Speaker of the House

Paul Ryan

Longtime House Aide Janice Mays Receives Her Due

2016/05/27

WASHINGTON—Janice Mays came to Washington in 1975. Ever since then, she has dedicated her life to public service, working on the House Ways and Means Committee for 40 years. This week, in recognition of her service, Speaker Paul Ryan awarded Mays the John W. McCormack Award of Excellence. Created in 1970 to recognize longtime House employees who have displayed both dedication and bipartisanship, the award is named after the former House speaker by the same name. Speaker Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presented the award to Mays at a reception on Wednesday afternoon. Below are Speaker Ryan’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Well, Janice—to be honest, I’m a little jealous. I got ten months. You got 40 years.

And you definitely made the most of them. Tax reform, shoring up Social Security—these are things that members dream of doing. And you were behind them all. I stand in awe of your accomplishments.

And perhaps your greatest accomplishment is your reputation. Ask the Republicans who served on Ways and Means: What do you think of Janice Mays? And they will say things like, “totally sincere” . . . “a keen mind” . . . “an institution” even. Now, one of them did say you were a “competitor”—but I think that just shows you know how to negotiate. It is pretty disarming when you keep calling me “sweetie.”

In fact, the one word that kept coming up was “kind.” She is so warm and kind. And I can attest to that. As many of you know, Janice has a collection of portraits of all the presidents who served on Ways and Means. And she has allowed chairmen of both parties to hang them in the committee’s Capitol office. It is a testament to her goodwill to see them hanging there day after day—though it is kind of intimidating.

And through it all, she has never lost her sense of self—or her sense of humor. A fellow aide once told the Washington Post that lobbyists “fall at her feet.” When told of this, she replied, “Oh, don’t I wish.”

Janice, for 40 years, you have served this House, and you did it with uncommon skill. Yes, you knew the players. But more than that, you knew the issues. You are walking proof that, even in Washington, knowledge does not have to massage anyone’s ego. It commands respect. You have inspired hundreds of people to give their all to public service—from the mightiest chairman to the freshest-faced intern. And for that, all of us owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

When Janice announced her retirement, all the Democratic leaders sang her praises: Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Sandy Levin, John Lewis. Now I’d like to add my voice to the chorus—and make it bipartisan. Janice Mays has served with grace . . . and class . . . and a fierce love of country. So on behalf of the entire House, I just want to say, “Thank you and God bless you.” 

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House Calls on Senate to Address Airport Wait Times for the Public

2016/05/27

Good news, frequent flyers: We’re one step closer to making flying a whole lot easier. It’s true. As a result of exceedingly long lines and travel time lost, just this week, the House called on the Senate to pass legislation introduced by Rep. John Katko to expand the use of TSA PreCheck. If signed into law, more flyers who are known and trusted will qualify for the service, resulting in shorter lines and reduced wait times. Maybe that means enjoying an extra hour of your vacation—or at least an extra cup of coffee before your business trip. And though there’s still work to be done, this would pave the way for easier, more efficient travel. Speaker Ryan explained further yesterday at his weekly press briefing: “I want to start with something that is on the minds of many Americans, and that is these really long lines at our airports. Like many people, the people I represent spend far more time at places like O’Hare than they would like to. And this is unacceptable. “Yesterday, the Homeland Security Committee held a hearing with the TSA Administrator. That was a chance to get some answers for the public and to better figure out how we can be better prepared. “But there are things that we can do about this problem right now. For example, the House just passed a bill authored by Representative John Katko of New York that would expand the use of TSA PreCheck. PreCheck lanes process twice the number of passengers as regular screening lanes. This also enhances security, because we’re pushing more ‘known’ and ‘trusted’ passengers through these lanes. “So we have passed this PreCheck bill in the House, and I hope that the Senate will act soon, especially ahead of the busy summer travel.”

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House Continues Working to Stop Zika Threat in America

2016/05/26

WASHINGTON — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) appointed eight House Republican lawmakers to serve on a bipartisan conference committee charged with producing legislation to fund military construction projects, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other related agencies to enhance America’s security. 

In addition, the conferees will produce final legislation to combat the spread of the Zika virus in America. Just last week, the House passed the Zika Response Appropriations Act to help protect the American people from this threat. And yesterday, the House passed the Zika Vector Control Act to reduce regulatory burdens on mosquito control.

In announcing these appointments, Speaker Ryan made the following statement:

"Our goal is to direct resources to where they are most needed and can do the most good. That is why we pushed the administration to release $589 million that was already in the pipeline out the door as fast as possible. Now we will work with the Senate to make sure we get this right so we can protect the public from the spread of Zika.

"It is important that we are moving forward on reforms and resources to help our veterans. We need to make sure that the VA is held accountable for every dollar it spends, especially when it comes to getting our veterans the care they need when they need it."

The Republican conferees for this legislation are:

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)

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Speaker Ryan: ‘We Will Continue the Appropriations Process’

2016/05/26

When Speaker Ryan took the job last fall, he made one thing very clear: He was going to open up the process of how the House does business. That means more members have a say in the what, why, and how bills are written—and passed. And sometimes, that means a bill not getting the votes it needs, sending members back to the drawing board to figure out what works. Earlier today, the House failed to pass the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, a bill designed to improve our energy infrastructure and stop harmful regulations, among other things. The appropriations process can be a little confusing, so at his weekly press briefing, Speaker Ryan explained exactly what happened:

“I want to talk about the vote we just had on the energy and water appropriations bill. When I became speaker, one of the commitments I made to our members—and to the American people—was to open up this process. “That means having more members contribute. It means more amendments from both sides of the aisle. It means fewer pre-determined outcomes, and yes, more unpredictability. “Early on, I stood up here—you remember this, it was one of my first press conferences—and said that some bills might fail. Because we’re not going to tightly control the process and pre-determine the outcome of everything around here. “Well, that’s what happened here today. It’s unfortunate, because this is a very good bill. “It improves our energy infrastructure. It enhances our national security. It uses the power of the purse to stop harmful regulations.

“But what we learned today is that the Democrats were not looking to advance an issue but to sabotage the appropriations process. The mere fact that they passed their amendment, then voted against the bill containing their amendment, proves this point. “That said, we remain dedicated to working on this bill, and on all of our appropriations bills. In fact, we just moved to go to a conference committee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs’ funding, as well as resources to fight the Zika outbreak. So we are not slowing down here. “We will talk to our members about how best to move forward to maintain a functioning and workable appropriations process. And we will continue with an appropriations process. We will use the power of the purse to protect taxpayer dollars. And we will use the power of the purse to hold this administration accountable. “This work is just far too important for these dilatory tactics.” 

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Speaker Ryan Announces Policy Agenda Rollout

2016/05/26

Just announced→ our vision for a #ConfidentAmerica will begin with a plan to fight poverty in America’s communities. pic.twitter.com/M8Ounwngoq

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 25, 2016

Did you catch Speaker Ryan’s major announcement yesterday? It’s true. House Republicans are now just a couple of weeks away from rolling out our bold policy agenda for a Confident America. We disagree with the direction that the country is going in, so we owe the American people a clear choice—a better way. This will start in two weeks with our poverty agenda—a specific, conservative plan to help move people from welfare to work so they can make the most of their lives.

Here’s a quick rundown of what Speaker Ryan discussed yesterday:

“House Republicans met early in 2016 to map out an agenda project based on six policy issues, including welfare reform. Lawmakers are also tackling tax reform, healthcare reform and restoring the constitutional authority of Congress to write laws, which they believe has been undercut by the Obama administration.” (Washington Examiner)

“Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced Wednesday that House Republicans will roll out the six policy papers that make up their ‘Confident America’ agenda one at a time throughout June, starting with ideas to combat poverty. . . . Some of the six task forces—focused on poverty, taxes, healthcare, national security, regulations and constitutional authority—may choose to release legislative text this year, Ryan said.” (Roll Call)

“The first of the policy proposals, which will constitute the House’s ‘Confident America’ agenda, will focus on combating poverty, Mr. Ryan said. He added that each policy area, including national security and taxes, would be tackled less with the amorphous ideas that he has been batting around for months, but with an extensive legislative framework.” (New York Times)   

“The GOP leadership will unveil a series of reforms to transition Americans on welfare to becoming participants in the workforce. Ryan said the Republican Party has shirked its responsibilities for tackling poverty in the U.S., citing the influx of foreign policy problems that came with the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.” (IJ Review)

“Ryan is preparing to roll out six GOP policy blueprints in June on issues such as poverty reduction, replacing Obamacare and reining in the power of the presidency. Ryan said these are not proposals that Congress can pass while President Obama is still in office, so the agenda is intended to create a road map for Congress once a Republican president is sworn in.” (USA Today)

“House Republicans will unveil proposals on a weekly basis for the month of June that address the economy, taxes, national security, healthcare, poverty, and reasserting congressional authority. The latter is in response to President Obama’s use of executive orders to enact policy changes. Ryan said the first week’s roll out will include the GOP’s agenda on how to combat poverty, an issue that the speaker has personally pushed to the forefront of the agenda project.” (NPR)

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House Moves to Produce First Comprehensive Energy Bill in Nearly 10 Years

2016/05/26

WASHINGTON — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) appointed 24 House Republican lawmakers to serve on a bipartisan conference committee charged with producing final legislation to modernize our energy laws to create more American jobs and a stronger economy. The conference with Senate lawmakers will yield the first comprehensive energy package in close to 10 years.

Maximizing America’s energy potential is vital—not just for creating jobs and building our economy, but for strengthening America’s strategic leverage on the global stage,” Speaker Ryan said. “Unfortunately, outdated infrastructure and heavy-handed regulations are stopping us from achieving these goals. This legislation modernizes our energy infrastructure so we can address these and other urgent priorities for the country, from tackling California’s drought crisis to healing our forests in order to prevent wildfires.”

The Republican conferees for this legislation are:

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) Rep. Robert Latta (R-OH) Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)

Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) Rep. Don Young (R-AK) Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR)

Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)

Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Rep. Cresent Hardy (R-NV) Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY)

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IG Finds Secretary Clinton ‘Did Not Comply’ with Federal Records Act

2016/05/25

Secretary Clinton's failure to properly preserve her records constitutes a clear violation of federal law. https://t.co/elfAX4R7ZQ

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 25, 2016

Earlier today, an independent watchdog revealed that, by exclusively using a personal email address hosted on a private server, Secretary Clinton failed to properly preserve her records—a clear violation of federal law.

Secretary Clinton has long argued that this was a non-issue because emails sent from her personal address to State Department employees were captured by department servers. She first made this argument at a press conference last year:

“The vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department.”

But the new State Department Inspector General (IG) report says that’s wrong:

“Secretary Clinton’s representative asserted that, because the Secretary emailed Department officials at their government email accounts, the Department already had records of the Secretary’s email preserved within its recordkeeping systems. As previously discussed, however, sending emails from a personal account to other employees at their Department is not an appropriate method of preserving any such emails that would constitute a Federal record.”

So, contrary to her claims, an unknown number of Secretary Clinton’s emails were not preserved. But what the IG says next is far more concerning:

“Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary. At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”

This means that, at the very least, Secretary Clinton completely violated federal recordkeeping requirements while serving as our nation’s chief diplomat. The report explicitly notes that she “did not comply” with the Federal Records Act—a 1995 law that requires agency heads to “make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency and designed to furnish the information necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the agencies activities.”

This raises serious concerns about whether Secretary Clinton compromised national security secrets for what she describes as a matter of “convenience.”

Moreover, no public official is above the law. Secretary Clinton’s actions were at best negligent and at worst harmful to our national security. The State Department should work to ensure that all employees strictly comply with the law, and follow the IG’s recommendations to strengthen its recordkeeping system.

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The Constitution vs. DC Council

2016/05/25

Today, the House will act to take back Congress’s powers under the Constitution.

Article I, section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to “exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over . . . the Seat of the Government of the United States.” The Founding Fathers designed it this way so that the seat of power would not exceed that of other states. James Madison even advocated for this in The Federalist Papers.

Congress thought it was important to give District residents a say in how their city is run, so in 1973 it passed the DC Home Rule Act. This law gives the DC government local legislative powers, such as the ability to raise local revenues to run the city. However, in keeping with Congress’s authority as the supreme legislative body for the District, the way that that money is spent is still subject to congressional approval.

The current DC government is running fast and loose with the Constitution. In December 2012, the DC Council passed the Local Budget Autonomy Act, which illegally amends the DC Home Rule Act to remove congressional approval from the DC appropriations process.

This is unconstitutional. Congress has ultimate authority over the District, and efforts to undermine this authority are in violation of the Constitution. There are real consequences. The DC government wants to use revenues to fund abortions in the District. House Republicans will not stand for that. There is a lawsuit underway to stop this, but Congress is not going to stand idly by.

Today, the House will pass the Clarifying Congressional Intent in Providing for DC Home Rule Act of 2016, which totally repeals the illegal Local Budget Autonomy Act of 2012 and amends the Home Rule Act of 1973 to clarify that DC funds are indeed subject to congressional approval.

The current DC government needs to be reined in. We will not allow Congress and the Constitution to be undermined.

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House Takes Next Step to Responsibly Address Puerto Rico Crisis

2016/05/25

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement after the Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 5278, the “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act” (PROMESA):

“It’s important that we go through regular order to pass PROMESA, our bipartisan legislation that protects American taxpayers. I commend the members of the Natural Resources Committee—on both sides of the aisle—who worked to responsibly address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis and prevent a bailout. In particular, I want to thank Chairman Bishop for his leadership in developing and passing this important, bipartisan legislation.”

Related: 1. House Puerto Rico Bill Protects Taxpayers From a Bailout

2. Puerto Rico Bill Addresses Crisis, Avoids Taxpayer Bailout

3.  Puerto Rico Default Underlines Need to Prevent Bailout, Pass PROMESA

4. “There will be no taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico”

5. Conservative Groups Back Puerto Rico Bill

6. Puerto Rico: “Progress, not a bailout” 7. VERIFIED: House Bill Protects Taxpayers From Bailout, Requires Tough Choices From Puerto Rico

8. Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

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Here's Everything Wrong With Secretary McDonald's Comments

2016/05/25

Mr. Secretary: No one misunderstood. What you said was wrong. Period. https://t.co/XgyeE6Iu0G

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 24, 2016

Yesterday, VA Secretary Bob McDonald doubled down on his offensive comments that waiting for health care from the VA is comparable to standing in line at Disneyland. In case you missed it, here’s what he said on Monday:

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience. And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”

More than twenty-four hours later, Secretary McDonald appears to see nothing wrong with this statement, suggesting that perhaps he was simply “misunderstood.” No one misunderstood. He just said the wrong thing—for several reasons:

1. Disney does measure the number of hours you wait in line. As IJ Review points out, Disney does in fact measure wait times, which it understands is critical to the overall experience. A Disney spokesperson explains that the company takes exceptional steps to help make waiting more enjoyable (e.g. a play area at the Dumbo ride that doubles as a waiting room). And if you’re still not satisfied, you can buy a Fast Pass to skip long lines. There are no fun play areas or Fast Passes at the VA.

2. Wait times are critical to your satisfaction with the experience. If you have to wait an hour to take a spin on It’s a Small World, that’s going to hurt your overall experience at Disney—even if you love the ride itself. The impact of wait times on your experience at the VA is far more consequential. Veterans have died waiting in these lines.

3. Waiting an hour to ride Thunder Mountain just doesn’t compare to waiting several months for health care. I’m sorry, but no matter how much you hate standing in line at amusement parks, it doesn’t quite compare to waiting months on end for health care. Disney wait lines may be a matter of riding Thunder Mountain two times or three times. VA wait lines may be a matter of life and death.

Veterans are brave men and women who made tremendous sacrifices so that Americans can enjoy places like Disneyland. Many of them suffered injuries in defending this country and our freedoms, and they deserve timely access to quality care from the VA. 

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The Choice

2016/05/25

If you're like 70% of Americans, you probably agree that our country is headed in the wrong direction. So, what can you do about it? Sure. . . you can stay mad. OR you can channel that anger into promoting actual solutions. 

That is the choice—which is based on principle, not personality—plain and simple. Learn more in the 1-minute video below.

Transcript

"I've not seen the kind of bitterness in our politics like we have today. And I've got to say, I think it's both sides. It's not—you know, I'd love to say it's just Democrats, but it's not—it's both. And it doesn't have to be that way. 

"America can do better.

"This anxiety has got to be channeled and dealt with with solutions instead of just amplified and accelerated and exacerbated. How do you fix that? I think leaders fix this, and we haven't had that kind of leadership lately.

"Leaders need to say: 'here's my principle; here's my solution.' And let's try and do it in a way that is inclusive, that's optimistic, that's aspirational, that's focusing on solutions.

"And so, that's the choice you'll have, far more than a personality. Republicans lose personality contests anyway. We always do. But we win ideas contests. We owe you that choice."

Related videos:
  1. Seize This Moment
  2. Speaker Ryan's Millennial Town Hall at Georgetown University
  3. Politics These Days
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House Passes Bill to Update EPA Chemical Regulation

2016/05/24

WASHINGTON — Today, the House passed H.R. 2576, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Modernization Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) to update the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of American-made chemicals and the products that contain them. Upon passage, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement:

“Chemical regulation can be awfully complicated, but this bill isn’t—it is just common sense. By removing 40-year-old barriers and modernizing procedures, we reduce the risk to consumers. This means the chemicals and products we use every day will be safer for Americans. I commend John, our colleagues in the Senate, and members on both sides of the aisle for getting this done, and I look forward to sending this bill to the president’s desk.”

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House Puerto Rico Bill Protects Taxpayers From a Bailout

2016/05/24

Last week, the House introduced H.R. 5278, the “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act" (PROMESA), which protects taxpayers and addresses Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. Take a look at these op-eds and editorial boards supporting PROMESA:

Kenneth Klee, renowned bankruptcy law expert: “PROMESA puts no taxpayer money at risk.  Yet the proposal’s critics (a shadowy cast of powerful hedge funds) are cynically referring to it as a bailout so they can profit handsomely from an actual taxpayer bailout down the road, once the situation in Puerto Rico spins further out of control. . . . Congress should not be taken in by this ruse and should instead consider PROMESA on its merits.  If it does so, the legislation will pass and Puerto Rico – and the rest of the United States – will be better off as a result.” (The Hill)

Greg Bell, former Utah lieutenant governor: “With a new draft of House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop's bill to resolve the crisis about to be released, there has been a barrage of ads opposing the bill as a taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico. The ads assert or imply that Bishop is undermining Social Security and that the federal government will bail out Puerto Rico with taxpayer funds or that debt re-structuring would be done on the backs of small bondholders. The truth is precisely the opposite: Unless Congressional action is taken now to restructure Puerto Rico's massive $70 billion-plus debt, it is all but guaranteed that much more dramatic and costly federal intervention will be required when a full-blown economic and humanitarian crisis hits the island in the wake of a full default.” (Salt Lake Tribune)

PROMESA sponsors Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bishop and Rep. Duffy: “Deceitful attack ads from dark-money special-interest groups have surfaced in recent weeks calling previous drafts of the bill a ‘bailout.’ These claims are false and ignore the basic federalist and constitutional principles that are the foundation of the legislation. To the contrary, PROMESA prevents taxpayers from being on the hook for Puerto Rico’s irresponsible behavior and it does so within a constitutional framework that will provide real, long-lasting reform for Puerto Rico. The bill also respects the priority of legal claims and rejects outright an amendment to Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code from which the territories were expressly excluded.” (National Review)

Washington Post editorial board: [T]he bill actually preserves existing lawful priorities and leaves it up to the board to grant any adjustments, subject to court review. To be sure, this basically relocates the same squabble among creditors that had been playing out in Washington; now the referee will be an impartial panel of experts armed with a reliable audit of the island’s obligations." (Washington Post)

Wall Street Journal editorial board: “[t]he Republican Congress is using conservative principles to solve an urgent problem caused by progressive government. With some fortitude and a little luck, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico might even be able to grow again. House Republicans this week plan to mark up a revised bill to let Puerto Rico restructure its $72 billion debt under the supervision of a federal oversight board. Puerto Rico needs Congress’s help to prevent a creditor brawl when the island’s debt issuers inevitably default, as well as to arrest a decades-long recession and population exodus.” (Wall Street Journal)

Here’s the latest news that, once again, affirms that PROMESA is not a bailout, and actually protects taxpayers from a bailout.

“Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), a Puerto Rico native who serves on the Natural Resources panel, successfully inserted a firewall between payments to bondholders and pensioners. Payments to bondholders are guaranteed by the Puerto Rican Constitution, and the new language ensures pension payments cannot be prioritized. Ryan and his leadership team ‘have been working closely with me. They’ve done a great job of making sure that all the concerns that I had about the bill have been addressed,’ Labrador said.”(The Hill)

"[T]he latest round in a lobbying and public advocacy effort that has drawn ire from both sides of the aisle in Congress. It follows a targeted ad campaign that has spent millions to stop the bill by labeling it a bailout, a loaded word ever since the public uproar over the bank and auto rescues in the 2008 financial crisis. No federal taxpayer funding goes toward paying Puerto Rico's debt." (Politico)

“Under the new law, the fiscal oversight board could override any act or law by the Puerto Rican government that it deems to violate PROMESA. It can also force the government to sell assets, merge agencies and lay off government employees. The board would have the power to hold hearings, subpoena witnesses, demand information and audited financial statements from the government. It would also be allowed to impose criminal penalties for providing false information or violating the board’s orders.” (The Hill)

"The latest version of the PROMESA bill adds more protections for the island's creditors. There is now language explicitly stating that any adjustments of debt must be 'in the best interests of creditors.'" (CNN)

"Creditors could benefit from some of the latest changes to the bill because the board and a court would have to approve a restructuring that honors existing rights and remedies of Puerto Rico’s various bonds. . . . The bill also protects any existing, voluntary restructuring agreements between a commonwealth agency and its creditors." (Bloomberg)

Related: 

1. Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

2.  Puerto Rico Default Underlines Need to Prevent Bailout, Pass PROMESA

2. “There will be no taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico”

3. Conservative Groups Back Puerto Rico Bill

4. Puerto Rico: “Progress, not a bailout” 5. VERIFIED: House Bill Protects Taxpayers From Bailout, Requires Tough Choices From Puerto Rico

6. Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

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Mosquitoes Carrying Zika Must Be Killed

2016/05/24

RT to agree → Mosquitoes carrying #Zika must be killed. https://t.co/I4QNtKPUfX pic.twitter.com/QjQnE9FAil

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 24, 2016

In the midst of a Zika threat, the federal government should not be making it harder for people to kill the mosquitoes that could carry it. That’s one thing we should all agree on—but that’s not how the Obama administration sees it.

Yesterday, the Obama administration came out in opposition to the House’s latest effort to fight Zika at its source. This flies in the face of a major recommendation from the Center for Disease Control for fighting Zika: “vector surveillance and control”—a huge part of which is spraying mosquitoes.

This is serious stuff—we’re not talking about annoyances at your summer barbecue. Mosquitoes are the carriers of life-threatening exotic diseases, among which are the Zika and West Nile viruses. Beyond the personal danger, the treatment of Americans with mosquito-borne illnesses also costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

But leave it to Obama's EPA to make a bad situation worse. Onerous new EPA regulations have completely hamstrung mosquito control activities. Despite the fact it’s already regulated, these duplicative permitting requirements have made it extremely expensive and nearly impossible for districts to control mosquito populations. Pile on litigation from extreme environmental groups, and simple paperwork violations for example that can cost $35,000 per day, according to the American Mosquito Control Association.

It’s simply too much for small businesses.  Leonard Felix of Olath Spray Service Inc. in Colorado testified before the House Small Business Committee, saying he was forced to shut down his business because of the costs and fear of frivolous lawsuits. Dean McClain of AG Flyers in Wyoming shuttered his mosquito control services because of the EPA’s requirement.

We cannot be passive in our fight against Zika, and we take the CDC's recommendation seriously.  Following earlier action to provide needed funding, today the House will consider H.R. 897, the Zika Vector Control Act, which clarifies congressional intent for use of pesticides to prevent diseases and eliminates overlapping permitting regulations—tearing down these barriers to killing mosquitoes.

Unfortunately, it looks like the CDC’s recommendation is less persuasive to the White House than these litigious, deep-pocketed environmental groups. Yesterday, the Obama administration said it “strongly opposes” the House bill, calling it “unnecessary.”

The House has already passed multiple bills that provide resources to the federal government for Zika treatment and vaccine development efforts. But, if we’re not getting at—and killing—these root carriers, then it’s going to be less effective at stopping Zika than throwing a Band-Aid on that bug bite in a swamp. 

What could be more necessary than killing potentially disease-ridden mosquitoes in the midst of a Zika threat? It seems like the administration is putting the pockets of environmental interest groups ahead of the public.  We hope the administration reverses this disturbing position and supports H.R. 897. The health of the public is at stake.

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Speaker Ryan: 'This Is Not Make-Believe'

2016/05/24

“It is important to see Republicans and Democrats come together—as they are this week—to act on reforms to help our veterans.” That was the opening message Speaker Ryan delivered this morning during a press briefing with Republican leaders. Yet, given the progress being made in the House to reform the VA and better serve our veterans, just yesterday, VA Secretary McDonald compared VA wait lines to those at Disneyland—seriously. Speaker Ryan expanded on his disbelief of such careless words used by the secretary, citing why now, more than ever, the culture at the VA needs to change. Below are his full remarks: “First, it is important to see Republicans and Democrats come together—as they are this week—to act on reforms to help our veterans. This is the least we can do for our men and women who have served, and of course, for their families.

“So yesterday, when the VA Secretary compared the lines at his agency to the lines at an amusement park, we were dumbfounded. This is not make-believe. This is not Disneyland or Wonderland, for that matter. Veterans have died waiting in line for their care.

“Clearly, the Secretary’s comments were not worthy of the veterans that he serves. But they were also indicative of a culture of indifference at the VA.

“To date, almost no one has been held accountable at the Veterans’ Administration for a national scandal. Bonuses are still being handed out like normal. Waste, fraud, and abuse [are] still rampant. Meanwhile, our veterans still wait for care far too long.

“So, yes, Secretary McDonald ought to clarify his comments. Just as important, he should pledge to redouble his efforts to fix these problems, as he—and the president—promised to do.” 

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Air Force Pilots are LITERALLY Going to Museums for Spare Parts

2016/05/24

Museums. They are where millions of Americans go every year to interact with history and experience different cultures, and we have some of the best museums in the world right here in Washington, D.C. You can see Dorothy’s ruby slippers at the Museum of American History, check out Apollo 11 at the Air and Space Museum, or relive ancient Egypt at the Museum of Natural History.

But to our armed forces, museums now serve a very different purpose.

The readiness crisis in our military has gotten so bad that Marines and Air Force pilots are literally going to museums to pull spare parts off old ships and airplanes.

As a recent news report explains, “Capt. Travis Lytton, who works to keep his squadron of B-1’s airborne, showed Fox News a museum aircraft where his maintainers stripped a part in order to make sure one of his B-1s could steer properly on the ground. ‘We also pulled it off of six other museum jets throughout the U.S.,’ Lytton said."

This is not what museums are for. 

The Air Force employs B-1 bombers to strike ISIS targets within Iraq and Syria, but a constant need for maintenance and repairs—especially without key replacement parts on hand—has forced the military to instead use older, B-52 planes. This has directly contributed to a decline of U.S. airstrikes on ISIS. Pulling planes like the B-1 out of commission for extended periods of time has also forced cutbacks to training hours, leaving pilots less prepared to get in the cockpit.  

These shortfalls are not exclusive to the Air Force or Marines. Every branch of our armed forces suffers from various readiness gaps, which directly inhibit our troops’ ability to safely and efficiently execute their missions. 

That’s why the House acted last week to close this dire readiness gap. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) boosts base funding by $18 billion over the president’s budget request so the military has the tools it needs to keep us safe. This is an important step necessary to build a 21st century military, which is central to our forthcoming vision for a safer, stronger, and more confident America.

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Secretary McDonald Compares VA Lines to Disneyland

2016/05/23

This is not make-believe, Mr. Secretary. Veterans have died waiting in those lines. https://t.co/OxfT3AYzTi

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 23, 2016

Earlier today, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald directly compared wait lines for VA health care to Disneyland. Seriously.

Here’s exactly what he said:

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience. And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”

There really are no words to describe the absurdity of this statement, but we’ll give it a shot. The VA is not the happiest place on earth—far from it. Veterans have died waiting in line for health care at VA facilities. There’s no Fast Pass at the VA. Veterans seeking immediate medical attention don’t have that luxury. Instead, many have found themselves waiting months or even years for medical attention—all while VA officials manipulate wait list times in order to preserve their bonuses.

This kind of flippant comment shows just how seriously the Obama administration's VA is taking these life or death problems. And it's not acceptable.

House Republicans are committed to holding the VA accountable, and this requires real reforms so that it actually takes care of our veterans. Just last week, we passed bipartisan legislation forcing the VA to improve wait times, strengthen its electronic health records, and eliminate bonuses for senior administration employees. You can learn more about this important bill from Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), vice chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, in our most recent Republican address.

The brave men and women who sacrificed so much for our freedom and safety deserve so much better from the VA. We won’t stop fighting until all veterans can easily access the quality care they need and deserve. It’s the least we can do.

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Speaker Ryan Commencement Speech at Carthage College

2016/05/23

Yesterday, Speaker Ryan delivered the commencement address at Carthage College. Below are his remarks: 

Thank you very much. To the class of 2016, congratulations. This is a big moment in your life. And no matter how much fun you have tonight, you’re bound to remember some of it. If you forget this speech, well, that’s no big loss. I’ll get over it eventually. Just remember one thing: Remember the people who got you here.

There’s an old saying which I might have made up a few minutes go . . . that marriage is for the couple; the wedding is for the family. I’d think of your graduation the same way. It is their achievement as much as it is yours. And yet they have gladly given you all the credit. So if your mom or your dad or your brother or your sister or your grandparents or your cousins . . . . if they get a little teary-eyed . . . or let out a few sniffles . . . or just break down and sob . . . bear with them. Thank them. Appreciate them. They love you more than you will ever know. So to all the faculty, to all the family, I just want to say to you, “Job well done. Fantastic." This is what gives us all hope for our country, our society, our community.

You know, it has been ten years ago since I spoke at this commencement the last time. The last time I was here was basically my first encounter as a Catholic with our new then bishop, His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who was then the archbishop of Milwaukee. He did the prayer; I did the speech. I wanted to keep things casual, so my topic was the need for truth in the modern world. As expected, it was a total hit. I got wild applause. I mean cheering, shouting, crying—and that was just from the archbishop. Later, he came up to me . . . and said, “I loved your speech. It was so . . . short.” We’ve been great friends ever since. So if you’re feeling a little stir-crazy right now . . . rest assured: I will get right to the point.

The biggest piece of advice that I’d give to all of you is this: Don’t worry too much about the plan. Go where you can make a difference. Sometimes fulfillment lies in very unpredictable places. All your life people are going to hound you about the plan, the plan, the plan . . . Have you found a job? Are you going to graduate school? Where do you see yourself in 20 years? It will seem like nobody cares what you do so much as where you end up. And you will start to wonder whether you shouldn’t care either. But beware: Careerism, in the wrong way, is cynicism in perpetual motion.

Before donor services drags me off the stage, let me clarify what I'm saying here: I am not telling you to reject that job offer and move into your parents’ basement. What I am saying is, wherever you end up, the work itself is the reward. Treat it that way. Because the truth is, life can put your best-laid plans through the paper shredder. You may never get that dream job—or if you do get that dream job, it may turn out to be a nightmare. But maybe you’re meant to do something else. What seems to you like catastrophe could end up becoming opportunity. Don’t be so quick to dismiss that opportunity if it doesn’t fit into the plan. When you come to a fork in the road, and you are deciding between two paths, instead of thinking, “How do I stay on course?” think to yourself, “Where can I do the most good? Where do I get real fulfillment?" If you realize it is the detour, then take it.

That, in a nutshell, is my advice. But it would be rude to give a three-minute commencement address, so let me just proceed to elaborate.

When I was your age, I had a plan. 1992. It seems like yesterday, doesn't it? I thought I had a plan . . . . I wanted to be an economist—which goes to show just how much fun I was in those days. The plan was, work in public finance for a few years. . . . Get some experience. Go to grad school. Get my PhD. Join a think tank. And then I’d give policymakers advice. . . . A few years in, everything was going according to plan. I was working in economic policy . . . getting ready for grad school. And then, life intervened. The congressman who represented my home district decided to run for Senate. . . . He asked me to be his campaign manager. That's just not my thing. I'm a policy guy, not a political guy. When I declined, he said, “In that case, you should run for my seat.”

I said, “Run for your seat? That’s crazy. I’m 27 years old.”

He asked me, “Why not?” I told him I was young and no way could I win. It wasn't my plan. And he said, “You know, if I listened to all the people who told me what I could not do, I’d never get anything done in my life. What do you care about? What do you believe in?”

I told him I believed in the principles of our founding fathers. I loved public policy because I wanted to solve problems. Well, that was all he needed to hear. He told me, “Then, run.” But I still wasn’t convinced. I called my mentor. I lost my father when I was a kid, so I grew up with mentors. One of my best mentors was a guy named Jack Kemp, a former congressman from New York. I asked him, “Should I do this?”

And he said, “Absolutely. You can make such a difference. You're a Wisconsinite, but you're a public policy guy. Go do it. ”

Then I called another mentor of mine, a guy named Bill Bennett. And I asked, “Does this pass the laugh test?”

And he said, “Yes . . . barely.” Actually, he was quite encouraging.

Then I called my mom and I told her what I was thinking. She thought I was crazy. She said, “. . . really? You would want to do that?”

So ultimately, I ran and I won. But soon, I had another plan. Soon, I realized in the House of Representatives, where I wanted to go, where I wanted to carve my space and make my difference. The issues I cared so much about, the issues my employers were telling me they wanted me to work on were the issues in front of the House Ways and Means Committee: the tax code, health care, retirement security, poverty. My goal was to become the chairman of that committee because I thought I could . . . at least make a big difference in these areas that I cared about. So I worked for years to achieve that goal. And finally, last year, in 2015, I  became chairman of that committee. But seven months in, the speaker of the House, John Boehner, resigned unexpectedly. The next in line . . . Kevin McCarthy, dropped out of the running. And my colleagues drafted and asked me to run.

I never wanted to be speaker, and I had said so in no uncertain terms many times before. I was a policy guy. I didn’t like the idea of spending my time on other things. I live with my family in Janesville. Every weekend I am here with my family. Yesterday was turkey hunting and track meet and then dinner at my mom's. Today, here in Kenosha with you. I couldn't give those weekends up. But John told me, if you don’t like the job, then change it. Keep your weekends at home. Focus on policy. Make it work. Turn it around. So, I took his advice, and soon I realized: I can do this. I actually liked the job. Now, I feel like the dog that finally caught the car that —except I wasn’t chasing it in the first place.

And you see? We have something in common: At the beginning of your senior year, I also didn’t know what I’d be doing after graduation.

This job isn’t anything I ever expected—or even wanted. And yet I’m still doing what I love: public policy. I learned eventually in my journey that public policy was my vocation, public service was where I found fulfillment.Through all the twists and turns, that has been the consistent theme of my life. Now you have to figure out what is yours. It may change as you get older, but the only way you will find out is if you take your work seriously. It is your contribution to our country. Now, when I say this, I'm not saying that your work is what you get paid for. Your work is all of your responsibilities, like your family and your friendships and your community. It is funny but as life gets more complicated, it gets a whole lot simpler as well. Status will matter less, and doing your part will matter more.

So don’t worry too much about the plan.

As I was preparing these remarks, I had a mild panic attack that my advice wasn’t sufficiently practical. So, for good measure, let me put it in a quick three-part postscript.

First, a lot of people will tell you not to fear failure, but learn from it—and that is a great piece of advice. I would also say that you need to forgive it too. You will make mistakes, and so will other people—your friends, your coworkers, your family. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take it in stride. It is good life advice. It is also good professional advice. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer. Nobody likes somebody that is lecturing all the time. There are lots of smart, young, talented, hardworking, ambitious people in society—you among them. Attitude is everything. Have a good attitude. Be an uplifter. Fill the glass, don't take from the glass.

Second, read as much as humanly possible. John Adams once told his son, “You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.” I was always more of a history and economics guy. But the lesson still applies. The greatest asset you have is your mind. But it really is like a muscle. You have to keep it in shape. Don't forget that.

Third, if you’re believer, keep going to church. Don’t let that fall by the wayside. I know that might sound a little preachy or even a little cheesy. But you don’t have to make a big show of it. Just go. Prayer has sustained me in many difficult moments of my life. I think it will do the same for you.

Because as you get older, you realize that life does actually follow a plan. It just may not be your plan. It is God’s plan. And coming to accept that fundamental fact—not begrudgingly but peacefully—that is the essence of faith. You might not be able to make all the changes you wanted. The question is, did you make a difference wherever you could? Did you meet the moment? Did you look yourself in the mirror that morning or that evening and think "Yeah, okay. I am doing this the right way." Are you endeavoring to be fulfilled and be a good person . . . in all of your works of life? 

So if you remember one word from this speech, let it be “faith.” That should be all the planning you need.

May God bless you and keep you in His care. Congratulations once again. And thank you all very much.

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Statement on the Death of Taliban Leader

2016/05/23

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement in response to the report from the Obama administration that Mullah Mansoor, the head of the Taliban, has been killed:

"This strike is a reminder that we remain a nation at war. I applaud all those involved in this operation, particularly the men and women of our military, intelligence, and diplomatic services. We owe them a comprehensive strategy for winning the war on terrorism and the resources to execute that strategy." 

 

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Thank You to Our Armed Forces

2016/05/21

It's right there in the Preamble to the Constitution. One of the chief responsibilities of our federal government is to "provide for the common defense." It's a duty that Speaker Ryan takes very seriously, and in fact, this very week, the House acted decisively on a national defense bill that: 

  1. Gives our troops a pay raise,
  2. Funds their training, and
  3. Prevents the administration from bringing GITMO terrorists to American soil.

These are common sense steps towards building a 21st-century military, but for most Americans, there is an even simpler way to express support for our men and women in uniform, and that's to say "thank you."  

So from Speaker Ryan (and his entire team in the Speaker's Office), thank you to all who have served or are currently serving in America's armed forces. 

10 Photos that Say 'Thank You' to our Armed Forces

1. Members of the USMC share a laugh with the Speaker in his office.

2. The most decorated officer of the 82nd Airborne also happens to be a 99-year-old Wisconsinite.

3. Speaker Ryan invites two Medal of Honor recipients from Afghanistan and Iraq to his balcony at the U.S. Capitol.

4. The Borinqueneers of World War II and Korea receive the highest award that Congress can bestow—the Congressional Gold Medal.

5. Speaker Ryan meets a group of young marines on the Speaker's balcony.

6. For Veterans Day, Speaker Ryan spends time with veterans in Racine, Wisconsin.

7. Speaker Ryan celebrates Major General Poppas' promotion to a two-star.

8. A West Point Cadet stretches across the table for a fist bump.

9. John Palese travels from Wisconsin to be honored with a Congressional Gold Medal.

10. While in Germany, Speaker Ryan visits with Marines stationed abroad.

Related Stories: 

  1. A Strong America is Desperately Needed
  2. A Confident America
  3. The Top Ten Photos from April
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Weekly Republican Address: Protecting America’s Veterans

2016/05/21

WASHINGTON — In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), vice chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, discusses the steps House Republicans are taking to improve the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) and hold it accountable.

This week, the House passed legislation that funds the VA. In it, we have used our constitutional authority to hold the VA accountable,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “That means making the VA meet requirements for improving electronic health records. It means adding hundreds of new employees to tackle claims appeals. And it means prohibiting all VA Senior Executive Service Managers from receiving bonuses.”

NOTE: The audio of the weekly address is available here, and the video will be available on speaker.gov.

Remarks of Representative Gus Bilirakis of Florida Weekly Republican AddressWashington, DCMay 21, 2016

Hello. My name is Gus Bilirakis. I serve as Vice-Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. And I represent the people of Florida’s 12th Congressional District.

