republican agenda—a #BetterWay—will help get government out of the way so businesses can create more American jobs and strengthen the economy.
“As I travel around North Dakota, my constituents tell me their greatest frustration is the overreach of the federal government,” said Rep. Cramer. “People feel the federal government is working against them, no matter how hard they work or how much they plan. That’s why the Better Way is a solution-based agenda that can help get big government out of the way and put our nation on a better path.”
“America’s energy boom has the potential to support an additional 2.3 million jobs over the next two decades—and our agenda will ensure government doesn’t get in the way,” said Speaker Ryan. “Kevin has seen firsthand what smart regulation does for economic growth. Now, it’s time to take these lessons learned and apply them on a national scale—that’s a Better Way.”
Rep. Kevin Cramer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. He serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has the broadest jurisdiction of any committee in Congress. He is North Dakota’s only member of the House of Representatives. A strong advocate for the free market system, Rep. Cramer has a proven record of cutting and balancing budgets, and encouraging the private sector through limited, common-sense regulations and limited government.
NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting Saturday, October 15, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov.Read More
WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives has filed an amicus brief to the United States Court of Federal Claims in Health Republic Insurance Company v. United States of America. The brief sets forth why insurance companies are not entitled to an Obamacare bailout. It also explains why the Obama administration's efforts to settle cases like Health Republic with billions of taxpayer dollars—when there is no legal obligation to do so—subverts the law and Constitution.
Key quote from the full brief filed yesterday evening by the House's general counsel:
"In other words, HHS is trying to force the U.S. Treasury to disburse billions of dollars of taxpayer funds to insurance companies even though DOJ has convincingly demonstrated that HHS has no legal obligation (and no legal right) to pay these sums. The House strongly disagrees with this scheme to subvert Congressional intent by engineering a massive giveaway of taxpayer money."
The follow is a longer excerpt from the brief:
“The law is clear that insurance companies operating on the health exchanges established pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have no right to government handouts in excess of incoming funds under the Act’s risk corridors program. This is because the program was intended to be budget-neutral and self-funding – i.e., outgoing payments would be covered by incoming payments – and Congress has confirmed this intent, not once but twice, through annual appropriations legislation. The Constitution provides in unambiguous terms that ‘No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law,’ U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 7, and Congress has repeatedly exercised its constitutional authority to bar the payments at issue here.
“The Department of Justice (‘DOJ’) knows that insurers have no right to excess payments. In later-filed cases brought by other insurers seeking excess payments, DOJ moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim on the ground that the Department of Health and Human Services (‘HHS’) has no obligation to make risk corridors payments in excess of program receipts. But DOJ has inexplicably failed to apprise this Court of those arguments and of the controlling precedents that mandate dismissal of Plaintiff Health Republic Insurance Company’s complaint. HHS, for its part, is apparently bent on paying insurers despite the absence of any legal obligation to do so. Allegedly in light of a non-existent ‘litigation risk,’ HHS recently took the extraordinary step of urging insurers to enter into settlement agreements with the United States in order to receive payment on their meritless claims. In other words, HHS is trying to force the U.S. Treasury to disburse billions of dollars of taxpayer funds to insurance companies even though DOJ has convincingly demonstrated that HHS has no legal obligation (and no legal right) to pay these sums. The House strongly disagrees with this scheme to subvert Congressional intent by engineering a massive giveaway of taxpayer money.
“Particularly in light of Plaintiff’s recent motion for class certification in this case, DOJ’s troubling failure to raise these arguments here should not deprive this Court of the opportunity to consider these compelling grounds for dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims, so as to resolve this case in a manner that is consistent with binding precedent and avoids the unnecessary expenditure of judicial resources.
“The House urges this Court to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims with prejudice in light of the arguments set forth in the attached memoranda of law.”Read More
The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice.
Next up, the president’s budgets. In eight years, the president has never proposed a balanced budget—not once.