Today, on behalf of my constituents and behalf of all Republicans, I would like to deliver a message directly to America’s veterans, our true American heroes:

America is what she is because of you. We are free because of you. You have borne the battle, and we have vowed to take care of you and yours.

I only wish that your government always lived up to this promise. It has been nearly two years since VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amid a series of scandals. At the time, the president said—and I quote—“the number one priority is making sure that problems get fixed.”

But problems have not been fixed, and it’s not clear whether it’s a priority for this administration.

Despite receiving more funding, the VA is still taking too long to process claims. Wait times are actually worse.

Despite receiving more authority to clean up the bureaucracy, the VA has held almost no one accountable for manipulating wait times. Meanwhile, some of the same people responsible for these problems received bonuses as if nothing happened. That’s unacceptable as far as I’m concerned.

To you, these are life and death issues. But too often at the VA, it is business as usual.

We cannot accept that. That’s why, in recent months, the House and Senate have been working on reforms to boost accountability and improve care. Just last week, the House passed legislation—bipartisan legislation, by the way—to address the drug addiction problem that is so prevalent among our veterans.

And this week, the House passed legislation that funds the VA. In it, we have used our constitutional authority to hold the VA accountable. That means making the VA meet requirements for improving electronic health records. It means adding hundreds of new employees to tackle claims appeals. And it means prohibiting all VA Senior Executive Service Managers from receiving bonuses.

Because we can’t throw money at the problem all the time, ok? It won’t go away just doing that. We need real and meaningful reforms at the VA.

And we need President Obama to keep his word to you, and make it his top priority to fix the problems at the VA.

We will not rest until he does.

That’s the least we can do.

Thank you for listening, and thank you for your service to this great country. 

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Rep. Gus Bilirakis to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2016/05/20

WASHINGTON — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), vice chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, May 21. In the address, Rep. Bilirakis will discuss how the House is working to improve the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) and hold it accountable, like with legislation passed this week requiring the department to meet updated requirements to better help our nation’s veterans. 

"As vice chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have seen the devastating shortfalls within the VA firsthand,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “The legislation we advanced this week will help bring about crucial reform efforts to help our nations heroes. We owe it to our veterans, and we must not cease until they receive the support and care they have earned and deserve.”

“Our troops risk their lives every day to protect this country—that risk shouldn’t still exist when they come home,” said Speaker Ryan. “The VA is in desperate need of reform, and I’m proud of the work Gus is doing to make sure our veterans are treated with the care and respect they so selflessly fought for."

Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Florida’s 12th Congressional District was first elected to Congress in 2006 and is currently serving his fifth term. Rep. Bilirakis serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is vice chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He is chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Task Force for the Republican Policy Committee, co-chairman of the Military Veterans Caucus and co-chairman of the Congressional Hellenic Caucus and the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance. In his role as vice chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and member of the Health Subcommittee, Rep. Bilirakis continues to ensure our nation’s heroes remain a top priority.

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

NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting on Saturday, May 21, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov

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Speaker Ryan: 'This Has Been a Good Week of Progress'

2016/05/19

This morning at his weekly press briefing, Speaker Ryan recapped the progress made this week in the people’s House, including establishing a conference committee to address the opioid crisis, sending a bipartisan jobs bill to the president’s desk, and passing a national defense bill to give American troops a pay raise. The speaker discussed these accomplishments in more detail during his opening remarks: “This has been a good week of progress on many fronts.

“On Tuesday, we jump-started a House-Senate conference committee to finalize bipartisan legislation in the fight against America’s opioid epidemic.

“On Wednesday, we sent a bipartisan jobs bill to the president’s desk. This will help small manufacturers get better access to the tax relief that they need so that they can do more of hiring people, of building things. That’s a bill I worked on for years at Ways and Means—miscellaneous tariff benefits—we finally got this done. It’s on the way to the president’s desk.

“The House also passed a plan to help protect our people from the spread of Zika. We will now work with the Senate to get much needed resources in place.

“Also, committee leaders introduced bipartisan legislation to address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis and to prevent a taxpayer bailout. This bill was introduced last night. Now we are going to make sure that the public has the chance to review this through regular order. But this is an urgent matter, so once the bill is signed into law, we will name our appointees to the oversight board in short order so they can get up and running and working.

“The House passed a strong national defense bill that gives our troops a pay raise. They certainly deserve it, and I think we all respect that. This bill also goes a long way towards addressing the readiness crisis in our military, which is also so important.

“And today, the House is passing a plan to hold the Veterans’ Administration accountable for every dollar it spends. That means no bonuses to top bureaucrats and more reforms—more reforms to get our veterans the care they need when they need it. “We look forward to building on all of this progress that we have achieved this week.

“Lastly, regarding Flight 804: I’ve been getting updates throughout the day. We do not now know just what happened yet. We will withhold judgment until we have all of the facts, but right now, I think the thoughts of the whole House are with the families of those who were on board.” 

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Liberal progressivism is the antithesis of the young experience

2016/05/19

In a live Facebook interview with The Wall Street Journal last week, Speaker Ryan described why liberal progressivism is counter to the way that young people, especially of the digital generation, live their lives:

“Think of all the things you get to do in your life, whether it’s buying something, whether it’s ordering movie tickets, signing up for classes. You name what you can do on this thing, and you want to subscribe to a political philosophy that denies you choices, that denies you the ability to customize your life in things like healthcare, education, and retirement? So why on earth would a young person, who enjoys the liberty and freedom of today’s society and technology, subscribe to a political philosophy that says: ‘There are smarter people than you who can lord over us in bureaucracies in Washington and make decisions for us on how our economy is run and how our communities are organized.’

That is the epitome of liberal progressivism. To me, it is the antithesis of the young experience. We should be able to solve problems ourselves, make decisions for ourselves, and we ought to be able to organize our lives in special areas that progressives seek to deny us.”

On the other hand, he explained how conservatism, with principles of individual freedom and natural rights, is a natural philosophical home for young people.

“Our party is the party of individual freedom. It’s the party of equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. It’s the party of natural rights, not government granted rights. That is, to me, philosophically very much in keeping with the day to day life and experience of young people."

As Speaker Ryan said, we have our work cut out for us in communicating to young people how the principles of conservatism applied to society is best for them. But he’s not shying away from this debate. Speaker Ryan took it to their turf when he participated in a millennial town hall at Georgetown University earlier this month. There he engaged with students, answering their questions on issues important to them—from student debt to healthcare. Check out that video here

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Puerto Rico Bill Addresses Crisis, Avoids Taxpayer Bailout

2016/05/19

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) applauded the introduction of H.R. 5278, the bipartisan Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which addresses the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico while preventing a taxpayer bailout for the territory: 

“Right now, the stability of the U.S. territory is in danger, as the Puerto Rican government continues to default on major loan payments. We have insisted that our response meet basic principles, and first among them is protecting taxpayers from a bailout. Today, Republicans and Democrats came together to fulfill Congress’s constitutional and fiscal responsibility to address the crisis with the introduction of PROMESA, the House’s bipartisan legislation. PROMESA is the most responsible solution to the crisis because it gives Puerto Rico a path to real reform while protecting taxpayers. I commend Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bishop, Rep. Duffy, and Rep. Sensenbrenner for their leadership on this legislation."

Related: 1. Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

2.  Puerto Rico Default Underlines Need to Prevent Bailout, Pass PROMESA

2. “There will be no taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico”

3. Conservative Groups Back Puerto Rico Bill

4. Puerto Rico: “Progress, not a bailout” 5. VERIFIED: House Bill Protects Taxpayers From Bailout, Requires Tough Choices From Puerto Rico

6. Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

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Statement on Passage of 2017 NDAA

2016/05/19

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on House passage of H.R. 4909, the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

“We need to build a 21st century military capable of confronting the evolving threats we face. However, gaping equipment and funding shortfalls are endangering our troops and making it harder for them to execute their missions. The NDAA will help close this readiness gap by modernizing and fully funding our forces. I hope the Senate will join us in passing this bill and sending it to the president's desk."

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Just Passed: A Plan to Stop the Spread of Zika

2016/05/19

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after passage of H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act:

“This plan helps protect our people from the spread of Zika in the most direct way possible. We are allocating more resources immediately for critical priorities such as vaccine development and mosquito control. This is in addition to the existing resources that we called for the administration to use earlier this year. All told, we are allocating $1.2 billion, and we are requiring that it be used in this fiscal year with complete accountability and transparency. We will now work with the Senate to get needed resources to the president’s desk.”

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Speaker Ryan Signs Bipartisan Manufacturing Jobs Bill

2016/05/18

This is a jobs bill and a reform bill. Now it goes to the president's desk. #MTB https://t.co/X2uXavB5Ao pic.twitter.com/eaJuWdPxVk

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 18, 2016

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement after signing H.R. 4923, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act

“This is a jobs bill and a reform bill. It will make sure that our small manufacturers have better access to the tax relief they need. It will make sure the system works better by having an independent board review requests before they go to Congress. So it’s less politics, more transparency, and more jobs too. It is a win across the board for our manufacturers. I want to thank the members of the House and the Senate who came together to get this done, and I’m proud to send it on to the president’s desk.”

 

NOTE: Speaker Ryan was joined at today’s bill signing by: 

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX)

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)

Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY)

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC)

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5 Things You Need to Know About the NDAA

2016/05/18

This week, the House is considering the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which recently passed the Armed Services Committee by a 60-2 vote. We’re currently working our way through dozens of amendments, but in the meantime, here are five key things you need to know about this critical bill:

1. It Helps Close the Readiness Gap As Speaker Ryan noted earlier this week, “Right now, there are real and documented shortfalls in the ability of our troops to execute their missions.” The situation has gotten so bad that Air Force pilots are literally going to museums for discontinued spare parts. A marine deployed to Guam landed his F-18 while it was on fire because his squadron couldn’t afford to lose a plane. And some Air Force planes are so outdated that 21 different fleets would qualify for antique license plates in Virginia. In March, Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy said the base funding requested in the president’s budget “is minimally adequate. We are taking high risk as an Army and as a nation when you fund our Army at this level.” That is unacceptable. Our greatest responsibility is to ensure servicemembers have the tools necessary to complete their missions safely and efficiently. That’s why the NDAA boosts base funding by $18 billion more than the president’s budget request. This will authorize the necessary force, structure, equipment, and funding to help close the readiness gap. The bill also fully funds the overseas deployment of our troops in harm’s way through April of next year, giving a new President the opportunity to develop a real strategy for the war against ISIS and to request the resources needed to execute that strategy.

2. It Reforms the Acquisition System This bill reforms our acquisition system to make it leaner and more cost-efficient while streamlining the process of getting cutting-edge technology to the troops. These provisions will eliminate bureaucratic redundancies and increase transparency to ensure warfighters get the tools they need and taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. As Chairman Thornberry said, “We simply can no longer afford the current acquisition system. It costs too much, it takes too long, and our troops simply don’t get enough of it. The system needs critical reforms and that is why this year’s proposal will change its very foundations. It will give the military the freedom to experiment more and the flexibility to get prototypes into the field quickly.” 

3. It Gives our Troops a Raise This bill not only funds our troops, but also gives them a well-deserved raise. Despite the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to block a raise for our servicemembers, this bill includes a fully offset pay increase of 2.1% for the upcoming year. Our troops and their families make tremendous sacrifices to defend us, so this is the least we can do to express our gratitude.

4. It Keeps the Terrorists in Gitmo This bill maintains a longstanding prohibition on transferring Gitmo detainees to the United States. Earlier this year, the president proposed closing the detention facility and relocating some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists to our own backyard. As Speaker Ryan said at the time, “Congress has left no room for confusion. It is against the law—and it will stay against the law—to transfer terrorist detainees to American soil. We will not jeopardize our national security over a campaign promise.” It’s time for the president to finally move on from this issue.

5. It Combats Sexual Assault Sexual assault in the military remains a persistent problem. This year’s NDAA builds upon past, bipartisan efforts to prevent sexual assault, provide support for victims, and prosecute those who commit these heinous crimes. New updates to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) will make it easier for victims to report cases and require mandatory sentences for certain offenses. These reforms will also establish new reporting requirements regarding domestic and child sexual abuse cases reported through the Family Advocacy Program.

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Statement on Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule

2016/05/18

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement regarding the release of the Department of Labor’s finalized overtime rule:

“This regulation hurts the very people it alleges to help. Who is hurt most? Students, non-profit employees, and people starting a new career. By mandating overtime pay at a much higher salary threshold, many small businesses and non-profits will simply be unable to afford skilled workers and be forced to eliminate salaried positions, complete with benefits, altogether. For the sake of his own political legacy, President Obama is rushing through regulations—like the overtime rule—that will cause people to lose their livelihoods. We are committed to fighting this rule and the many others that would be an absolute disaster for our economy.”

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Speaker Ryan Names Cuban-American Freedom Fighter to Commission on International Religious Freedom

2016/05/18

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today announced that he has reappointed Daniel I. Mark of Villanova University and appointed Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The Commission is an independent body made up of nine commissioners from outside the government who review religious freedom violations abroad and make policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress. This will be Dr. Mark’s second term on the commission. Ms. Arriaga will succeed Dr. Robert P. George of Princeton University, who has completed two terms on the commission.

In a time when so many around the world are being oppressed for their faith, the Commission’s work is as indispensable as ever,” Speaker Ryan said. “I want to thank Dr. George, whose service to the Commission is only the latest chapter in an extraordinary career defending our first principles. Beyond a wealth of insight, Dr. Mark has brought great moral courage to the Commission, and I am proud to reappoint him. The daughter of parents who fled Castro’s Cuba, Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz has dedicated her life to the liberty of others. Her voice and experiences as a freedom fighter make Kristina a great addition to the Commission.” 

About Daniel Mark. Dr. Daniel Mark is an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. He teaches political theory, philosophy of law, American government, and politics and religion. At Villanova, he is a faculty associate of the Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good. He holds the rank of battalion professor in Villanova’s Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps unit. Daniel holds a BA, MA, and PhD from the Department of Politics at Princeton University.

About Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz. Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz is the Executive Director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, an organization she first joined in 1995. After starting her career in Washington working for US Ambassador José Sorzano at the Cuban American National Foundation, she became an advisor to the US delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) working directly for Ambassador Armando Valladares. Splitting her time between the seat of the UNHRC in Geneva and Washington, D.C., Kristina worked on raising awareness of the plight of political prisoners in Cuba. Kristina obtained her undergraduate degree at Marquette University and her Master’s Degree at Georgetown University.

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The Obama Administration Misled Congress on Gitmo

2016/05/18

The Obama administration misled you. And they misled Congress. #Gitmo https://t.co/B8nFwn3T8d pic.twitter.com/1e4XR4Bn8C

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 18, 2016

The president is so desperate to close our detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before leaving office that his administration has resorted to misleading Congress. In fact, the administration knowingly approved the transfer of Gitmo detainees to countries incapable of preventing their return to terrorism.  

Federal law requires the administration to regularly inform Congress whether a country that accepts former Gitmo detainees can effectively mitigate the risk of these terrorists returning to the battlefield. At a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing this March, Specials Envoys for Guantanamo Closure Paul Lewis and Lee Wolosky denied that the administration ever knowingly released detainees to a country without proper safeguards in place. 

It turns out that’s completely false.

Classified administration reports provided to Congress over the past three years indicate that many countries were egregiously unsuited to prevent recidivism. Yet with clear knowledge of these deficiencies—and the fact that nearly one-third of freed detainees reengage in terrorism—the administration approved these transfers. In fact, Mr. Wolosky himself even admitted that “there have been Americans that have died because of Gitmo detainees.”

This is not just about misleading Congress—this is about our national security. This is about an administration more concerned with clinching a political victory than protecting the American people. 

That’s why the House is acting this week to renew stringent laws regarding the transfer of Gitmo terrorists, including a longstanding prohibition on relocating detainees to American soil. We are committed to holding this administration accountable for its negligent and politically-motivated actions, which have already cost innocent people their lives. 

NOTE: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), who made this revelation yesterday, has called on the administration to correct the false record provided by its officials in March. 

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House Takes Next Step to Get Opioid Legislation to President’s Desk

2016/05/17

WASHINGTON — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) appointed 21 House Republican lawmakers to serve on a bipartisan conference committee charged with producing final legislation to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic.

“We cannot let up on this,” Speaker Ryan said. “These members and their committees have led this charge, and we look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to get a bill to the president’s desk. It’s time to ensure our communities and families have the tools they need to put an end to this epidemic—it’s just that simple.” Last week, the House passed 18 bills to fight, treat, and prevent opioid addiction. As Speaker Ryan announced this morning, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will serve on this conference committee and head up efforts to get a bill to the president's desk.

In addition, the House Republican conferees for this legislation are: Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) Rep. Dave Trott (R-MI) Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) Education and the Workforce Committee Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) Rep. Buddy Cater (R-GA) Veterans Affairs Committee Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) Ways and Means Committee Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL)

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Speaker Ryan: We need to build a 21st century military

2016/05/17

This morning during a press briefing with Republican leaders, Speaker Ryan discussed how this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will help restore a 21st century military. House consideration of the NDAA, which recently passed the Armed Services Committee by a bipartisan 60-2 vote, will take place this week. Below are Speaker Ryan’s opening remarks at today’s press briefing:

“It’s a busy week in the House, and I want to touch on a couple of areas of progress for the American people that we are in the middle of right now. First, I want to thank Mac Thornberry and Elise Stefanik. I want to thank these two members who are the bulwark of the Armed Services Committee for their work on this national defense bill. This bill does the vital things: It gives our troops a pay raise. It funds their training. It continues to prevent the government from transferring Guantanamo detainees to American soil. At its core, this bill recognizes the need to build a 21st-century military.  “Right now, there are real and documented shortfalls in the ability of our troops to execute their missions. This bill authorizes the necessary force structure, equipment, and funding to close this readiness gap. It also continues on the path of reforming the Pentagon so that we can keep our edge and better adapt to the threats that we face. This is a strong bill, and with dozens of amendments on the floor, this House will have a chance to make it even stronger. “Second, last week, we saw the House unite to work together on a bipartisan basis to confront the opioid epidemic that is sweeping our country. All in all, we passed 18 bipartisan bills. Now we need to build on this progress by taking our ideas and working with the Senate to get a bill on the president’s desk in short order, and we’re going to be going to conference this week. “So we will be promoting our Republican lawmakers who will represent us with the House-Senate conference committee. I have asked the majority leader, Mr. McCarthy, to serve on this panel and head up our efforts here among House Republicans to get this done. This fight against opioid abuse will not end overnight, but we cannot afford to let it up, and we are on offense on this fight.” 

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At Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Speaker Ryan Continues Push for Little Sisters of the Poor

2016/05/17

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today continued to pressure the Obama administration to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor from a health care mandate that forces them to violate their faith or face millions of dollars in IRS fines.   Speaking at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Speaker Ryan said:

“Thankfully, we got some good news from the Supreme Court yesterday, when it sent the case back to the lower courts. Clearly, the Court does not believe that the government has done a good enough job protecting religious liberty. And that’s why I’m calling on the administration to eliminate this burden once and for all.”

Speaker Ryan has consistently advocated for the Little Sisters, signing an amicus brief in their case, hosting two of their representatives at this year’s State of the Union address, and speaking on the floor prior to oral arguments at the Supreme Court.

Following are Speaker Ryan’s full remarks this morning, as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Carl, for the introduction. I want to thank the board of directors for organizing this event. I also want to commend my fellow speakers: Sister Constance, it is a pleasure to see you again. In January, I invited her and another sister from their order to attend the president’s last State of the Union address. We had a great time. And Cardinal Sarah, it is an honor to meet you.

“So, when I started preparing my remarks, I had an idea. What if I gave an extended meditation on Thomas Aquinas’s commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard?

“Well, my staff didn’t like that idea. One of them said to me, ‘Heavy stuff for the 7 a.m. prayer breakfast over bacon and eggs.’

“I said to them, ‘I guess you’re right’ . . . went home . . . thought it over.

“And then I proceeded . . . to completely ignore their advice.

“So Aquinas it is. But, if you will forgive the pun, I will try to put it in layman’s terms.

“Aquinas once wrote, ‘It should be known that all right-thinking men’—clearly, he never ran for office—‘make contemplation of God the end of human life’—that is, the purpose of human life.

“In other words, our purpose is to know God, period—whatever your circumstances in life—rich or poor, strong or weak, famous or obscure. It is not that faith inspires you to work hard or raise a family or achieve your goals—though it very well might. Instead, faith is its own reward.

“The reason I bring this up is, these days religious liberty is under assault. A lot of people think faith is just an odd, colorful mask for the ugly face of intolerance. I am not saying we should feel put upon. I mean, saints were thrown to the lions. By that standard, we have it easy. What I am saying is, we have to advocate for our faith. And we should defend religious liberty not just on material grounds—that is, because people of faith do good things, like give to charity or volunteer. We should also defend it on spiritual grounds—that is, because living out our faith gives us joy.

“What people of faith understand is there is more to life than what we can see and hear. And there is nothing more life-changing than coming to know the Lord. Once you realize that there is a God . . . and He is good . . . and He loves you—not just humanity at large, but you the person—you realize that you are not alone. You are not just a body. You are body and soul. And life is not just a tale ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’ Life is full of meaning. That is why prayer is so important. It is the hotline to heaven. And that is why we object when government restricts religious liberty: When faith is ruled out of bounds, then happiness itself is put out of reach.

“If you need an example, look no further than the Little Sisters of the Poor. I think we can all agree they are doing some of the noblest work out there. And yet the administration has been trying to force them to offer benefits that violate their beliefs. The sisters have tried to negotiate with the administration, and frankly its response has shown a total misunderstanding of faith.

“On their website, the sisters have a cartoon strip that illustrates the disagreement perfectly. A sister and a bureaucrat are debating the issue. The bureaucrat says, ‘You offer the stuff you object to in your plan and we’ll pay for it.’

“The sister replies, ‘Our concern isn’t the cost but the morality.’

“The bureaucrat says, ‘No, we’re offering to pay for it, so your conscience is clear.’

“The sister responds—in big, bold letters—‘That’s not the way it works.’ They should not have to participate in any way—even if it seems like a formality. But that’s the problem: The administration seems to believe only in a material world, where the only stuff that matters is dollars and cents. But that’s a cold, unfeeling world to live in. And that’s not the kind of country that our Constitution envisions.

“That’s why I joined a friend of the court brief on behalf of the sisters’ lawsuit against the federal government. Thankfully, we got some good news from the Supreme Court yesterday, when it sent the case back to the lower courts. Clearly, the Court does not believe that the government has done a good enough job protecting religious liberty. And that’s why I’m calling on the administration to eliminate this burden once and for all.

“This seems so obvious to all of us that you might start to get discouraged. Why is this even an issue? But I actually think religious liberty is going to make a comeback—because there is a growing need for faith. Let me give you one example. Today, all across America, there is an opioid epidemic. And over the past four years, I’ve met with a lot of people struggling with addiction. Not everyone is the same, but what a lot of them will tell you is, they feel a deep, gnawing pain inside. And the reason they turn to drugs is to escape it. Eventually, they realize the only way to escape the pain is to turn to God. So when I see people struggling with addiction, do they need the best medical care? Absolutely, yes. But a lot of them need something more.

“For a lot of them, that pain stems from loneliness—a feeling that no one loves them—that they don’t matter. And it wasn’t until I met them face to face that I realized we all feel that loneliness at some level. We all feel that distance from God. What is sin but a turning away from Him? We sometimes forget this because we’re more comfortable. When you have a good-paying job or a happy family, it is tempting to think, ‘I don’t do drugs. I don’t commit crimes. I don’t have it as bad as other people. I’m a good person.’

“That, of course, is the exact wrong way to think. It is the sin of pride. It reminds me of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I kept a copy of it in my briefcase for years. Uncle Screwtape, a demon, is teaching a young devil how to turn a man to sin. At one point Screwtape says, ‘Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, ‘By jove! I’m being humble.’’ If you ask me, Screwtape could have been a great political consultant. The point is, I believe it was my faith that brought me to this realization: We all are sinners. We all need God. So it is not enough to create more jobs or raise people’s wages—though we should do that too. There is a spiritual void that we need to fill. Perhaps poverty is God’s way of leading us to contemplate something higher. The way I see it, the fight against poverty and the need for religious liberty go hand in hand.

“I’ll close with this: When you meet people who have beaten addiction, most of them say, ‘It wasn’t me, it was God.’ They know the true source of their success. In their struggles, they have to come know Him—and find happiness. And now we’ve come full circle. Every good work is the work of God. It is His grace working inside us. And when you realize that, you not only lose your pride, you lose any sense of despair. That’s the meaning of true happiness—at least in this world. It is not a cheap thrill or temporary exuberance: It is a deep, abiding inner peace.

“And what gives us that peace is coming to know God. That’s what I think Aquinas was saying.

“See? That wasn’t so bad.

“My friends, it is an honor to break bread with you and to pray with you. Please pray for me and all our elected officials that we may be instruments of God’s will. Thank you very much.”

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

2016/05/16

House Republicans are working to fight the Zika threat. Last month, Speaker Ryan signed bipartisan legislation to encourage the development, testing, and distribution of a vaccine or treatment for the virus.

The House Appropriations Committee, led by Chairman Hal Rogers, has taken the lead on a responsible proposal that allocates existing funds targeted to key priorities. The proposal holds the administration accountable and provides transparency for taxpayers. Here are more details:  

VERIFIED: The House Zika proposal allocates targeted resources for Zika prevention and treatment efforts, while still being fully paid for.

$622 million + $589 million = $1.2 billion

  • The House Zika plan appropriates $622 million in new funding for Zika, which is fully offset by repurposing leftover funds for the response to the Ebola virus  and funds from the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) Non-Reoccurring Expense Fund (NEF).
  • This is on top of the $589 million has already been repurposed from unused Ebola funds. There is still $1.6 billion in the Ebola account in case future outbreaks occur.
  • In total, the Republican-controlled Congress will have allocated $1.2 billion to fight Zika.

VERIFIED: The House Zika proposal imposes responsible constraints on the administration, holds officials accountable, and offers taxpayers full transparency on how money will be spent.

  • These resources must be used in FY 2016. Remaining requests for the next fiscal year will be considered through the appropriations process.
  • The House proposal directs the GAO and inspectors general of HHS, State Department, and USAID to conduct oversight and report on use of funding provided.
  • The House proposal ensures not a single taxpayer dollar is used to fund abortions.
  • The House proposal requires agencies to submit spending plans to Congress before funds are used. Our proposal provides taxpayers full transparency on how money is spent:

o   $170 million for Center for Disease Control (includes mosquito control)

o   $230 million for National Institutes of Health (vaccine & diagnostic tests)

o   $103 million for BARDA (vaccine development)

o   $100 million for Global Health (mosquito control)

o   $19.1 million State and USAID 

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Speaker Ryan: Administration Should Protect Little Sisters Now

2016/05/16

WASHINGTON—Following a decision by the Supreme Court, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) called on the Obama administration to end its efforts to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to comply with a mandate that forces them to violate their faith: “The Little Sisters deserve more than a victory in court. The Sisters deserve relief from this mandate, and an end to this ordeal. The administration should resolve this as soon as possible so the Sisters can go on serving the poor in peace as they have for so long. I am proud to stand with the Sisters, and all those who work every day to protect religious liberty.” Speaker Ryan, who signed an amicus brief in this case, spoke on the House floor in support of the Little Sisters of the Poor during the week of oral arguments. He also invited representatives of the Little Sisters to attend this year’s State of the Union address.

 

The Little Sisters of the Poor deserve relief from this #Obamacare mandate & an end to this ordeal. pic.twitter.com/UC7CRxMFQ8

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 16, 2016
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Police Officers Have Our Backs. We Should Have Theirs.

2016/05/16

It's a selfless—and sometimes thankless—job. But every day, law-enforcement officers all across America put on the badge and get to work to keep our communities safe. They've got our backs. And we should have theirs. 

That's why Congress passed (unanimously!) two important bills last week that:

  1. Fund the Bulletproof Vest Program, which helps supply local law enforcement with life-saving bulletproof vests. (S.125, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte in the House, shown above
  2. Honor the families of first responders killed in the line of duty by providing a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol. (S. 2755, sponsored by Rep. Pete King in the House, shown below)

You probably hear more about division in Congress than you do about unity. But here's something that everyone can agree on: America's police officers are heroes. They deserve support and respect. These two bills—which are now law—are a good step in the right direction.

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Guest Post: Honoring the Sacrifice of America's Police Officers

2016/05/16

National Police Week—a time when tens of thousands of law enforcement officers visit the nation’s capital to honor the service of those in uniform who keep America safe. As Speaker Ryan said last week, police work is a heroic vocation—and it’s one that Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) held before becoming a congressman. Check out the guest post and video—courtesy of @HouseGOP—featured below, where Rep. Reichert talks about his personal experiences and the sacrifices made every day by police officers in America. To all the men and women in uniform—we thank you. 

Every year beginning on May 15th, the United States observes Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to recognize and pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

This week, thousands of family members of the fallen and their fellow officers have come to Washington, DC to mourn their loss and honor the 252 additional names that will be etched into the National Law Enforcement Memorial Wall this year.

The deep feeling of pain and sorrow that these families and loved ones are experiencing now is something that I am all too familiar with. In 1982, I lost my partner and best friend, Sergeant Sam Hicks, who was ambushed and shot to death when he was attempting to arrest a homicide suspect. Just years later in 1984, my friend, patrol partner, and Academy classmate, Mike Raburn, was stabbed to death while serving a warrant.

Their deaths, and the deaths of the many officers that were killed in the line of duty before and after them, are reminders that officers take great risks every day to keep our communities safe and are willing to sacrifice their life for those they serve. Please join me in keeping the immediate family members as well as the entire extended law-enforcement community in your thoughts and prayers during this week of reflection and remembrance. ---

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

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Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

2016/05/13

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement regarding the House’s Puerto Rico legislation:

“House Republicans have been working around the clock to ensure that PROMESA is the best, most responsible legislation to tackle Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis while protecting American taxpayers. Right now, we are working with the Natural Resources committee, the administration, and our Democratic counterparts to iron out the final constitutional and legal questions surrounding the legislation. The House legislation will be introduced in the coming days. Let me be clear: there will be no taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico.”

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5 Things We Didn't Email Out This Week

2016/05/13

Sorry, I still haven’t figured out what to call this thing, but here are five things that we had to cut for time this week:  1) You may have seen this photo of a very important meeting that the speaker had yesterday. These are students from St. Bartholomew's in nearby Bethesda. The speaker met them in Statuary Hall after his press conference. I really like this photo. It tells a good story. 

2) About an hour or so later, the speaker signed this bipartisan legislation to protect our citizens from foreign drug trafficking. Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), center, is the author of the House version of S. 32, the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act. He and the speaker were joined by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).  3) As if yesterday wasn't interesting enough as is, check out this raw video. You just never know who you're going to run into in the world's greatest symbol of democracy. 

You never know who you'll run into in the @USCapitol.https://t.co/g1uAuRgROG

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 13, 2016

4) Believe it or not, there’s one thing about opioids we didn’t email out this week, from the speaker's press conference on Wednesday. By the way, if you're looking for a long read for the weekend, I highly recommend this one

5) We wanted to highlight this bill by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN). It would help change the way we fight poverty so that we’re backing ideas that deliver real results. The Ways and Means Committee passed it on Wednesday.

As always, thanks for reading. I know you get plenty from us as is--that's on me--but a lot goes on in between the stuff that's For Immediate Release. Those moments are an important part of the story too. 

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The Women of WWII Deserve to be in Arlington

2016/05/13

These women served selflessly in World War II, flying airplanes, training combat pilots, and towing airborne targets. Thirty-eight of them paid the ultimate sacrifice. They are the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), and they deserve the respect of a grateful nation.  

But last year, the administration stripped these female pioneers of their eligibility to have their remains placed at Arlington National Cemetery, America's most hallowed ground. Yesterday, with a bill sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and signed by Speaker Ryan, Congress took a tremendous step towards restoring inurnment rights for WASPs at Arlington. It now heads to the president's desk, where he should sign it immediately.

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What does opioid addiction look like to you?

2016/05/13

If asked to describe the opioid epidemic, what would you say?

Maybe you’d talk about an old classmate who, when addicted to prescription drugs, didn’t have access to a life-saving medication. Or maybe, you’d talk about a newborn baby who experienced withdrawal symptoms because her mother used during pregnancy. You might mention that drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US—or that opioid abuse causes almost 52 deaths every single day.

If you asked me that today, I’d tell you about Jason Simcakoski—a Wisconsin Marine who checked into a VA hospital seeking care for anxiety, but never checked out. In 2014, Jason passed away under medical supervision due to “mixed drug toxicity”: He was prescribed 13 medications in less than 24 hours and was found unresponsive in his bed. It was a tragedy that could have been prevented.

Speaker Ryan met with his family this week to discuss just what that prevention looks like. He met with Jason’s mom, Linda; his widow, Heather; and his daughter, Anaya—who’s about the same age as Speaker Ryan’s kids. The Simcakoskis are from Stevens Point, WI, and they came to Washington to share Jason’s story—a story of a Marine who sought help at a Veterans Affairs medical center, but was instead mistreated.

Now, his family is committed to doing everything it can to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. The PROMISE Act was named in Jason’s honor, with reforms aimed at increasing safety for opioid therapy and pain management, from updated guidelines to safe opioid prescribing education. It passed the House on Tuesday. The best part? The Simcakoskis were in the House gallery to watch.

“From what we hear, this rarely happens,” quipped Heather, speaking on the bipartisan nature of the PROMISE Act as it passed the House.

“This is the way it should be,” responded Speaker Ryan. “You should be proud of making this place work well.”

Indeed, this week, “this place” is working well. Over the past four days, the House passed 18 different bills designed to address the opioid epidemic. Speaker Ryan talked about some of these yesterday, like a bill to help youth athletes, and a bill to help babies born with a dependency.  

The list goes on—you can see all 18 here—to promote ways to fight, treat, and prevent opioid addiction. Bills that empower state and local actors to do what’s best for their own communities. Bills that will hopefully lead to less addiction in America.

“You have no idea how many people come up to me, going through a similar experience,” Heather said on her way out. “People will never know the story if we don’t tell it.”

This is what our democracy is about—ordinary people making extraordinary things happen, even in the face of something as terribly cruel as this. Chances are, you may know someone engaged in a fight for their life right now—a fight you may not even know is happening—and Congress is hard at work to end this battle once and for all. 

P.S. The meeting ended with photos on—where else?—the speaker’s balcony. It’s a view fit for a family of American heroes like the Simcakoskis—don’t you agree?  

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A Better Speaker.gov

2016/05/13

You're probably reading this on your phone. And now, whenever you visit speaker.gov on any device—whether it's your phone, tablet, or desktop—your experience will be better than ever before. That's because we've made a series of improvements to the site, and  speaker.gov is now fully responsive. That means no matter the screen size, text and images will naturally adjust for optimal viewing. No more pinching, swiping, or phone-flipping needed.

Of course, there are some things that you've come to know and love about speaker.gov that haven't changed at all. It will continue to have: 

  1. Informative content.
  2. Breaking news.
  3. Exclusive photos and video.

For the geeks out there, here's what spurred these improvements. Just four years ago, only about 20% of speaker.gov traffic came from mobile devices. Even less than two years ago, only one out of three visitors came from mobile devices. But under Speaker Ryan, more people are visiting speaker.gov on their mobile devices than ever before. In fact, for the first time ever, more people are actually visiting on mobile devices than on desktops—about 55% of visitors.

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A big win for our Constitution

2016/05/12

This is a big win for our #Constitutionhttps://t.co/o4SqFrfoDt pic.twitter.com/1nyAST4026

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 12, 2016

Today, we had a big win in our fight to restore the separation of powers under our Constitution. I wanted to tell you a bit about it.

A federal court sided with the House in ruling that the administration unlawfully funded parts of Obamacare without a congressional approval.

Time and again, this White House has gone too far. So we took up this fight to defend Article I of the Constitution. The fact is this: Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does.  

We The People cannot accept an executive branch that acts outside the consent of the governed.

Now our fight coninues. Click here to learn more about this critical legal action.

Sincerely,

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Statement on New EPA Regulation for Natural Gas Wells

2016/05/12

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement in response to the release of the EPA’s final methane emissions for new and modified wells:

“Our nation is fortunate to have an abundant supply of natural gas, but despite the fact that it’s good for electricity bills and good for our economy, the Obama administration has made it clear that it sees no place for it—or any other fossil fuel—in our nation’s energy mix. That’s why it has hurled another unnecessary, burdensome regulation at America’s natural gas and oil industry—with the goal of regulating it out of existence. Undoing harmful regulations like this one is a priority for House Republicans and a major pillar of our agenda project.”

Related:

Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens Releases Mission Statement

Statement on President Obama’s Latest Attack on the Energy Industry

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A Big Win for the Constitution & We The People

2016/05/12

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement after a federal district judge ruled in House v. Burwell that the Obama administration unlawfully funded parts of Obamacare without an appropriation from Congress:  

“This is an historic win for the Constitution and the American people. The court ruled that the administration overreached by spending taxpayer money without approval from the people's representatives. Here, the executive branch is being held accountable to We the People, and that's why this decision is very good news." 

House v. Burwell Timeline

July 30, 2014: At Speaker Boehner’s urging, the House passes H. Res. 676, authorizing litigation against the Obama administration.   November 21, 2014: The House files litigation against the administration regarding unilateral actions under Obamacare. May 28, 2015: The court hears oral arguments in the case. September 9, 2015: The court rules that the House has standing in the case. October 19, 2015: The court denies the Obama administration’s request to appeal directly to the Circuit Court of Appeals. 

An historic win for the #Constitution and the American people ⇓ https://t.co/vepny239xi

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 12, 2016
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Speaker Ryan: ‘We can win this fight, and we must.’

2016/05/12

Today at his weekly press briefing, Speaker Ryan discussed House efforts to address the opioid epidemic in our country. This week, the House is acting on 18 different bills to help those struggling with addiction and pursue drug traffickers.

Below are Speaker Ryan’s full opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Right now, more Americans die every year from drug overdoses than they do in car accidents. Today, the House continues to work on legislation to address the heroin and opioid crisis in our country. For those of you were at our press conference yesterday, you heard from Susan Brooks and Bob Dold, authors of two of these initiatives. All told, we are acting on 18 bills. I will actually be signing one of them today. It is S. 32, the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act. This allows prosecutors to go after drug traffickers in foreign countries if we believe their drugs will make it to our shores. So that is going to the president’s desk.”

“But one reason we call this an epidemic is that it cuts across all demographics. Take youth athletes. They get injured, they are prescribed some medication. Before they know it, they are on the path to dependency and addiction. Yesterday, we passed a bill introduced by Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania to help families and students deal with these dangers. You can also be born with a dependency. That actually happens every 25 minutes in our country. These babies struggle to eat or even breathe. Yesterday, we passed a bill introduced by Evan Jenkins of West Virginia to help protect infants and make sure they get a healthy start. 

“The next step here is that we will take all of these ideas to a conference committee with the Senate. Then we intend to send a bill to the president’s desk. And I hope each and every one of you will come back when we sign that bill. Because this is about people’s lives. It is about whole communities being torn apart. We can win this fight. And we must.”

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Statement on National Police Week

2016/05/11

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement regarding National Police Week 2016:

“As tens of thousands of police officers and their families come to our nation’s capital to commemorate National Police Week, I want to thank those brave men and women who dedicate their lives to keeping our citizens safe. We must not forget—at a time when the very dignity of the profession is under attack—that police work is a heroic vocation, and the vast majority of police officers are real heroes. In a special way, we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice over the past year, like Trevor Casper and Ryan Copeland of Wisconsin. For Trevor, Ryan, and all of those who have fallen, I’ve ordered the flags to be lowered to half-staff this Sunday.” 

NOTE: The House passed two important bills this week, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2016 (S.125) and the Federal Law Enforcement Self Defense Protection Act (H.R. 2137), that will help keep our police officers safe on our streets.