The promise: “If we can get on a path of sustained growth, end the war in Iraq, end some of the special interest loopholes and earmarks that have been clogging up the system, then I think we can return to a path of a balanced budget.” — Sen. Barack Obama, 12/13/2007.
The reality: It’s pretty hard to get on that path if the president won’t propose a balanced budget. Not once in eight years has President Obama done so. Not in 2009, or in 2010, or in 2011, or in 2012, or in 2013, or in 2014, or in 2015, or in 2016.
Instead, the national debt has almost doubled under his watch—from $10.6 trillion in January 2009 to $19.4 trillion in August 2016.
The president never promised to balance the budget, but he did promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term—a promise he conspicuously didn’t keep.
And though the deficit has fallen in recent years, the White House now says this year’s deficit will be $600 billion, an $162 billion increase from last year.
In other words, balancing the budget was never a priority for this president. Instead, he’s more interested in increasing spending by $2.5 trillion and raising taxes by $3.4 trillion over the next ten years. This is yet another disappointing part of the president’s liberal legacy.Read More
I get a lot of young people asking me: 'Why should I choose the Republican party or conservatism?'
Conservatism means we want to conserve what is good—liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self determination—so that we are in control of our lives.
The way I see it is that you don't want to just live a good life. You want to lead a good life. And if you want to be able to lead your life then you want to have a country founded on core principles that allow that to happen.
Conservatism is optimistic. It's hopeful. And it's inclusive because it applies equally to everybody.Read More
The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, introduced by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), has a simple goal: to protect the rights of sexual assault survivors. In early September, it passed the House on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, guaranteeing survivors stronger protections and greater access to legal remedies.
After the Senate followed suit, thanks to the leadership of Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Speaker Ryan had the honor of signing this legislation alongside Rep. Walters. And today, the president signed it into law.
With this bill, Congress helps gives a voice to the voiceless. Because victims of sexual assault deserve full protection under the law—and this legislation reaffirms the fact that their right to justice is unconditional.Read More
The Obama administration has done just about everything possible to appease Iran.
Now they’ve gone ballistic.
Last week, we learned that the administration lifted some ballistic missile sanctions on Tehran on the very same day American hostages were released. This was also the day that Iran received its first installment of a $1.7 billion cash ransom payment paid in untraceable foreign currency.
So what’s going on here?
As you probably remember, the Obama administration sold this deal on the promise that non-nuclear sanctions targeting ballistic missile, terrorism, and human rights abuses would be left intact.
Check out how the White House fact sheet explains this:
The problem here is twofold:
First, by removing these sanctions a full seven years early, the administration apparently violated the nuclear deal.
And second, this was apparently part of the broader ransom deal with Iran—one that puts a price on Americans traveling abroad.
As Speaker Ryan said last week, “This story grows more disturbing with each passing day. . . . These additional secret concessions directly jeopardize our national security, and cast further doubt on this flimsy agreement. President Obama owes the American people an immediate explanation.”Read More
Recently, Speaker Ryan held a Facebook Live Q&A with Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), a 26-year veteran and the first American woman to fly a plane in combat.
The entire video is just 14 minutes long—considerably shorter than some other TV programming you likely watched earlier this week—but if you're still pressed for time, here are the three big takeaways:
The Speaker's office held another Facebook live event this week: a bill signing to honor veterans of the Korean War. Check it out here.Read More
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the Paris climate agreement set to go into effect next month:
“The Paris climate deal would be disastrous for the American economy. It carelessly throws away the great gains that the United States has made over the past decade in energy development. The abundant, low-cost energy that we have unlocked will now be shut in the ground, eliminating the economic growth and jobs that come with development. The result will be higher energy costs for Americans—which will be especially painful for the poorest among us. Furthermore, President Obama has once again acted unlawfully by signing an international treaty without Senate ratification, as required by the Constitution.”
Religious liberty around the world is in peril. The plight of Christians in the Middle East and the state of Christians’ religious liberty here at home are top priorities of House Republicans and the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal brotherhood which provides charitable relief at home and around the world, and of which Speaker Ryan is a proud member.