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This is about saving people’s lives.

2016/05/11

“Right now, people need our help.” In today’s Journal Sentinel, Speaker Ryan addressed the opioid epidemic facing the nation, explaining why now, more than ever, Congress needs to act. That’s why, this week, the House will vote on 18 bills to address opioid abuse, including a measure to make it safer for veterans seeking help to find quality care. Read that again—18 bills. That’s no small deal, and the end result will ensure Americans have the resources they need to win their fight against addiction. To further discuss what this work entails, Speaker Ryan made the following comments this morning at a press conference with other Republican leaders:

"I know some of you are here about a meeting that is happening tomorrow. I’d like to talk to you about a meeting I had yesterday.

"I met with the family of Jason Simcakoski. Jason was born and raised in Stevens Point, Wisconsin—a place I’ve been to hundreds of times. After high school, he entered the Marines. He reached the rank of Corporal. He was a son, he was a husband, and he was a father to a precious little girl.

"Two years ago, Jason entered the VA Medical Center in Tomah to be treated for anxiety. He never went home.

"Under medical supervision—or the appearance of it—he died of an overdose from opioid painkillers. We now know that Jason’s death could and should have been prevented. No one should seek help and receive mistreatment in return. No one.

"So Jason’s family pushed for reforms that will make the VA improve its practices and the way it monitors prescriptions. Yesterday, the PROMISE Act passed the House. Jason’s family was there in the gallery to watch it.

"It is one of 18 initiatives that we are acting on to address the opioid epidemic that is sweeping across this country—you just heard about two others.

"Many states have taken action, but this threat also requires a national response. So whether it is protecting infants, whether it is stopping kingpins or pushers, or making better use of data, we are going to take all of these ideas, pass them through the House, go into a conference committee with the Senate. And we intend to put a bill on the president’s desk fast.

"This is not just about process. This is not just about legislation. This is about saving people’s lives. It is about honoring those who are taken too soon. It is about honoring those who want a second chance—who need and deserve a second chance. And it’s also about protecting the next generation. Those of us who are raising that next generation care so deeply about this.

"That is what this week is about."  

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Seize This Moment

2016/05/11

In a concert hall full of millennials on the campus of Georgetown University, Speaker Ryan made the case for a confident America. Millions of students are facing a future of financial uncertainty with sky-high student loans and next-to-nothing growth in America's job market, but as the Speaker reassured them, America can do better, if we seize this moment.  In total, the townhall lasted for over an hour, but here's the 37-second takeaway.

"The America that you want is the America that we want: open, diverse, dynamic. It's what I call a confident America, where the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life.

"How do we get there?

"If we do not like the direction our country is going—and we do not—then we owe the country an alternative.  

"Only 'We the People' can build a confident America, if we seize this moment."

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Tax Reform Key to Uniting Conservatives, Restoring a Confident America

2016/05/10

Today, Speaker Ryan spoke on The Michael Medved Show about a policy issue that unites all conservatives: reforming the tax code. 

“Here in the House . . . we feel very strongly about principles of tax reform, the goal of which is to lower tax rates, to get cronyism out of the tax code, to have comprehensive tax reform for families, small businesses, and to stop playing engineer in the code up here in Washington and let people keep more of their money and do what they want with it,” Speaker Ryan said.

Tax reform is a policy priority that flows from the conservative principle of limited government. As conservatives, we believe that people should keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible. We hold fast to the notion that families and businesses are much better money managers than bureaucrats in Washington.

Simplifying the tax code to empower people is key to boosting the economy and restoring a Confident America. That’s why it’s so central to our agenda project that we hope to enact with a Republican president in 2017.

“That’s part of our agenda project that we’re working on—a blueprint for tax reform—and we think that’s the crown jewel of an economic growth package,” Speaker Ryan explained. “I think that is one thing that does animate and get all conservatives on the same page. That’s one of those policies coming from our principles that we believe can and should unify around and take to the country and I have every reason to believe we can do that.”

Listen to the full interview here. For updates on House Republicans’ agenda project, visit www.speaker.gov/confidentamerica

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Speaker Ryan Praises House Passage of PROMISE Act

2016/05/10

WASHINGTON — Today, the House passed H.R. 4063—the Jason Simcakoski Promoting Responsible Opioid Management and Incorporating Scientific Expertise (PROMISE) Act—to make it safer for veterans to seek opioid therapy and pain management care. This legislation, introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), is named in honor of the Marine who died in 2014 at the Tomah, WI, Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center because of mixed drug toxicity caused by an improper medication management and medical response by VA staff. Upon passage, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement:

“Earlier today, I had the honor of meeting Jason Simcakoski’s family, making House passage of the PROMISE Act even more special. America lost a Marine, a husband, a father, and a son when Jason passed away—a tragedy that could and should have been prevented. Those seeking help shouldn’t have to fear mistreatment in return, especially our veterans. This is further illustration that opioid addiction knows no bounds. The courage of the Simcakoski family can and will save lives.”

To learn more about House action to fight the opioid epidemic, click here.

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House Tackling Opioid Crisis + Much More

2016/05/10

While it's a busy week on the political front, it also happens to be an important week on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

House Republicans this week will follow through on their promise to address the alarming opioid epidemic sweeping the nation. The House will vote on a total of 18 bills (2 rule bills, 16 suspensions) that range from addressing opioid addiction amongst our veterans, to babies infected with this disease, to the current pain management best practices, and much more. You'll find a full list below.

These bills are expected to pass with strong bipartisan support and then be voted on as a rule to amend the Senate-passed opioid legislation. The next step will be to vote to go to formal conference committee with the Senate to finalize the package and get it signed into law without delay.

House Republicans promised swift action to tackle the opioid crisis and they are staying true to their word.

So while politics may have your attention right now, we hope you'll have time to review and write on this important and thoughtful action the House is about to take to tackle the disturbing opioid epidemic.

Bills to be voted on this week:

H.R. 4063 – Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

H.R. 4985 – Kingpin Designation Improvement Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Foreign Affairs Committee)

S. 32 – Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein / Judiciary Committee)

H.R. 5048 – Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Frank Guinta / Judiciary Committee)

H.R. 5052 – OPEN Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy / Judiciary Committee)

H.R. 4843 – Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta / Education and the Workforce Committee)

H.R. 4978 – NAS Healthy Babies Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Evan Jenkins / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 3680 – Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 3691 – Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 1818 – Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4969 – John Thomas Decker Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Pat Meehan / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4586 – Lali’s Law (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Dold / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4599 – Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Katherine Clark / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4976 – Opioid Review Modernization Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4982 – Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Foster / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4981 – Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Larry Bucshon / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4641 – To provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Susan Brooks / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 5046 – Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner / Judiciary Committee)

 

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Here Are the Facts about the Iran Deal

2016/05/10

It's hard to escape the conclusion that the administration misled the American people on the #IranDeal. https://t.co/aX9k8ngsEo

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 10, 2016

The White House spent Monday playing damage control after a senior administration official boasted about misleading the American public in order to sell the Iran deal. Their response? Ignore this controversy and focus on the facts about the nuclear agreement.

That’s exactly what we did. Yesterday, Speaker Ryan published an op-ed in IJ Review outlining how key promises made about the deal are already unraveling. It digs into the myth of "snapback" sanctions, the fantasy of countering Iran’s regional aggression, and the dangers of allowing the mullahs access to the dollar.

We hope you’ll take a minute to read the full article. If you don’t have time, check out a quick rundown of the coverage below:

“The Obama administration’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran is ‘starting to unravel’ and needs to be quickly supplemented with tough U.S. action, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) claimed on Monday. In an op-ed for the Independent Journal Review, Ryan promised that House Republicans will soon offer ‘an overarching vision for our national security’ that includes measures targeting Iran. . . . This year, lawmakers must renew the Iranian sanctions legislation and block any effort to allow Iranian officials to trade in U.S. dollars, Ryan said.” (The Hill)

“Writing in an Independent Journal op-ed Monday, House Speaker Paul Ryan concluded ‘the Obama administration essentially misled the American people on the Iran deal -- or at least misled itself.’ Without mentioning Rhodes or the Times profile, Ryan wrote that ‘everything the administration told us about the deal is starting to unravel,’ citing new foreign investments in Iran as evidence that sanctions will be harder to impose should Iran violate its commitments. ‘The defiant and emboldened regime in Tehran continues to sponsor terrorism across the regime, test-fire ballistic missiles inscribed with 'Death to Israel,' and abuse the basic human rights of its citizens,’ Ryan wrote.” (CNN)

“Ryan, a Republican congressman who represents Wisconsin, pointed out that the U.S. appears to be reconsidering part of the deal that said Iran wouldn't get access to the U.S. financial system, noting a purchase the U.S. made of heavy water from Tehran. . . . International rules against conventional weapons and ballistic missiles will expire in five to eight years, and within 10 to 15 years, Iran's limitations on plutonium and uranium will expire, leaving ‘nothing more than a promise’ that Iran won't build nuclear bombs, Ryan said.” (Newsmax)

“House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, said the administration ‘can spin it anyway it likes, but this was a bad deal.' . . . The speaker said the regime in Tehran has only grown more belligerent since the deal, contrary to the administration’s reassurances.” (Washington Times)

“House Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday had tough words for the Obama administration on the nuclear deal with Iran, saying the White House is not following through on promises made when it lobbied lawmakers for support last year. . . . ‘We were told that Iran would never get access to the dollar or the U.S. financial system,’ Ryan wrote. ‘The administration now appears to be reconsidering, and a few weeks ago it purchased millions of dollars of heavy water from Tehran.’ Ryan vowed to block ‘any attempt to make it easier for the mullahs in Tehran to conduct their trade in dollars.'” (Morning Consult)

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Even the New York Times (!) Supports this Bill

2016/05/09

It’s not every day that the New York Times endorses a House Republican’s bill. But the Times’s editorial board came out strongly in support of Rep. Kevin Yoder’s (R-KS) Email Privacy Act, which will protect your emails from unwarranted government intrusion. Here’s what they said:

“If enacted, the changes will ensure that the law protects digital information as well as it does physical documents. . . . This sensible update reflects how people store information today. And some courts have already recognized the principle that emails and files kept in the cloud should receive the same protection under the law as documents left in filing cabinets and closets.”

They’re exactly right. In fact, as you may recall, this would be the first major update to our digital privacy laws in three decades. The Times is not alone. Editorial boards across the country are lining up behind this long overdue reform:

"Because of a quirk about how telecommunications laws were written in the 1980s, the government does not need to get a warrant to demand email or data stored on the cloud, as long as it is more than 90 days old. Decades ago, anything left on someone else’s server that long was considered abandoned. Now, practically everyone has all sorts of personal details sitting on remote servers for indefinite periods of time. This reform is very long overdue." (Washington Post)

“The new bill . . . would require a warrant for law enforcement to access content stored in the cloud. . . . Advocates feel hopeful about the unanimous vote, which is one of the strong signals that Congress is serious about privacy reform since the Snowden revelations of 2013.” (Wired)

“The Email Privacy Act would simply ensure the same degree of protection from e-mails that most Americans probably already assumed they enjoy under the Fourth Amendment’s bar against ‘unreasonable searches and seizures.’” (The Denver Post)

“A bipartisan proposal to reinforce our Fourth Amendment protections represents a welcome development at a time when many Americans have become resigned to a gradual erosion of privacy and individual liberties. The Senate should move on this issue now.” (Las Vegas Review Journal)

“The privacy act has support from diverse corners, including technology companies such as Google and Facebook, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Freedom Foundation. . . . The authors of the Bill of Rights could not have imagined our world of emails and text messages, but that doesn’t mean they would have provided them any less protection that words written with pen and ink.” (The Everett Daily Herald)

The House unanimously passed this bill with a 419-0 vote. Now we need the Senate to follow suit and send this critical legislation to the president’s desk.

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A Special Bond with Mom

2016/05/08

My dad died when I was 16. It was very sudden. For me, it was the end of childhood. But for my mom, she had to start over. What happened next is the story that ties us together. Because a mother’s bond is like no other.

"My mom is my hero. My mom and I are very close because we bonded quite a bit after my dad died. You know, we had to sort of pull ourselves up and work it out. So my mom and I are very close.

"I was in high school; my mom was going to college, and my grandma moved in with us, who had Alzheimer's, so I grew up really fast. So I'm in high school. I'd come home from practice, whatever sport I was in at that season. And then my mom, she rode a bus up to Madison every day, and she'd come back off the bus, right around the time I'd be coming back from practice. And then I'd set up dinner, and we'd eat dinner. We basically bonded as students. 

"You know, you look back and you think it was a tough time, but actually, it was a great time because I learned a lot. And it made me scrappier. It made me who I am today, just going through those kinds of adversities. 

"I look back on it fondly in a weird way because it just made me better, I think. It made me a little more empathetic and understanding, and it also really tied my mom and myself together."

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Weekly Republican Address: More Growth and Opportunity for America’s Small Businesses

2016/05/06

WASHINGTON — In this week’s Republican address, House Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) recognizes National Small Business Week by discussing the important role small businesses play in the American economy—and how House Republicans are working to protect them with an agenda focused on jobs and economic growth. Learn more about the agenda—including tax reform and reducing regulatory burdens—for a more #ConfidentAmerica here.

If we want a confident America, we need confident Americans,” said Chairman Chabot. “Top-down regulations and higher taxes don’t inspire confidence. Job creation, innovation, and the courage to try and fail until you succeed—those are the building blocks of a future we can all get excited about.”

NOTE: The audio of the weekly address is available here, and the video will be available on speaker.gov.

Remarks of Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot of Ohio Weekly Republican Address Washington, DC May 7, 2016

Every day, in the smallest towns and biggest cities across this country, about one in three Americans gets up and goes to work at a small business.

Maybe they have coworkers, or maybe, for now, it’s just them. Maybe it’s their first job, or maybe they’ve been lucky enough to build a lifelong career in the very place they started.

That’s why, when we talk about supporting our small businesses, we aren’t talking about buildings on Main Street or bottom lines on spreadsheets.

We’re talking about millions of people, families, and futures.

Today wraps up National Small Business Week. Since 1963, Democrats and Republicans alike have recognized this week as a time to celebrate the contributions of small businesses to every community in America. Times have changed, business models have changed, but the enduring spirit of American innovation continues to breathe life into our economy and create the jobs no government program can. 

There’s a lot in Washington that divides us, but in my time in Congress, I’ve not met one person who believes our small businesses should carry the burden of excessive regulations and complicated taxes. Still, that’s what happens.

On average, small businesses have to pay more than $11,000 for each employee in federal regulatory costs alone. That’s before the tax bill comes in, and that’s before these new, higher healthcare premiums are due.

These are hard realities for small businesses that we want to change.

Republicans know there’s no effort too big or too small when it comes to encouraging small businesses. That’s why we’ve done things like making the research and development tax credit permanent. Getting rid of the oil export ban. Waiving upfront loan fees for veterans who want to be entrepreneurs. Strengthening and empowering local small business development organizations.

And we’re just getting started.

We know that every business, product, and job—big or small—started with an idea. That’s why small business owners, employees, and entrepreneurs everywhere should be energized by our reform agenda for the future. We’re bringing bold new ideas to the table—and that will challenge the way Washington does business, not just today, but for years to come. We know the biggest obstacles we face won’t just go away overnight. Instead of accepting that these are challenges we’ll have to live with, we’re building long-term solutions to fix them.

In a way, Congress is learning to do what American entrepreneurs do best: take care of today, and plan for tomorrow.

If we want a confident America, we need confident Americans. Top-down regulations and higher taxes don’t inspire confidence. Job creation, innovation, and the courage to try and fail until you succeed—those are the building blocks of a future we can all get excited about.

As chairman of the House Small Business Committee, I get to hear small business stories from all over the country every day.  If we’re looking for bold ideas for building the future, look no further than America’s small businesses.

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Life to Its Fullest: A Mother's Day Story

2016/05/06

As many of us sit down to write our moms cards or honor their memories this Mother’s Day, a range of words undoubtedly come to mind: Kind. Loving. Selfless. Inspiring.  But for one mom in particular—a wife, a teacher, a mother of three—there’s another word to add to that list: resilient.  Last week, Speaker Ryan met with Mary Gooze of Oregon, Wisconsin. She has stage IV metastatic breast cancer. It began in January of 2012, when Mary received news she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. In the nine months that followed, Mary endured surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, hoping that her fight would be won with her final treatment. But two years later, Mary received a phone call that the cancer had metastasized and spread to the bones in her hip. It is incurable.  Unfortunately, Mary’s story is far from unique. About one in eight women—that’s roughly 12 percent—in the United States will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives. This year, it is estimated that 246,660 new cases will be diagnosed in America alone.  So Mary set out to raise awareness for stage IV cancer patients in the best way she knew how.  An avid triathlete, Mary formed One Woman Many Lakes to raise funds and awareness for terminal metastatic breast cancer by swimming in lakes, rivers, and oceans throughout the world. So far, she’s spanned more than 35 miles in 23 different bodies of water—and she isn’t done yet.  In the meeting, she and her husband, Rob, talked with Speaker Ryan about her journey and discussed ways Congress is fighting for her and all of those affected by cancer. Last month, Speaker Ryan signed the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act, legislation to help raise awareness and private funds for breast cancer research.  They also discussed the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation that invests in scientific and medical innovation to deliver faster cures to those who need them most. They shared personal stories of how cancer doesn’t discriminate and knows no boundaries, Speaker Ryan’s family included. And maybe most importantly, they laughed and bonded over Wisconsin—“by body of water, I trust you mean lake?” the speaker joked.  Laughing, swimming, fighting for a cause—those are just three things that Mary Gooze is still very capable of doing. Because despite being diagnosed with a terminal illness, she’s still living each and every day to its fullest, on behalf of herself, her family, and the entire stage IV metastatic breast cancer community.  That’s a mother’s teaching we could all learn from. So to Mary Gooze and all the other mothers out there: Thank you for loving us, teaching us, and inspiring us to never, ever give up—we promise to keep fighting for you. --- Related Stories:

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Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2016/05/06

WASHINGTON — Marking National Small Business Week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced today that House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, May 7. In the address, Chairman Chabot will discuss how House Republicans are working to relieve small businesses of excessive regulations and complicated taxes imposed under the current tax system.

Small business owners, employees, and entrepreneurs everywhere should be energized by our reform agenda for the future,” said Chairman Chabot. “I’m excited to deliver this address to discuss the bold new ideas House Republicans are bringing to the table that will challenge the way Washington does business for years to come.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy,” Speaker Ryan said in an op-ed for the The Journal Times. “Right now, the deck is stacked against our workers and small businesses. Let’s lower their tax rates, level the playing field, and watch our small businesses thrive.”

Chairman Steve Chabot has proudly served on the House Small Business Committee since first being elected to Congress in 1994. During his time in Congress, he has made small business growth and job creation a top priority. Chairman Chabot served as ranking member on the Small Business Committee from 2007-2008. During the 113th Congress, he also served as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, where he focused on opening new markets and expanding trade opportunities for American businesses.

Learn more about Chairman Chabot by following him on Twitter, liking his Facebook page, or visiting his website. Learn more about the House Small Business Committee by following it on Twitter, liking its Facebook page, or visiting its website.

NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting Saturday, May 7, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov.

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World Trade Month 2016

2016/05/05

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement in recognition of World Trade Month: “If we want to create good jobs, we need to make more things in America and sell them overseas. The track record speaks for itself. International trade supports tens of millions of jobs in our country, including more than 800,000 in Wisconsin alone. It is especially good for our small businesses, which need new markets for their products. If we don’t step up and seize these opportunities, our competitors will. That’s why we came together earlier this year to pass the first rewrite of our trade-enforcement laws in a generation. In a confident America, we engage with our allies and tear down barriers for our workers and our entrepreneurs. This way, if you have a good idea, you can make it happen. World Trade Month is about celebrating both the everyday successes of American workers and our founding principles of free enterprise.”

 

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We’re Still Waiting on the IRS to Protect Taxpayer Information

2016/05/05

One year ago, news broke that criminal hackers infiltrated IRS data systems and gained access to more than 100,000 taxpayers’ most personal information. Your Social Security number, date of birth, home address, income level—you name it—were all left completely exposed.