Speaker Ryan met with Supreme Knight Carl Anderson last month to discuss the need to stand by Christians in their time of persecution.
In many Middle Eastern countries, Christians are not free to openly practice their religion. If discovered, they are demoted to second-class citizens. But it doesn’t end there. There have been systematic, targeted attacks of Christians by ISIS and dictators like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Congress has taken this horrifying persecution very seriously. Earlier this year, Speaker Ryan demanded the administration call the persecution of Christians what it was: a genocide. In March, the administration complied and finally named it a genocide.
Unfortunately, religious liberty in the United States is also under fire from the Obama administration. This has been a top issue for House Republicans, who have stood with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their fight against the HHS mandate that would cause them to violate their beliefs. We have repeatedly called upon the administration to give the nuns relief from the mandate and have filed an amicus brief in their case in front of the Supreme Court. The Little Sisters have been Speaker Ryan’s honored guests at this year’s State of the Union address.
One of Speaker Ryan’s proudest moments was in July, when the House passed the Conscience Protection Act, which protects health care providers that refuse to be involved in performing abortions because it violates their conscience.
As he said on the House floor,
“The federal government has not been protecting people’s rights. . . . allowing this trend to continue will only erode our First Amendment rights even further. It will continue to push people of faith onto the sidelines of society. That is not the kind of country we want to live in—any of us. There is nothing more fulfilling than to live out our faith. We want all people—of all faiths—to live freely in our country. But we can live out our faith only if our government respects our faith.”
House Republicans are absolutely committed to protecting and promoting religious liberty. This is a principle inherent to the flourishing of American civil society and it’s critical for groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Knights of Columbus, which add so much to the welfare of Americans here at home and around the world.
The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice.
Next up, the Obama administration's "free" community college plan.
The promise: On January 9, 2015, the Obama administration unveiled a plan to offer two years of community college for “free” to American students.
The reality: There was nothing free about this plan—not even in our Wildest Dreams™. The president’s fiscal year 2016 budget revealed that this program would actually cost taxpayers $60 billion over ten years—a figure that increased to $90 billion in a draft bill unveiled by Senate Democrats. Reducing high college costs is a top priority on both sides of the aisle—but that won’t happen by unfairly raising taxes on the middle class.
Don’t resources already exist to help make college more affordable? Indeed. Consider this: Public two-year colleges cost an average of $3,440 a year; a low-income student can receive up to $5,815 in Pell grants annually. As Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline explained, ushering in a “free” community college program would “compete with existing programs for limited taxpayer dollars,” complicating current commitments to Americans already pursuing higher education using other federal resources.
So what does real reform look like? Glad you asked, because House Republicans want to make college more affordable—and that’s a promise we can keep. The House has passed a number of bills to strengthen higher education, from simplifying the financial aid process to enhancing support and transparency—and that’s just the beginning. We will continue to expand access to 529 plans—college savings accounts available for families planning ahead. We will write more legislation that actually keeps student loan interest rates low—and manageable. But most importantly, instead of implementing another bureaucratic, top-down scheme, we will leave the decision-making to the states and American taxpayers—allowing for tailored solutions that help expand opportunity for continued education.
That would be a—you guessed it!—#BetterWay. The Obama administration’s “free” community college would result in higher taxes on families already saving for college—and more infighting for federal dollars that are already stretched too thin. Under current law, tax benefits are too complicated, leaving many taxpayers unaware of what they are eligible for. House Republicans want to streamline education benefits and help more Americans earn a college education—and we invite our friends on the other side of the aisle to hop on the bus toward more fiscally responsible solutions.Read More
So crazy. Everyone's talking about this Bill Clinton analysis of Obamacare's problems:
“You’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care, and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half and it’s the craziest thing in the world. … But the people getting killed in this deal are the small-business people and individuals who make just a little bit too much to get any of these subsidies.”
Before this gets out of hand, we are going to FACT CHECK this thing:
Another day, another domino: now Maryland’s Obamacare co-op has failed, forced to become a for-profit company to survive. The Washington Post sums up the grim state of things:
“If the switch is approved as expected by federal and state officials, Evergreen’s unprecedented move will leave standing only five of the 23 co-ops, or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, which started nearly three years ago. The other 17 co-ops have either collapsed or been ordered to close by state regulators because of their financial fragility, leaving hundreds of thousands of people to scramble for new coverage.”
All told, it has been estimated that these shutdowns have forced more than 800,000 people to look for new coverage.
There’s a better way. In stark contrast, Republicans are offering a better way—a plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with real, patient-centered solutions:
- Rep. Diane Black (R-TN): “My conservative colleagues and I have offered ideas on health reform all along. Most recently, we compiled these proposals into a comprehensive plan that we are calling a “Better Way” for health reform; a substantive, 37-page policy agenda covering everything from medical malpractice reform, to maintaining guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, to spurring competition by allowing the sale of health insurance across state lines.” (TheBlaze)
- Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL): “A major component of our ‘Better Way’ plan is to give Americans more choices when it comes to health care. We need to spur competition and innovation, which in turn will help drive down costs. We do this by making health care portable and offering a refundable tax credit to help you buy insurance on the individual market.” (Alabama Political Reporter)
- Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO): “Health care is being hampered by Obamacare, there’s no two ways about it. That’s why the Better Way would offer more choices and lower costs, implement real protections and cutting-edge treatments, and also protects and preserves Medicare.” (Colorado Springs Business Journal)
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) October 3, 2016
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here are 10,000 words dedicated to my favorite moments from September in the Speaker's office. Of course, you don't have to wait until the beginning of each month to see these photos; you can also follow @SpeakerRyan on Instagram to see them as they happen.
1. Staring contest
2. A House united in remembrance of September 11th
3. The new librarian of Congress
4. Setting the stage for the presidential inauguration
5. Airmen of the Year
6. Thomas Edison comes to the Capitol
7. The handoff
8. Sunset with the Australian Prime Minister
9. A legislative victory for Korean War veterans
The Korean War is often referred to as 'the forgotten war,' but we want to make sure that is never the case. That's why...Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, September 29, 2016
10. Kyle Busch makes a right turnRead More
WASHINGTON—In this week’s Republican address, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) discusses our plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered solutions.
The address comes on the third anniversary of the rollout of Obamacare. It serves as a prebuttal to a health care speech the president will give on Wednesday in Tampa, Florida.
"House Republicans are listening, and we know it’s not enough to simply acknowledge the failures and the fallout," Chairman Price says in the address. "It’s up to us to offer an alternative. And that’s what we have done. We’re calling it a Better Way for Health Care. And you can read the whole plan on our website: better.gop."
Remarks of House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. of Georgia Weekly Republican Address Washington, DC October 1, 2016
Ever since President Obama and a Democrat-led Congress passed Obamacare six years ago, the law’s failures have been piling up. You know the stories. Premiums and deductibles going through the roof. Patients losing their doctors. Millions of people getting insurance cancellation notices in the mail. Some of the more recent fallout has been the near total collapse of the Obamacare COOPs. The law set up 23 non-profit health insurers in an attempt to provide Americans additional insurance options. But today, the coops are failing at an alarming rate – shutting their doors and dropping their customers. Only six out of the original 23 remain. Just six.
Hundreds of thousands of people have lost health coverage because of these coop failures. And the damage does not end there. Because of Obamacare’s individual mandate, those same folks are now subject to a tax penalty for not having insurance. The same law that encouraged people to sign up for these doomed coops – and did nothing while they imploded – is now penalizing folks who lost their coverage. This is ridiculous, and the American people should not have to put up with it.
That’s why we in the House of Representatives passed a bill this week that would exempt those who lost coverage due to the failure of Obamacare’s coops from the individual mandate. After all the harm Obamacare has caused, it’s the right thing to do.