In response, Congress agreed to provide the IRS with additional funds to beef up cybersecurity and ensure something like this never happened again. But just over a month ago, we discovered that the IRS has still not patched gaping security flaws that leave taxpayer information vulnerable to hackers.

An independent watchdog provided the agency with 43 detailed recommendations to help protect your most personal data. Federal law requires the IRS to report to Congress with its progress on implementing these reforms within 60 days—by May 26th. Instead of working in good faith the fix these problems, the IRS has resorted to the same tired excuses we’ve heard over and over and over again.

Please understand our skepticism. This agency doesn’t exactly have a sterling track record when it comes to working in the best interest of taxpayers. In fact, the same watchdog report notes that the IRS falsely claimed to have successfully implemented previous recommendations to strengthen cybersecurity.

The IRS is not doing its job, so we’re doing everything possible to force the agency to clean up its act. Earlier this year, we enacted several new laws to crack down on political targeting and strengthen taxpayer rights. And just last month we passed additional measures to improve IRS customer service and hold employees accountable to the American people.

As Speaker Ryan recently said, “We need to build a new culture at the IRS, which is why reforms like this are so important. Ultimately, we need to reform our tax code. This will be part of the agenda that we are going to be presenting to the American people. Right now, we have a tax code that no one can understand being enforced by an agency that no one trusts. We need an IRS—and a tax code—that works for the taxpayer. We don’t have one now, and that is one of the causes to which this majority is dedicated to.”

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Statement on the National Day of Prayer

2016/05/05

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement today in recognition of the National Day of Prayer:

"One of the great gifts of living in America is you not only can live out your faith, but you can share it with millions of people. Today, we ask God for his wisdom and mercy, and we offer our prayers as one nation. We recognize that our faith is not just a personal right; it is a shared tie that binds us together. God gave this country to all of us, and so all of us owe Him our thanks.

"In that spirit, I want to offer a prayer for the millions of persecuted Christians around the world who cannot practice their faith freely. This is a day for expressing our gratitude—and our solidarity."

NOTE: Speaker Ryan is scheduled to speak at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on May 17.

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Puerto Rico Default Underlines Need to Prevent Bailout, Pass PROMESA

2016/05/03

Yesterday, Puerto Rico defaulted on a $422 million loan, exacerbating the financial crisis in the U.S. territory. Without congressional action, things in Puerto Rico are going to go from bad to worse. The House bill, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), prevents a federal bailout by taxpayers and is needed to stop the bleeding. Right now, it’s being finalized by the Natural Resources Committee after negotiations with the Treasury Department and additional input from House Republicans. PROMESA is the best hope for Puerto Rico to get to a place where it can pay its debts and get on a path to fiscal health.

And every day, more respected conservatives are stepping up to support the legislation. As Robert J. McClure of the James Madison Institute said, “Of critical importance, PROMESA would prohibit retroactive Chapter 9 bankruptcy — a clear victory for the rule of law and for long-term stability in bond markets (which hold Puerto Rico debt). . . . It’s the responsible action to aid in the economic growth, strategic development and future success of Puerto Rico.”

Conservative columnist George Will agreed that ignoring the problem is not an option: “Because the island is a U.S. territory, what happens there will not stay there: America needs to prevent, or minimize, a humanitarian crisis, some of which would be exported to America. But ameliorative measures must be made conditional on fiscal, labor and other reforms on the island.”

Here are the latest news articles outlining the state of play in Puerto Rico. The stories underscore the need to pass PROMESA, as well as the indisputable fact that this is not a bailout.

“Supporters of a congressional rescue plan got a boost on Tuesday, when Pimco, which manages $40 billion of municipal bonds, supported the current House bill. ‘It would be incorrect to classify [the bill] as a bailout,’ said a blog posting on the Pimco website. ‘No incremental federal tax dollars are allocated to the Territory under the bill. In fact, if this legislation does not advance, the probability of future federal tax dollars flowing to the Territory or bondholders may actually increase.’” (Washington Post)

“Puerto Rico on Monday made good on its threat to miss a payment on Government Development Bank debt. While the default has so far been contained, chaos will ensue if Congress doesn’t provide federal supervision and a legal framework for restructuring the island’s debt. . . . But doing nothing, as some have proposed, will result in anarchy and a back-door bailout as tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans flee to the mainland where they will land on the U.S. public dole. (Wall Street Journal)

“[G]roups have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in untraceable ‘dark money’ on an advertising campaign that targets legislators in Washington and attempts to portray the bill as a ‘bailout’ of Puerto Rico. It's widely believed that the campaign is financed by so-called ‘vulture funds,’ which have bought up a significant portion of Puerto Rico's debt on the cheap in the expectation that it will eventually pay back the full amount, even it means cutting worker pensions and social services. The current bill does not include provisions that would use taxpayer money to pay Puerto Rican debt. . . .'We do not want a bailout. We haven't asked for a bailout. We haven't been offered a bailout,’ said Garcia Padilla on Sunday.’ A restructuring process will cost nothing to American taxpayers.’” (VICE)

“Monday’s default pales in comparison to the expected default on July 1, when $2 billion worth of debt service payments come due. The House Natural Resources Committee is drafting legislation that, in its latest form, would give public borrowers on the island the ability to petition a judge to restructure their debts in a process akin to bankruptcy in conjunction with the imposition of a fiscal control board that would oversee the territory’s revenue collection and spending. . . . Advocates of a restructuring bill have had to combat the perception that any congressional action would constitute a ‘bailout,’ even though there would be no taxpayer funds expended under the current proposals. (Washington Post)

“Both parties in Congress say whatever rescue package emerges won’t be a ‘bailout.’ They’re still discussing key details: how debt restructuring will work, and what kind of external oversight will be imposed on the island’s finances. Republicans have called for a reduction in the minimum wage to below the national level, to reflect the fact that median household incomes in Puerto Rico are about half those of Mississippi, the poorest state. (Bloomberg)

Related:

“There will be no taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico”

Conservative Groups Back Puerto Rico Bill

Puerto Rico: "Progress, not a bailout"

VERIFIED: House Bill Protects Taxpayers from Bailout, Requires Tough Choices From Puerto Rico

Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

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Speaker Ryan Signs Two More Bipartisan Initiatives

2016/05/03

You want more photos from April? Here are two from last week that demonstrate what the House is doing to return to a Confident America. This time, we're working to promote American competitiveness and advance the fight against ISIS. 

Trade secrets are vital to America’s competitiveness on the global market. Last week, Speaker Ryan signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, which protects intellectual property and ensures that American entrepreneurs continue to create jobs and grow our economy. Thank you to Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA), Rep. Collins (R-GA), and Sen. Hatch (R-UT) for their leadership on this pro-growth legislation.

ISIS is not only intent on destroying human lives, but trying to erase thousands of years of history in the Middle East by destroying, looting, and selling priceless antiquities. The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act, introduced by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Engel (D-NY) and signed by Speaker Ryan, combats ISIS’s war on cultural antiquities.

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The president is still considering unilateral action to close Gitmo

2016/05/03

Yesterday, President Obama admitted that he is still considering taking unilateral action to close our detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The House has already made all legal preparations necessary should the administration seek to ignore the law.

"We're going to look at everything," the president told WMUR, "but we think the best way to do it is for Congress to get smart on this."

Really?

Let’s look at the facts:

In February, the president submitted to Congress a proposal to close Gitmo by transferring these prisoners to American soil. Where exactly in the United States? Well, we don’t know—he doesn’t say.

How much would this cost? Again, we don’t know—he doesn’t say. We do know that the White House previously rejected a similar proposal from the Department of Defense after learning of the $600 million price tag.

And what about those prisoners? The detainees held at Gitmo are among the world’s most dangerous terrorists, including some of the key architects of 9/11. Nearly one-third of those released in the past have been confirmed or suspected of returning to the battlefield.

The president has had seven years to develop a sensible plan to close the detention facility, and now his vague proposal calls for bringing terrorists with American blood on their hands to our own backyards. This is not just a bad idea. It’s against the law—and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Congress doesn’t need to "get smart" on this issue. The president should listen to the American people and abandon this dangerous plan.

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The Top Ten Photos from April

2016/05/02

Just last week, Speaker Ryan reached the six-month mark in his job as speaker of the House, and anyone can tell you, it's not an easy gig. But as Speaker Ryan discovered, he's enjoying it more than he thought he would. Perhaps these ten moments from last month are part of the reason why. 

(Spoiler alert: the pics get cuter as you scroll)

1. Bibi

2. Overlooking Jerusalem

3. American Marines Abroad

4. #SpeakerSelfie (with the Boy Scouts)

5. National Pet Day (Boomer & Sooner)

6. National Park Week (on the National Mall)

7. America's Future (visits the U.S. Capitol)

8. Autism Awareness Month

9. High-five

10. Take Your Kid to Work Day (with reporters' daughters and sons)

Related stories:

  1. PHOTO: Congress Fights Zika Virus Threat
  2. Nine Photos You (May Have) Missed from March
  3. Seven Photos from the Middle East
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The Labor Department's Job-Training Problem

2016/04/29

UPDATE: The Labor Department has now submitted the final regulations to implement this law. 

Today we are calling on the Labor Department to redouble its efforts to implement an important job-training law. Here's why.

There are millions of job openings in our country--that's good--but companies aren't finding enough qualified workers to fill them. CNN Money says that this “skills gap” is “America's persistent problem.”

Of course, it doesn't have to be. In the summer of 2014, Congress passed a law to free our workers from an outdated job-training system. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was enacted with overwhelming bipartisan support. 

But then things went off the rails. The Labor Department missed key deadlines to make sure these reforms were in place for job-seekers. Last month, when the Government Accountability Office examined the implementation process, this was the first challenge it listed:

“Limited guidance. Officials in all three states said early implementation was slowed because WIOA regulations are not yet final and certain details about performance reporting are not yet resolved.”

In fairness, the Labor Department has been a bit distracted, what with prioritizing several controversial regulations, such as the fidicuary rule that would make it harder for middle-class Americans to get retirement advice. There's also the overtime rule, which comes with dire consequences for nonprofit organizations. The YMCA says it would have to cut staff. The Salvation Army says its services would cost more. Operation Smile would have to provide more than 4,000 fewer surgeries. The list goes on.

Instead of prioritizing bipartisan reforms to help people find work, the Labor Department is rushing through controversial rules that will put people out of work. Meanwhile, the number of job openings has gone up. The skills gap grows. The economy sputters.

Not too long ago, the president talked about how he receives “a lot of letters from middle-aged workers who got laid off, aren’t confident about their current skills, and so have not yet re-entered the workforce.” It's unfortunate, it really is, which is why he ought to join us in calling on the Labor Department to get these reforms in place for America's workers, and soon.

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Not Your Typical Friday Roundup II

2016/04/29

The last Friday of the month means you may be getting even more roundups than usual. But again, this isn’t that. This is the stuff we put out this week, but didn’t e-mail to you. Why? Well, sometimes it’s because something just speaks for itself.

For #TakeYourKidToWorkDay, I invited reporters to bring their daughters & sons to my weekly press conference. pic.twitter.com/MNVVR1u6Dj

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 28, 2016

Like this photo of these special guest reporters from Take Your Kids to Work Day. Or this video of the proceedings. (Of course there's video too.)  

Today, we learned that our economy grew by just 0.5% in the first quarter. That is next to nothing. https://t.co/9n9VC9cWla

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 28, 2016

Or these comments from the Speaker about our economy sputtering. America can do better. (Where have I seen that recently?) Sometimes we update a page on a Speaker.gov, but don’t e-mail it out again. For example, this week our committees passed at least 15 bills to help fight the opioid epidemic. Sometimes it’s a busy day and we don’t want to push our luck with too many emails—especially when those e-mails are about e-mails. Still, I wish I hadn’t held back this draft statement regarding passage of Rep. Kevin Yoder’s (R-KS) e-mail privacy bill:

                                                  I like this photo of Speaker Ryan overlooking the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

I like this story in The Hoya about Speaker Ryan’s town hall at Georgetown. Hey, did you know the National Mall is also a National Park?   Did you know this was our best performing tweet of the week?

Did you know that Mother’s Day is around the corner? We’ll have more on that next week. Also more on the IRS, which still hasn’t gotten back to us about how they’re going to fix their hacking problems. And it’s Small Business Week next week. See you then.

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Statement on Passage of School Choice Reauthorization

2016/04/29

RT to agree ⇒ When we give more families a choice, more students succeed. #SchoolChoice pic.twitter.com/hD4Z2ebjVR

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 29, 2016

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after House passage of H.R. 4901, the SOAR Reauthorization Act:

“When we give more families a choice, more students succeed. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has proven this year after year. Yet out of blind allegiance to special interests, the Obama administration has done everything short of stopping the school buses to block this program. With the help of Mayor Bowser, Chairman Chaffetz, and members of the city council, we have the momentum to keep this program going. Let’s get this done for these kids.”

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The House Rejects Obamacare for Financial Planning

2016/04/28

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement upon passage of H.J. Res 88, the Protecting Access to Affordable Retirement Advice, which uses Congress’s powers under the Congressional Review Act to prevent the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule from going into effect:

“Bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. have no business getting between you and your financial planner. But that’s what the Obama administration’s fiduciary rule does. It’s Obamacare for financial planning. That’s why the House exercised its power under the Congressional Review Act to reject the administration's onerous rule. I commend Reps. Roe, Boustany, and Wagner for working to protect middle-class families and small businesses trying to plan for the future.”

Related:

1.          Statement on Release of Fiduciary Rule

2.          Ignoring Consequences, Obama Administration to Finalize Fiduciary Rule

3.          Obamacare for financial planning

4.          A Dictionary Definition

5.          The bureaucrats bullied it through

6.          This One Rule Could Hurt Millions of Middle-Class Savers

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Speaker Ryan at Georgetown: ‘The America that you want is the America that we want’

2016/04/28

Yesterday, Speaker Ryan hosted a town hall with millennials at the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service. Over the hour-long discussion, Ryan made his case for why young Americans should embrace conservatism, and he engaged with students on issues ranging from student loans to the national debt and the need to fix our broken tax code. Check out some of the latest coverage of the event below:

Paul Ryan Gives Conservative Millennials a Pep Talk“Ryan’s appearance Wednesday at Georgetown University was, in essence, a pep talk for a generation of voters more dismayed than most at the direction of the Republican party’s presidential race. . . . Ryan went on to pitch his belief in the politically redemptive power of ideas—specifically, the policy agenda that House Republicans are planning to roll out before the party convention in July.”  (Washington Post)

Paul Ryan ‘Current Policies Are Shutting Young People Out of Our Economy’“According to Ryan, he would like the economy to return to what it was when he was younger—a place where hard work paid off when looking for employment opportunities and regulations didn’t get in the way of starting small businesses. . . . ‘I believe many of our current policies are shutting young people out of our economy by taking decisions away from people—from the individual,’ he said. Ryan added the GOP’s philosophy is to promote an open economy where all people can strive to achieve their aspirations.” (The Daily Caller)

After TV Blitz, Ryan Holds Town Hall at Georgetown“At Georgetown, Ryan argued for his party's case before a respectful, appreciative audience, tracing his rise from a college student and would-be ski bum to perhaps the nation's youngest House speaker. In a 15-minute speech, Ryan said he tries every day to find common ground, but the philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats, ‘who are good people and love their country,’ makes it difficult in a polarized political environment.” (U.S. News and World Report)

Speaker Paul Ryan Tells Young Voters to Ignore Personalities, Vote for Ideas“House Speaker Paul D. Ryan pleaded with college students to look beyond the personalities in this year’s presidential election and instead vote based on ideas, saying Wednesday that the GOP can win that battle. Holding a town hall with students at Georgetown University, Mr. Ryan urged Millennials to pressure leaders to start tackling the debt so it’s not left for their generation, and said it should be the driving issue for young voters.” (The Washington Times)

Paul Ryan Asks Millennials to Give GOP a Chance“During his talk, he said younger Americans are "so used to customizing your everyday life" through technology that they should be drawn to GOP ideas based on personal autonomy and economic freedom. He told students that Republicans believe it ‘is your money so you should decide what to do with it’ and warned them of a crushing mountain of debt if entitlement programs are not reformed.” (USA Today)

Ryan’s Pitch to Millennials: GOP Ideas are Over 'Pandering Politicians and Populists'“As part of his #ConfidentAmerica campaign, the Speaker addressed generational concerns facing young Americans such as student debt, jobs, and economic mobility. . . . Ryan said many of the current policies regulating small businesses, the health care industry, and the education system are shutting young people out of the economy by making their decisions for them. He said the Republican mindset—that the government should serve us, rather than manage us—is exactly aligned with the millennial mindset.” (Red Alert Politics)

Speaker Paul Ryan’s Election Year Advice for Young Republicans“The Wisconsin Republican urged his audience to ‘look at the policies, not the person. It’s the policies that matter so much,’ Ryan said. . . . Ryan promoted the House GOP's agenda project—a series of policy proposals Ryan and his conference plan to release ahead of the July Republican convention that will provide a set of policies down-ballot Republicans across the country can run on in November.” (ABC News)

Ryan: GOP Loses Personality Contests“Ryan argued the Republican Party needs to set out a policy agenda different from Democrats to win elections and move GOP ideas forward. ‘If we do our jobs the right way, we’ll be a choice of two paths that you will have to take. That’s the choice you’ll have far more than a personality,’ Ryan said. ‘Republicans lose personality contests anyway. We always do. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way,’ added Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. ‘But we win ideas contests. And this is what we want to have is an ideas contest.’” (The Hill)

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Speaker Ryan Invites Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to Address Congress

2016/04/28

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to address a joint meeting of Congress when he visits Washington this summer. Speaker Ryan made the announcement at his weekly press conference. This will be the first joint meeting of his speakership. “The friendship between the United States and India is a pillar of stability in an important region of the world,” Ryan said. “This address presents a special opportunity to hear from the elected leader of the world’s most populous democracy on how our two nations can work together to promote our shared values and to increase prosperity. We look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the United States Capitol.” Modi will be the fifth prime minister of India to address a joint meeting of Congress, and the first since 2005. The tradition of foreign leaders and dignitaries addressing Congress began with the Marquis de Lafayette of France, who spoke in the House chamber on December 10, 1824. More background information is available from the House Historian here

 

Today, I invited Indian Prime Minister @narendramodi to address a joint meeting of Congress. https://t.co/Wj7clGpq18

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 28, 2016
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Remarks at ‘Washington – A Man of Prayer’

2016/04/27

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) this evening made opening remarks at this year’s ‘Washington – A Man of Prayer’ event, held in National Statuary Hall. Following are Speaker Ryan’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Pastor Dan, Joann—thank you both for gathering us here tonight. I want to welcome all of you to the Capitol. It is a real honor to be here. Now, onto the man of the hour…

Ronald Reagan once said if there was one word that could sum up George Washington, it would be 'indispensable.' There would not be an America today if he had not held us together in those early years. I think that’s right. And I would argue that the source of Washington’s strength was his belief that in a free country the only thing that’s truly indispensable is God.

He began his presidency by invoking the Almighty. And that’s also the way he ended it. In his farewell address, he called religion and morality the 'great pillars of human happiness.' In fact, he went a step further and said, 'Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.' Now maybe he just meant without a fear of God, there is no order. But maybe what he was also saying was that without a love of God there is no happiness. And that’s because, as all people of faith know, to be truly happy is to give—both what we owe to each other and what we owe to God.

And what we owe to God is our prayers. We need to seek Him out—in good times and in bad. We need to ask for his guidance and to follow in his ways. I think our first president knew that better than most. And the greatest piece of evidence was his character.

And I think his example is especially helpful—because he was a good man, not a perfect one. He may not look it now, but back in the day, Washington was known for having a huge temper. There’s a good story I’ll mention: After he became president, the French Revolution began in earnest. Britain and France went to war. And Washington declared America neutral. Well, a lot of people didn’t like that idea. And one day, he picked up a newspaper, and he saw a cartoon of him being beheaded like King Louis XVI. Thomas Jefferson later wrote that Washington 'got into one of those passions when he cannot command himself' and shouted 'he had rather be in his grave than in his present situation.' (All I can say is I know the feeling.)