Now we know that those who still defend Obamacare will come up with one excuse after another to protect the broken status quo. They’ll ignore the evidence and the voices of those who are being harmed by Obamacare. They also ignore the desires for all Americans to have a healthcare system that’s affordable for all, accessible to all, of the highest quality and one that gives patients the choices they need. Obamacare fails on each of those.
But House Republicans are listening, and we know it’s not enough to simply acknowledge the failures and the fallout. It’s up to us to offer an alternative. And that’s what we have done. We’re calling it a Better Way for Health Care. And you can read the whole plan on our website: better.gop.
Our first priority is to put you, the patient, in charge, not Washington bureaucrats. So we repeal things like the individual mandate and say, “You should be free to pick whatever insurance plan meets your needs, not one Washington forces you to buy.” We give you real protections so you never have to worry about being turned away because of your age, your income, or your health. We also clear out the bureaucracy so that our researchers and innovators can develop more life-saving treatments. We save and strengthen and secure Medicare so that it’s there for today’s seniors and future generations. We reform Medicaid so that states have the flexibility to offer the kind of coverage that best serves their communities.
Before going into public service, I practiced orthopaedic surgery for over 20 years. That firsthand experience taught me that there is nothing more sacred in health care than the doctor-patient relationship. Our Better Way plan respects and protects the doctor-patient relationship. It is the plan America needs. It is how we can turn things around – a bold vision to bring America’s health care system into the 21st century. House Republicans are offering a clean break with the past: a plan to repeal Obamacare and start over with real, patient-centered solutions – that puts patients and families and doctors in charge – not Washington DC. Thanks for listening.Read More
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions:
“No American taxpayer should be forced to pay for abortions. The Hyde Amendment has been the cornerstone of protecting conscience for 40 years and is responsible for saving more than 2 million American lives. Make no mistake: The Hyde Amendment will remain central in our fight for life until the day Roe v. Wade is overturned entirely.”Read More
WASHINGTON—With Americans across the country facing another round of Obamacare sticker shock, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) will promote patient-centered health care solutions in this week's Republican address.
“With each passing day, we see more and more the harm Obamacare is doing to America’s health care system – to patients, to doctors and other providers, to family budgets, and to the quality of care,” Chairman Price said. “The law has proven to be one long string of broken promises which the Obama Administration is always ready to excuse or ignore. The American people, however, are looking for something better, a real solution to the health challenges facing our nation. House Republicans are offering that better way. Our patient-centered solutions would put patients, families, and doctors in charge of health care decisions, not Washington. Our plan will make quality, affordable health care accessible to everyone.”
NOTE: This week's Republican address will be available starting on Saturday, October 1 at 6:00 am. ET on speaker.gov.
Watch recent weekly Republican addresses on the Better Way agenda:
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the Obama administration’s reported secret ransom agreements with Iran:
“This story grows more disturbing with each passing day. It now appears that on the same day American hostages were freed from Iran, the administration not only agreed to the $1.7 billion cash ransom payment, but violated a key term of the nuclear deal by prematurely lifting ballistic missile sanctions. These additional secret concessions directly jeopardize our national security, and cast further doubt on this flimsy agreement. President Obama owes the American people an immediate explanation.”Read More
The Korean War is often referred to as 'the forgotten war," but yesterday Congress took a big step towards making sure that is never the case.
Speaker Ryan signed and sent to the White House H.R. 1475, which creates a Wall of Remembrance located at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC. The wall will list the names of all those who were killed, wounded, missing, or prisoners during the war. A group of Korean War veterans also attended the ceremony—including the House's own Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY).Speaker Ryan's Remarks
"I want to recognize all the veterans that are here.
"The Korean War is often referred to as 'the forgotten war,' but more than 5.7 million Americans served in that conflict. More than 36,000 Americans gave their lives in the Korean War. To this day, thousands remain unaccounted for. All of these patriots deserve their due, and so this bill will create a wall of remembrance at the Korean War Memorial, listing the names of those who perished. This is an excellent and overdue addition to our National Mall.
"I am honored to sign this bill, and I am honored to be here with some of our veterans. . . It is an absolute joy to sign a bill authored by Sam Johnson, a man we all cherish, respect, and who has gone above and beyond in service to his country."Read More
Here are excerpts from Speaker Ryan's comments today at his weekly press briefing:
HOBOKEN “First, I just turned on the TV and saw what was happening out in Hoboken. We don’t know all the details, but this looks like—there’s already loss of life being reported. Our prayers go to the [victims and] first responders to make sure that they can get to people safely, to safety, and that people can be reunited with their families.”
RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS “This week, Congress sent to the president’s desk a bill that provides funding to train our military, and to improve care for our veterans—our MilCon VA bill. It will also provide resources to address the Zika outbreak, and relief for our fellow citizens recovering from recent floods in Louisiana, in West Virginia, some other places. “This concludes a pretty darn productive period:
“When we return in November, I look forward to completing work on some very important key initiatives that just haven’t quite gotten over the finish line—Tim Murphy’s mental health reform, Fred Upton’s 21st-century Cures initiative. Obviously we passed our water resources bill last night, the Senate’s passed theirs. We need to complete work on that. And I also am hoping that we can make progress on criminal justice reform." OBAMACARE
“Lastly, Saturday marks the third anniversary of the rollout of Obamacare. It isn’t so much limping towards that anniversary as [it is] this law is collapsing. This law is collapsing under its own weight. “In a matter of weeks, Americans are going to face another round of steep and massive premium increases. CO-OP programs are failing across the country, leaving people without coverage. These are fundamental problems. These are not problems that can be fixed by tinkering at the margins. “This law does need to be repealed and replaced. And it needs to be replaced with real, patient-centered health care reforms. This is our plan to do it—page 20, and you will see our plan for a comprehensive replacement of Obamacare to finally give people what they want: patient-centered health care, more choices, lower prices.
“We need to give the people a very clear choice . . . a clear path. That is what we’re endeavoring to do. We want to go bold. We are specific. And we are showing people that we are here to tackle the big challenges in this country before they tackle us. If you want to hear more about our Better Way agenda, go to better.gop. “This is why we are here—to show the country that we can get things fixed and that we have a better path. And that is the conversation that we’re excited about having with our fellow citizens.”Read More
Next up, that calamitous Healthcare.gov roll-out, botched by the Obama administration three years ago this Saturday.
Government knows best. Even if people didn’t want to use Healthcare.gov, the online federal health care exchange, they didn’t have much of a choice. The most controversial, coercive part of Obamacare—the individual mandate—forces people to enroll in government-approved coverage or face a steep penalty.
“It’s easy,” they said. “You’ll be able to sign up online,” they said. Not so much. Healthcare.gov was a total disaster when it launched on October 1, 2013, three years ago today. The website crashed, froze people’s computers, and took hours to load—making it impossible to sign up for a plan.
Have you tried restarting your computer? As SNL spoofed, “Millions of Americans are visiting healthcare.gov, which is great news. Unfortunately the site was only designed to handle six users at a time.” That wasn’t so far from the truth. Healthcare.gov was supposed to have enrolled millions of people in the first month. According to documents obtained by the House Oversight Committee, only 248 people across 36 states were able to enroll.
It didn’t stop there. The website was plagued with technical difficulties for months. By mid-November, the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that fewer than 27,000 people were able to sign up successfully. The main contractor was fired, but the fault lay elsewhere. A damning GAO report revealed that HHS knew about potential flaws to the site but rushed the entire project forward anyway, while giving little oversight or guidance to contractors working on the site.
The government botched the job. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted the rollout was “terribly flawed” and the timetable was “flat-out wrong.”
And the cost to taxpayers? The government estimated about $834 million was spent, but an independent Bloomberg analysis of the contracts related to the website projected much higher: upwards of $2.1 billion.
The botched healthcare.gov roll-out is just one of Obamacare’s failures. It’s a perfect example of how much of a mess the federal government can make when it tries to bite off more than it can chew.