But the reason that this story was so notable was that it was so rare. Through all the struggles and hardships, Washington controlled his temper—because he knew America needed steady leadership. If only we had such self-knowledge and self-restraint.

So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to offer a prayer of my own. Heavenly Father, we’re here tonight to show our gratitude for the many blessings you have given us. And we ask that you help us to keep and honor you first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of our countrymen. And in Jesus’s name, we pray.

God bless you, and God bless America.

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FULL REMARKS: Speaker Ryan Holds Millennial Town Hall at Georgetown

2016/04/27

WASHINGTON — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) held a town hall with millennials at the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, where he made the case for why young people should believe in conservatism. Speaker Ryan began the town hall by delivering remarks, followed by Q&A with students in the audience and participating online. Below are Speaker Ryan's full opening remarks as prepared for delivery, which can be viewed here:

"John, Kayla—thank you for the introduction. A special thanks to S. E. Cupp for inviting me—and to all of you here for indulging me. I look forward to answering your questions. But first, I want to make my case: why support Republicans. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume the thought had not occurred to most of you. So here’s how I’d sum it up. The America that you want is the America that we want: open, diverse, dynamic. It is what I call a confident America, where the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life—where we tackle our problems together so that all of us can thrive. "How do we get there? How do we do that? That is why I am here today. "Building that America is the reason that I got into politics, though I never thought I’d run for office when I was your age. Back then, I wanted to be an economist, which goes to show just how much fun I was in those days. But my last year in college, I got offered a job on Capitol Hill, where I had interned the summer before. And, seniors, you’re learning this just now: The first time anybody offers to hire you for anything, it is a huge relief—and somewhat of a shock.

"But I almost didn’t take it. What I really wanted to do was to go to Colorado and spend a few years enjoying the outdoors. I thought I’d climb mountains and wait tables in the summer—and in the winter I’d join the ski patrol. Well, when I mentioned this idea to my mom, she wasn’t exactly enthusiastic. She said to me, 'If you do that, you’ll just become a ski bum. One year will turn into three, three into six, and before you know it, you’ll be 30 years old'—which, to 22-year-old me, sounded ancient.

"So I took the job. And I quickly realized that public service was where I could have the biggest impact. You could make a real difference in people’s lives—and at a young age. So when the congressman who represented my district decided to leave the House, I ran for his seat. I was just 28 years old. And to everybody’s surprise—myself included—I won.

"I went into politics because I wanted to solve problems. I entered Congress in 1999. I don’t even want to know how old all of you were back then. But it was a different time. Cell phones were a lot bigger—and so was my hair. And the hot-button issue was Social Security. I got involved because I wanted to save it. For me, it was personal.

"My dad died when I was 16, so my family relied on his Social Security survivor benefits. I used them to help pay for college. My mom used them to help her start a new career. She had just turned 50, and now she had to start over. So every weekday, she’d get on a bus and ride 40 miles to Madison to go to school. She was able to learn new skills and start a small business. So I knew what Social Security had done for my family. And I wanted all Americans—of all generations—to have that same level of security.

"But this speaks to a larger point. When I was growing up, I lived in a country where if you got up every day and gave it your all, it would pay off. You could find a rewarding job. You could start your own business. You could buy a home and raise a family in a nice neighborhood. And no matter where you came from, no office or distinction was too high for your reach. Anything was possible, if you were willing to make the effort. And if life threw you a curve ball, you would get the support you needed.

"That, I think, is the kind of country we all want to live in. And you know better than most that it doesn’t just happen automatically. You grew up during the Great Recession. You saw for yourselves how opportunity can disappear in a moment. When I talk to college graduates these days, it’s clear they’re still living with the consequences of the crash. They studied hard, but they can’t find a job that matches their skills. They’re working hard, but they’re not getting that promotion they hoped for. They want to buy a house, but they can’t afford it. They want to save for retirement, but they can’t sacrifice the money.

"So the question is, how do we open up opportunity for everyone in this country? And what, specifically, is the government’s role here? As you might have heard, this is a matter of dispute. And it has been for some time. "I just want to say my Democratic friends are good people who love their country. I work with them every day to find common ground and make progress where we can. But there are real disagreements between us. And we should be clear about them—because then, when the time comes, the people can decide which way they want to go. And I believe many of our current policies are shutting young people out of our economy by taking decisions away from people—from the individual.

"This is the difference: We do not believe we should be governed by our betters—that elites in Washington should make all the big decisions—that they should pick winners and losers—that’s a recipe for a closed economy—for cronyism. We want an open economy where there’s equal opportunity for all . . . where more people can participate and rise by their talents . . . where the individual can put their ideas and their aspirations to the test.

"This contrast can be hard to visualize, so here’s an example. "Say you have an idea for a new business, and you want to create a startup. Well, you need to raise money. And if you want to raise money on the Internet—as many people do—you typically have two options: Ask for donations or loans. But there’s also a third option: Offer stock. Sounds intimidating, but it’s not really. It’s basically just crowdsourcing for investors. And it works for a lot of people because when you’re not making money, you don’t owe your investors anything—unlike debt. But a few years ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission got involved. It thought this kind of crowdfunding was too risky for small-dollar investors—that is, people like you—and said they couldn’t do it. Instead of laying down rules to make it safe—so people like you could participate—the SEC ruled it out of bounds. That’s the difference between giving information to people and making decisions for them.

"That’s why we passed a law to make the SEC change course. We said, 'Write rules so more people can participate. Don’t outlaw it.' And what happened? More people got to invest, and more start-ups got to expand. Now, we’re still working out the kinks in the law. We’re actually considering a bill this week. But I would argue that this shows the kind of mindset we need in government. The point of having rules is to open up opportunity, not to shut it off. It is to give people the information they need so they can take action. It is that information that turns you into an investor or an inventor or an entrepreneur. And that’s how we solve problems in this country—from the bottom up, not the top down. Now we need to take this mindset and apply it to the challenges of the day. Here are just a few more examples . . .

"I’m all for helping people pay for health insurance. But the health care law literally outlawed millions of plans that were working. And now millions are struggling to pay their premiums. If you’re young and healthy, you don’t need a plan with all the bells and whistles. You just need basic coverage. So why not open up our health care system so people can pick a plan that works for them?

"Student debt is now bigger than credit card debt. And so many of my friends on the other side say we should make community college free. But what if you don’t want to go to community college? Why don’t we break up the college cartel and let students try different options? Why don’t we give our students a choice?

"We’ve been fighting the War on Poverty for over 50 years now. We spend billions of dollars each year on 92 different programs. And yet poverty is not all that much lower than when we started. But if you look in our local communities, there are actually thousands of people fighting poverty on the front lines every day—and winning. Instead of trying to replace them, why doesn’t government support them?

"There are over 2 million people in our prisons. Many of them are not hardened criminals. They’re not violent. A lot of them are just people who made a mistake. I think we need to let more people earn a second chance at life. Instead of locking people up, why don’t we unlock their potential?

"The good news is, we don’t just have to ask these questions. We can do these things. That is why, right now, Republicans are working on a policy agenda to address some of the challenges I have discussed here today. If we do not like the direction our country is going—and we do not—then we owe the country an alternative. We owe it to you. "I know you have heard people like me say that yours may be the first generation to be left worse off than the one before it. That does not have to happen, and it will not have to happen if we seize this moment.

"Maybe this will help sum up things up. At the Democrats’ national convention in 2012, they showed a video that said, 'Government’s the only thing that we all belong to.' I think they had it exactly backward. Government is the only thing that belongs to all of us. It is not supposed to manage the people, but to serve them. And I think this mindset is totally in sync with the way you live your lives. It’s almost a cliché to say your generation is the most technologically savvy we’ve ever seen. If I can log in to Netflix—that’s a win for me. And you know better than anyone that technology is not a toy or distraction. It is what allows you to focus on the essentials: faith, family, work. I would argue government is supposed to do the same thing.

"These days, with technology, you are used to customizing your everyday life. So why on earth would you want to support a governing philosophy that seeks to take away your right and ability to customize, individualize, or decide critical aspects of your life, like your health care or your education? You can’t say government is of the people when it is imposing its decisions on the people.

"Government does not impose community. The people create it—and government’s role is to protect it. Only we the people can build a confident America. So today I am asking for your help. We need your ideas. We need you to create the next Uber or Lyft or Twitter or Snapchat . . . or to raise the next generation . . . or to run for office . . . or to get involved in our community . . . or do all of these things. "Because that’s who we are—a country that sees the potential in every human being and does everything we can to bring that potential to life. Thank you."

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Will President Obama Stand with DC’s Mayor & Kids—or Special Interests?

2016/04/27

Tomorrow, the House will take up bipartisan legislation, the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, which reauthorizes the successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. This program expands school choice by allowing low-income parents to choose the best learning environment for their children. 

Mayor Bowser supports it.

A majority of the city council supports it.

A wide variety of groups support it.

But what about President Obama? The Washington Times has more:

“Lawmakers and D.C. officials are waiting to see whether President Obama will side with teachers’ unions opposed to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, which is set for a House vote on reauthorization this week. . . . The White House has tried several times to eliminate the program, a priority of former Speaker John A. Boehner. . . . It’s his last chance to kill the program; five years ago, the White House came out against the program’s renewal but didn’t issue a veto threat.”

Time and again, the president and his administration have sought to undermine or end this program altogether. They tried to avoid implementing the law. They tried to cut funding. They tried to cap enrollment. They tried everything.

Despite all this, the program has succeeded across the board. So will the president stand in the way of these kids, or will he realize he was wrong and work with us to get this done? 

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It's a Busy Week in the House

2016/04/27

There's a lot going on in the House this week. We are considering bills to help manufacturing competitiveness, promote school choice, block the harmful fiduciary rule, and protect your emails from unwarranted government intrusion.

To keep track of everything, we'll aggregate all the latest news and updates on our work from Twitter below. Hope you'll follow along!

A Busy Week in the House

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T Minus 3 Hours until Speaker Ryan's Millennial Town Hall

2016/04/27

This afternoon, Speaker Ryan is holding a town hall with millennials at the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service. Why? Because in a day and age when young people want to take control of what their lives looks like, conservatism just makes sense. To preview his address, Speaker Ryan joined CNN’s New Day earlier today: “My message to millennials, to young people—I think conservativism is a philosophy and a way of life that they need to take a really good look at. Because I think it offers the most promise for them in their lives. Young people are used to customizing things in their life—you know, with apps, and iPhones, and all the rest. Why would you want to support a government philosophy that takes away your choices, like your health care, your doctor, your education financing, and all the rest? “So what we don’t want to have is a top-down philosophy where we have elites ruling us and government bureaucracies, which is really what progressives are pushing. We want an organic, bottom-up, open economy. We want clear and consistent government that is transparent where people in our communities are solving our problems, and where we’re not asking others to rule us—which is what is happening these days with progressivism and this fourth branch of government. So I think young people get it. They want to be a part of their society. They want to make decisions. They want to run the economy. They want to start businesses. They want to find opportunity. And conservatism—as we know it, as we live it—is the best promise for opportunity that we have. And I want to acquaint young people with that.” And what happens once conservatism is given the chance? Well, for starters, we’ll start to see real solutions to real everyday problems. That’s why House Republicans are working on an agenda to present to the American people that will restore a #ConfidentAmerica. Here’s how Speaker Ryan explained the five key points of that agenda on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning: “Economic growth. Patient-centered health care. Moving people from welfare to work and fighting poverty. Fixing our national security. And restoring the Constitution and self-government—making government more accountable."

As Speaker Ryan continued, these areas "unify all conservatives." That’s the end goal we want—now, let’s work on winning young folks to conservatism so we can reach that goal together. Speaker Ryan’s town hall kicks off this afternoon at 1:45 p.m. ET—be sure to tune in on speaker.gov/live and follow the conversation using #RyanAtGU.  

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The People's House Is Hard at Work

2016/04/27

Protecting American manufacturers. Strengthening email privacy. Renewing successful school programs. These are just a few things that House Republicans are accomplishing—and all in a week’s work. Speaker Ryan further discussed what the House is getting done at a press conference this morning with other Republican leaders. Below are his full opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

"This is a busy week in the people’s House. I’ll just rattle off a few things here. 

"Yesterday, we passed bipartisan legislation to combat ISIS’s trafficking of cultural property. This is going to the president’s desk.

"Today, we are passing bipartisan legislation to protect American manufacturers from needless taxes. We hope this will go to the president’s desk soon as well. This is good for jobs. It is good for our competitiveness. It is good for consumers too.

"We will also pass the bipartisan privacy bill that Kevin Yoder just talked about. The last time we updated these laws, I was flipping burgers at McDonald’s. So clearly this is long overdue. 

"The principle here is important: our Fourth Amendment rights should apply to our emails. This bill does that without impeding law enforcement’s ability to do its job.

"Tomorrow, we will pass bipartisan legislation to renew the successful DC school choice program. Think about how many times the administration has tried to deny funding to this program, or eliminate it altogether. This initiative has helped thousands of kids, and we have the support of Mayor Bowser and most of the city council to keep it going.

"We are also going to pass the HALOS Act, so we can have more start-ups in this country.

"And we are going to pass a resolution rejecting the fiduciary rule, because the government should not get in the way of your retirement planning.

"This is an addition to all the work going in on our committees, most importantly on ways we can fight the opioid epidemic.

"It has been a productive six months, but there is only so much we can get done in divided government. That is why we are working on a specific policy agenda, so we can present the country with a clear choice."

 

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"There will be no taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico"

2016/04/26

As the Committee on Natural Resources continues its work on a plan to responsibly address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis, Speaker Ryan took to the airwaves on CBS This Morning to explain the issue to the American people:

"We are focused on Puerto Rico. . . . Here is what we are working on doing: Having a very important oversight board to work on debt restructuring and helping Puerto Rico get their fiscal house in order. Taxpayers will not be involved in this. There will be no taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico. But we will give the tools that are necessary to bring order to this chaos in Puerto Rico so that they can have a smooth landing, so that they can put their fiscal house in order, and so that they have the necessary tools they needwhich they need in law—to be able to restructure this paralyzing debt that they have. . . . and it will make them have to balance their budget."

Watch the full interview here. Last week, conservative groups rallied behind the bill, and this week, two national editorial boards joined the chorus for Congress to pass this legislation, which protects taxpayers from bailout

Wall Street Journal: “Legislation introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy and backed by Speaker Paul Ryan offers a political prophylactic . . . The bill creates a seven-member oversight board appointed by the President from the nominations of congressional leadership. One member would be required to live on the island. The board is modeled on the Washington D.C. control board that imposed discipline on the capital city in the 1990s. Puerto Rico’s watchmen could reject budgets, contracts and regulations that don’t comport with its fiscal plan. The board could also use its veto to impel economic and government reforms. The GOP should welcome this political supervision.  . . .

“The options now are an orderly restructuring governed by U.S. law or a chaotic default dictated by the island’s politicians. . . . Congress will have to act eventually, and if too many Republicans wig out, Democrats will demand a weaker control board and more welfare spending as the price of support. Or Republicans can do nothing, watch Puerto Rico default and slide into a deep recession while Democrats exploit the issue.”

The New York Times editorial board made some good points regarding the fiscal dynamic in Puerto Rico and reiterated the fact that the House legislation protects American taxpayers.

New York Times: “[t]he federal government needs to give Puerto Rico a way to restructure its $72 billion debt and impose a financial control board to oversee decisions by local lawmakers. But the effort to pass legislation is facing stiff opposition from some . . . who have bought into false arguments made by hedge funds and other investors that this would amount to a federal bailout or that it could open the door to bankruptcy filings by state governments.

“Done right, legislation that would help Puerto Rico through its financial crisis would not cost the federal government any money. And allowing the island to restructure its debt would not mean that Congress would have to give states like Illinois that also owe a lot of money to investors the ability to do the same. If Congress does not act now, Puerto Rico’s financial crisis could drag on for years. The island’s government would have to cut more public services, and more of the island’s 3.5 million people would seek a better life on the mainland, which would further reduce tax revenue.”

Related: 

1. Conservative Groups Back Puerto Rico Bill

2. Puerto Rico: "Progress, not a bailout"

3. VERIFIED: House Bill Protects Taxpayers from Bailout, Requires Tough Choices From Puerto Rico

4. Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

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Sneak Peek of Millennial Town Hall at Georgetown University

2016/04/26

Tomorrow, Speaker Ryan will visit Georgetown University for a town hall with millennials. For non-students, here's how you can watch it live: 

speaker.gov/live Wednesday, April 27 at 2pm ET

And if you just can't wait until tomorrow, here's a 32-second sneak peek of what to expect:

Transcript:

"I want to show people that conservatism is actually a very inclusive and aspirational mindset. It's a happy way of life.

"But more importantly, how our principles—applied to the problems of the day—provide the best and most enduring solutions that give young people more control over their lives and their destiny and guarantee a more prosperous future."

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House Receives 18th Consecutive Clean Financial Audit

2016/04/26

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after House Administration Committee Chairman Candice Miller (R-MI) announced that the House of Representatives has received a clean financial audit for the 18th year in a row:

“As an institution charged with protecting taxpayer dollars, we strive to lead by example, and a clean financial bill of health is proof we are on the right track. I want to especially commend Chairman Miller and the House Administration Committee, the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, and the Office of the House Inspector General. Underneath all the titles and acronyms are dedicated public servants committed to the highest standards of accountability and transparency. I know we will continue to raise the bar on behalf of the taxpayers we serve.”

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This is about protecting your emails:

2016/04/26

Let’s be honest: This is how most Americans feel about the federal government respecting their privacy:

And for good reason. Did you know that law enforcement officials can legally search some of your electronic communications—even emails—all without a warrant?

It’s true. That’s because, believe it or not, the main law governing email privacy was passed in 1986, and it's remained largely unchanged ever since. In other words, the laws overseeing email privacy—something virtually every American uses on a daily basis—haven’t been significantly updated since before most of us ever even knew email existed.

Needless to say, a lot has happened in the past three decades. The United States won the Cold War. . .

. . . Rick Astley, for better or worse, gave the world this timeless classic. . .

. . . and, of course, Apple launched the iPhone . . . and the iPhone 3G . . . and the iPhone 3GS . . . and the iPhone 4 (antennagate, amirite?) . . . and the iPhone 5 . . . and the iPhone 5C . . . Well, you get the idea . . .

In any case, the point is that the world around us is changing. The technology we use every day is rapidly advancing—and that’s a good thing—but we must also address serious privacy concerns. So tomorrow the House will consider Rep. Kevin Yoder’s (R-KS) Email Privacy Act, which will modernize laws governing email privacy. This measure, which is long overdue, will protect your emails from unwarranted searches by law enforcement officials and government bureaucrats. That’s why over 300 House members—Democrats and Republicans alike—support this critical legislation to safeguard your privacy. And that should make you, well . . . 