We could go on. But instead, we’ll direct you to a website that actually does work . . . a Better Way. This contains House Republicans’ plan for better health care policies—ones that empower patients and gives them the care they need, instead of telling them in that bright-eyed, bureaucratic, bungling way: “Please wait.”Read More
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the House passage of H.R. 5325, legislation for a short-term continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December 9:
“In addition to keeping the government open, this bill provides funding to train and equip our military, and improve care for our veterans. It also provides needed resources to fight the spread of the Zika virus in the United States and Puerto Rico. I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for getting this responsible legislation done and urge the president to sign it into law.”Read More
Tonight, President Obama is participating in a CNN Townhall to tout his record on supporting the military and our veterans. But don’t be fooled—he’s failed miserably on both fronts. After nearly eight years of this administration, our troops are underpaid and underequipped, our veterans are still stuck on hold and in wait lines, and our military is literally starting to fall apart. This is President Obama’s real legacy.
Don’t believe us? Here’s are some recent examples:
Politicizing our military Earlier this month, a leaked Pentagon memo exposed the Obama administration’s political strategy to veto the national defense bill, which ensures our troops have the tools they need to complete their missions. Congress has passed this legislation on a bipartisan basis for over five decades, but the administration prefers to politicize our military.
Blocking a pay raise for our troops The national defense bill doesn’t just fund our military—it gives our troops a well-deserved pay raise. So when the administration says it wants to “play hardball opposing” this legislation, it’s talking about blocking a raise for our brave men and women in uniform. As Speaker Ryan said, “For this administration, it’s always politics first, even at the Pentagon. . . . The men and women who defend our country deserve better.”
Failing to invest in new hardware and equipment The administration’s failure to invest in new military hardware and equipment is putting our troops at a disadvantage on the battlefield. In some cases, the consequences are deadly. A spike in deadly plane and helicopter crashes have been attributed to outdated aircraft and a shortage of training flights. Three Marine aircraft have crashed in just the past two months. The Air Force is literally pulling discontinued plane parts off of old museum exhibits. This readiness crisis is putting our troops at risk and making us less safe, but President Obama still opposes our bipartisan plan to close these gaps and rebuild our military.
Allowing VA suicide hotline calls to go unanswered Nearly 22 veterans commit suicide per day, on average. Nevertheless, more than 30% of VA suicide hotline calls go completely unanswered. The former head of hotline even said that some staffers “spend very little time on the phone or engaged in assigned productive activity.” But while the administration continues to sit on its hands, we’re taking action. That’s why this week the House passed bipartisan legislation requiring the hotline answer every call in a timely manner. Our veterans deserve swift, effective mental health care and nothing less.Read More
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
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.Read More
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.Read More
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."Read More
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.”Read More
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.Read More
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:
Interested in seeing the whole statue unveiling ceremony? Click here.Read More
“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.Read More
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.”Read More
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.
11. Because with A Better Way, everyone can have the chance to live long and prosper.Read More
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 for—not 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.”Read More
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.”
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."
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
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.”Read More
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.
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
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.”Read More
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.Read More
“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:
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.Read More
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.
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
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 19, 2016
We Have to Fix Our Tax Code
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 19, 2016
Replace Obamacare and Fix Entitlements
— 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
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."Read More
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.Read More
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.”
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.
Note: The weekly Republican address will be available starting in Saturday, September 17 at 6:00 am. ET on speaker.gov.Read More
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."Read More
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.”Read More
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.”Read More
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 well. And 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.Read More
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."Read More
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."Read More
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."Read More
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.”Read More
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.”Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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 trusted—and respected—by 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.Read More
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.gopRead More
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.
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.”Read More
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.”
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.”Read More
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.”Read More
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.”Read More
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.”Read More
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:
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."Read More
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."Read More
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:
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.”
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:
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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.Read More
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
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.Read More
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."Read More
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.
NOTE: The weekly Republican address will be available starting on Saturday, September 3, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.”
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.
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.”Read More
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.Read More
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 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)Read More
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.Read More
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
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.