 

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Speaker Ryan Discusses Agenda Project on CBS, Fox News ahead of Town Hall with Millennials

2016/04/26

How do you restore a #ConfidentAmerica? Ahead of his town hall with millennials tomorrow at the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, Speaker Ryan made a few TV appearances to help answer this question. Short answer? A conservative agenda that tackles the problems of the day and puts America back on track. Long answer? See below. So you’re working on an agenda. Over the past six months, House Republicans have secured a number of conservative victories for the American people, laying the groundwork for what’s to come. Speaker Ryan stopped by Fox News’s America’s Newsroom to explain: Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com “Look at what we’ve done in six months: The most comprehensive transportation law in a decade; the biggest rewrite of our education policies in 25 years; rewriting our customs laws [for the first time in] 40 years; tax certainty for small businesses. We’ve passed a lot of big reforms.” But of course that’s not enough…   “There are huge issues that we’re not going to get settled with a liberal progressive president. So that’s [why] we need to take an agenda to the country to show to the country: here’s what it’s going to take to get America back on track so that we can earn the right to do those things in 2017. . . . I came in [as speaker] saying I’ll be more of a communications speaker, a policy speaker, pushing our ideas, talking about what we’re for, and building a confident America. . . . Of all the things lacking in this country, it is confidence in this country, confidence in our economy, confidence in our public officials, confidence in our government, confidence that we’re secure and safe and prosperous. We are going to offer an agenda that gives us a confident America.” Gotcha. In the meantime—what does that agenda look like? Speaker Ryan continued his morning TV round with an appearance on CBS This Morning, outlining the specific areas that House Republicans are working in their agenda: View More: Politics News|Live News|More News Videos.cbs-link {color:#4B5054;text-decoration:none; font: normal 12px Arial;}.cbs-link:hover {color:#A7COFF;text-decoration:none; font: normal 12px Arial;}.cbs-pipe {color:#303435;padding: 0 2px;}.cbs-resources {height:24px; background-color:#000; padding: 0 0 0 8px; width: 612px;}.cbs-more {font: normal 12px Arial; color: #4B5054; padding-right:2px;}

“Our task forces are working on our five-point agenda. There’s five areas that we think aren’t getting done in this divided government, and we need to offer a plan to the people:

  • How do you really get this economy growing? That’s tax reform, energy development, regulatory relief—get faster economic growth, better take home pay.
  • Everybody knows we’re against Obamacare—I think we got that part down. What do we replace it with? What does patient-centered health care really look like? How do we actually solve these health care problems and these entitlement problems that are bringing us to a debt crisis down the road?
  • How do you help people get out of poverty? How do you transition people from welfare to work? We have welfare programs that kind of work as work-replacement programs—we need them to become work-encouraging programs.
  • What’s a good foreign policy to keep us safe?
  • How do you restore self-government by consent, Article I of the Constitution?

“We believe the country deserves a very clear and compelling choice—and we have an obligation to offer them that choice.” But that’s not all, y’all. Speaker Ryan will be talking all about this vision for a more #ConfidentAmerica tomorrow afternoon at Georgetown University. Be sure to tune in to speaker.gov/live at 2pm and follow the conversation using #RyanAtGU. We’ll see you then! 

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America Can Do Better

2016/04/25

America can do better. About seven out of ten Americans agree—we're headed in the wrong direction. That's why House Republicans are focused on actually fixing the problems facing us, not just bemoaning how bad things are.

Ahead of Speaker Ryan's visit to Georgetown University later this week for a town hall  with millennials, he previews the optimism and determination that will be required to move America forward. Check it out in the 39-second video below.

"I think the polls basically say about seven out of ten Americans think that America is headed in the wrong direction.

"OK. Then as a member of Congress, it is not our job simply to say we are just as angry as the rest of everybody else. It is not our job to just put gas on the fire.

"It is our job to channel this concern, this fear, this anxiety, this anger, into solutions—into ideas on how to fix it.

"America, we have problems that we can fix, and we need to do this together."

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Weekly Republican Address: To Fight Opioid Abuse, We Must Care for the Most Vulnerable

2016/04/22

WASHINGTON — In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) discusses how Republicans are responding to the growing opioid epidemic facing America, including the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act—legislation geared toward helping children exposed to drug use and mothers struggling with addiction. The Republican-led Senate recently took an important step in addressing opioid addiction when it passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

This struggle is a national epidemic. It could happen to anyone,” said Rep. Jenkins. “But no one deserves to start his or her life in withdrawal. It is our responsibility to care for the most vulnerable in our society.”

NOTE: The audio of the weekly address is available here, and the video will be available on speaker.gov.

Remarks of Representative Evan Jenkins of West Virginia Weekly Republican Address Washington, DC April 23, 2016

Every 25 minutes in America, a baby is born who was exposed to drugs during pregnancy. Because of their exposure to opioids, heroin, and other drugs, they may spend their first weeks suffering from withdrawal.

Their bodies shake with tremors, and their cries are heartbreaking. This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, and it is truly a terrible way to come into this world. Unfortunately, it is becoming all too common. This is especially true in my home state of West Virginia.

The good news is, doctors, nurses, and community leaders are developing innovative treatments for these babies. One example is Lily’s Place, a pediatric recovery center that I helped start in my hometown of Huntington. There, doctors and nurses use the best treatments and therapies available to help babies suffering from withdrawal, and parents can get counseling.

Centers like Lily’s Place offer hope for mothers seeking to turn their lives around—mothers like Cassidy Falls of Huntington. When describing her fight against drug addiction, she said: "There was something far stronger than I could have ever imagined creeping into my life. My thoughts were altered—my wishes, wants, and needs were no longer mine."

Cassidy Falls and her infant son are healthy now, thanks to Lily’s Place. We need more programs like it, but it took years of cutting through red tape just to get this one program set up. There are real gaps in health care all across the country, and far too many obstacles getting in the way of our doctors and nurses.

That’s why we are taking action. Last November, Congress enacted legislation I helped champion to develop treatments for expecting mothers with opioid addictions—legislation that is now the law. I recently introduced the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act, which will expand our understanding of this condition. Through this bill, we will learn more about just how many newborns are suffering from withdrawal, and more about the federal obstacles to treating them.

The Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act is just one of a number of initiatives Republicans and Democrats are working on to combat opioid abuse. We are focused on getting a bill to the president’s desk in the coming weeks.

This struggle is a national epidemic. It could happen to anyone. But no one deserves to start his or her life in withdrawal. It is our responsibility to care for the most vulnerable in our society. And that is why I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this done.

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Not Your Typical Friday Roundup

2016/04/22

There are probably a lot of roundups of the week in your inbox already. This isn’t that. Don’t get me wrong, the Speaker’s team puts out a lot of great stuff, but there are also issues and moments that don't necessarily get the attention they deserve.

EPPC's 40th Anniversary Gala: Keynote Remarks by Speaker Paul Ryan from Ethics and Public Policy Center on Vimeo.

For example, I wanted to make sure you saw this video of the Speaker's remarks this week about conservatism and putting together an agenda that applies our founding principles to the problems of the day. I wanted to follow up on our challenge at the Supreme Court regarding the president’s executive overreach on immigration. Listen to Monday's oral arguments, in which Erin Murphy, representing the House, calls the administration’s actions “the most aggressive of executive power claims.” I wanted to note that the Judiciary Committee recently passed this bill. The Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act—or 'ECPA' for short—would make sure our Fourth Amendment rights apply to our emails. Folks, the last time this law was updated was in 1986! 

Thank you @Cardinal_Wuerl for visiting with me this morning. Appreciate your strong defense of America's children. pic.twitter.com/6UfHA9hRul

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 20, 2016

 

I wanted to share this photo of the Speaker greeting Cardinal Wuerl on Wednesday. I think this article about the Speaker's remarks last night to the good people of Racine is worth a click.  Also, it is National Jelly Bean Day, but I don’t think we have anything for you on that. We did, however, mark National High Five DayNational Park Week, and of course, Autism Awareness Month. So, that’s my anti-roundup or anti-rundown, if you will. As always, thanks for reading.

 

Looking forward to welcoming @SpeakerRyan for a student town hall April 27 https://t.co/4efle1WN4w #RyanAtGU pic.twitter.com/ohTuuqHF99

— Georgetown Univ. (@Georgetown) April 21, 2016
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Statement on the Administration's Purchase of Heavy Water from Iran

2016/04/22

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the Obama administration’s reported $8.6 million purchase of heavy water from Iran:

“For Tehran, the nuclear agreement is the gift that keeps on giving. This purchase—part of what appears to be the administration’s full-court press to sweeten the deal—will directly subsidize Iran’s nuclear program. It’s yet another unprecedented concession to the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism.”  

NOTE: Earlier this week, Speaker Ryan urged the administration to rule out additional economic concessions to Iran, including granting Tehran access to the U.S dollar and financial system.

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Is Secretary Kerry about to give Iran access to the dollar this Friday?

2016/04/21

That’s the question perplexing us following Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in New York on Tuesday. The two apparently discussed Tehran’s baseless complaint that it deserves access to the U.S. dollar—a request that goes above and beyond the sanctions relief granted under the nuclear deal.

Here’s what Secretary Kerry said when asked after the meeting whether an agreement was reached on the dollar issue:

“We agreed to—we’re both working at making sure that the JCPOA, the Iran agreement—nuclear agreement—is implemented in exactly the way that it was meant to be and that all the parties to that agreement get the benefits that they are supposed to get out of the agreement. So we worked on a number of key things today, achieved progress on it, and we agreed to meet on Friday. After the signing of the climate change agreement, we will meet again to sort of solidify what we talked about today.”

Wait—what?

What was "worked on"? What is there to discuss on Friday? And what exactly is there to "solidify"?

Key administration officials have repeatedly promised that Iran will not get access to the dollar, but that’s not what Secretary Kerry said on Tuesday. He left the door ajar, if not completely wide open, to renegotiating an issue that could give Iran an unprecedented economic windfall.

On Tuesday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) introduced legislation that would block the administration from making this disastrous concession. This is another step in our effort to deny American dollars from fueling a regime that continues to sponsor terrorism, abuse human rights, and test-fire ballistic missiles.

As Speaker Ryan said earlier this week, “The administration should definitively rule out any potential workaround that provides Iran—directly or indirectly—with access to the dollar or the U.S. financial system.”

We hope that’s the message Secretary Kerry delivers to Foreign Minister Zarif on Friday.

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Energy, Fiduciary Rule, Jobs, Opioid Abuse: The House at Work

2016/04/21

Today at his weekly press briefing, Speaker Ryan highlighted the important work done by House committees this week, including: the American Manufacturers Competitiveness Act, passed unanimously by the Ways and Means Committee; the resolution passed by the Education and the Workforce Committee to block the fiduciary rule; and the bills taken up by the Energy and Commerce Committee to address opioid abuse in America. Below are Speaker Ryan's remarks:  "While a couple of issues seem to get a lot of attention around here, I want to touch on some important work that is going on in the House just this week. On the American Manufacturers Competitiveness Act "First, the Ways and Means Committee. The Ways and Means Committee approved bipartisan legislation to boost our economy. We are creating an open and rigorous process for the way we provide tax relief for American manufacturers. This is something that we’ve been trying to get done for years—this MTB issue is something that I’ve personally been involved in, and I’m very excited that we have a solution now that we’re moving. It is a jobs bill. It is a transparency bill. And it upholds our earmark ban—first and foremost—which is very important. On blocking the fiduciary rule:

"Second, the Education and the Workforce Committee approved a resolution to block the Labor Department’s new fiduciary rule. This is an issue I hear quite a bit about from my constituents. There is not a day where I am home—every week—where someone does not come up and talk to me about this particular issue. We all want to make sure that people get sound advice to save for the future. This is not that. This fiduciary rule is not that. This is Washington coming in and imposing all kinds of artificial rules and limits. It is total Washington overkill. Through the Congressional Review Act, we can directly reject costly regulations, and that is how we are going to try and stop this fiduciary rule.

On fighting opioid abuse:

"Third, the Energy and Commerce Committee has begun taking up more than a dozen bills to take on opioid abuse. This problem is truly a national epidemic. It affects people from all walks of life—all ages. Every 25—every 25 minutes, a baby is born with drug withdrawal symptoms. Every 25 minutes in America. Among the initiatives that we are working on is a bill introduced by Evan Jenkins of West Virginia that will improve our ability to care for these infants. I have asked Congressman Jenkins to deliver our Weekly Republican Address to talk about his bill. Ultimately, our goal is to go to conference with the Senate and get a bill to the president’s desk. We also look forward to going to conference with the Senate on energy legislation. That would be a huge win for American families." On a return to regular order: "So, this is regular order. This is getting bills introduced, bringing [them] up in committee, getting them through committee, and then going to the conference committee with the Senate and getting a compromise bill out of conference committee. That is regular order, that is getting bills through law, that is the way this process is supposed to work, and I am very pleased we see a continuation of this process. I look forward to building on this progress by offering a bold policy agenda to the country, which is what our agenda groups—our task forces—are working on as well. It is working with the Senate to go into conference committees and get bills signed into law. I look forward to building on this progress, including by offering a bold policy agenda to the country."

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Rep. Evan Jenkins to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2016/04/21

WASHINGTON — This morning at his weekly press briefing, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, April 23. In the address, Rep. Jenkins will discuss how drug use impacts children who are exposed during pregnancy from the very first day of their lives, and what the House is doing to help these children and those struggling with addiction. The Republican-led Senate recently took an important step in addressing opioid addiction when it passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. “Every 25 minutes across America, a baby is born going through withdrawal from heroin, opioids, and other drugs, due to exposure in the womb," said Rep. Jenkins. "I am proud that the House has solutions to help these babies, address the drug crisis, and ensure healthy lives for those seeking a path from addiction to recovery."   "Among the initiatives that we are working on is a bill introduced by Evan Jenkins of West Virginia that will improve our ability to care for these infants," Speaker Ryan said earlier today. "I have asked Congressman Jenkins to deliver our Weekly Republican Address to talk about his bill. Ultimately, our goal is to go to conference with the Senate and get a bill to the president’s desk." Rep. Evan Jenkins is honored to serve the people of the third congressional district of West Virginia in the 114th Congress. A native of Huntington, he is proud to call West Virginia his home and has long been dedicated to serving its residents. In 1994, Rep. Jenkins was elected to serve in the West Virginia House of Delegates, and in 2002, he was elected to the West Virginia Senate. As a state legislator, Rep. Jenkins championed job creation, children’s issues, public safety and fiscal responsibility. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2014 and was sworn in on Jan. 6, 2015.

Learn more about Rep. Jenkins by following him on Twitter, liking his Facebook page, or visiting his website. NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting Saturday, April 23, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov

Good news: @HouseCommerce has begun work on more than a dozen bills to take on #opioid abuse.https://t.co/Sl5E4TipEL

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 21, 2016
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Conservative Groups Back Puerto Rico Bill

2016/04/20

This week, many conservative groups came out supporting H.R. 4900, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), introduced by Rep. Duffy and developed by the Committee on Natural Resources. While work on the legislation continues, these groups understand the core bill represents a principled, responsible solution to the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico.

Why?

1) It protects American taxpayers from bailing out Puerto Rico.

2) It brings order to what will be debt-restructuring chaos if Congress does not act.

3) It gives the territory a chance to make conservative, limited government reforms.

One priority the groups reiterated over and over again is that this legislation is Congress’s best tool to avoid a taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico.

Americans for Tax Reform: PROMESA Contains No Bailout

“If nothing is done the situation will get worse for all stakeholders. Over the next year, Puerto Rico must make $3.5 billion in debt payments that is has no way of paying. As early as next month, 11 government entities will begin defaulting one by one. Because it is unclear which debt is first in line, the ensuing lawsuits will result in chaos. Not only will Puerto Rico lose out, but creditors will lose out because they will not be paid what they are owed. The alternative is the House bill which creates a strong oversight board to manage Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. The Oversight Board is clearly the better outcome – it will maximize creditor recovery because they will get little or nothing from Puerto Rico if the island has defaulted. . .

“PROMESA contains no federal bailout and does not leave taxpayers on the hook. Despite accusations that this taxpayers and savers are bailing out Puerto Rico, the legislation has zero federal budgetary impact.

In fact, even expenses for setting up and operating the Oversight Board will come from Puerto Rico, not federal taxpayers. Any suggestions that this legislation contains a bailout are completely false.”

National Review: The Puerto Rico Debt Bill Is a Good Start

“House Republicans are advancing legislation that makes some progress on these issues. It would allow debts to be restructured, albeit using a convoluted process that it pretends does not amount to an extension of bankruptcy protections to the island. It would create a control board for the island, of the type that brought order to the finances of Washington, D.C., in the 1990s. And it would reduce the minimum wage within Puerto Rico. . . .

“Conservatives should work to strengthen the bill, but they should also keep in mind that a perfect bill will not get President Obama’s signature, and the imperative here should be to enact a law that reduces the likelihood of a bailout. The House Republican bill does that.”

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste: Supports Bill Which Thwarts a Taxpayer Bailout of Puerto Rico

“This legislation creates an essential mechanism to thwart a taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico’s fiscal failures. . . . The legislation provides reforms that will allow the territory to fulfill its debt obligations responsibly and efficiently. It will also help the citizens of Puerto Rico prosper from a growing economy. The bill is designed to address problems related solely to Puerto Rico and will not have any impact on existing bankruptcy provisions that govern states or their municipalities. 

“The structure of the oversight board is based on the precedent established in 1996, when Congress set up a financial control board to oversee the fiscal affairs of the government of the District of Columbia as well as the control board set up for New York City in 1975. PROMESA is not a bailout, despite misleading advertisements to the contrary. Indeed, without the enactment of H.R. 4900, taxpayers will inevitably be forced to bailout Puerto Rico in the near future.”

Americans for Limited Government: Puerto Rico Bill Necessary to Protect Taxpayers

“The United States finds itself in a difficult position in relation to the Puerto Rican debt crisis. Speaker Paul Ryan, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop and Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy have put together a thoughtful approach to protect the U.S. taxpayers by imposing a tested mechanism for getting the territory’s finances under control and by creating a controlled environment for restructuring Puerto Rico’s unsustainable $72 billion of debt that will keep taxpayers off the hook.

“There is a successful history of Congress imposing financial controls in the past with the most recent example being the successful effort in the District of Columbia to pull the nation’s capital back from the brink of insolvency. Protecting taxpayers is job one of this legislation . . . any attempt to weaken the power of the imposed financial control board to restructure Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt must be a deal breaker.

R Street Institute: Time for Congress to Act on Puerto Rico

“The first alternative available is to deal with many hard decisions and many necessary reforms in a controlled fashion. The second is to have an uncontrolled crisis of cascading defaults in a territory of the United States. Congress needs to choose the controlled outcome by creating a strong emergency financial control board for Puerto Rico—and to do it now. This is the oversight board provided for in the bill currently before the House Natural Resources Committee. The bill further defines a process to restructure the Puerto Rican government’s massive debts, which undoubtedly will be required.

“Some opponents of the bill, in a blatant misrepresentation, have been calling it a “bailout” to generate popular opposition. To paraphrase Patrick Henry, these people may cry: Bailout! Bailout! . . . but there is no bailout. Enacting this bill is the first step to get under control a vast financial mess, the result of many years of overborrowing, overlending and financial and fiscal mismanagement.”

Tea Party Forward: PROMESA is Most Responsible Pathway Forward

"PROMESA is the most responsible pathway forward for our struggling territory of Puerto Rico. This bill will allow for the restructuring of Puerto Rico's debts, while also promoting budget discipline imposed by a federal oversight—a federally-created and named fiscal control board. Most importantly, the Congressman's bill will promote a private-sector driven solution, as opposed to generously using taxpayer’s money for a bailout. . . .

"Congress cannot sit on its hands while Puerto Rico is allowed to fall further into the economic abyss. On May 1st, 2016, $367 million of $468 million in bond principal and interest payments was missed. In July, $1.9 billion will be due. There is a moral responsibility that the mainland has to her Caribbean citizenry. Puerto Ricco cannot be allowed to drift further. This moral void of action is exposed when one considers the massive political and economic capitol that is currently being invested in a Communist regime some 700 miles away. H.R. 4900 does not promote taxpayer funded fiscal irresponsibility; it is the cure."

Speaker Ryan has made it crystal clear that House Republicans's number one priority is to shield American taxpayers from a bailout of Puerto Rico. This legislation is the way to do that.

Related:

1.       Puerto Rico: “Progress, not a bailout”

2.       VERIFIED: House Bill Protects Taxpayers from Bailout, Requires Tough Choices from Puerto Rico

3.       Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

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Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Iranian Terror Victims

2016/04/20

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after the Supreme Court upheld the House’s position on recovering damages for victims of Iranian terrorism:

“The Court made the right decision today. Families of Iranian terror victims have had to wait far too long to recoup these payments. While we can only provide so much comfort to those who grieve, I hope this ruling will help bring justice.”

NOTE: In December 2015, the House filed an amicus brief supported by 225 lawmakers backing victims of Iranian terrorism attempting to recover $1.75 billion in court-ordered damages. Click here to learn more about the lawsuit. 

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VERIFIED: MTBs Are Good for Jobs; New Process Affirms Earmark Ban

2016/04/20

One way Congress can help create jobs and ensure our country is competitive in the global economy is eliminating needless taxes that drive up the cost of American-made goods and services. That’s the goal behind legislation the House is advancing to allow Congress to once again pass miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs), which lower taxes for American manufacturers. This process has been around 1982, but with the House earmark ban firmly in place, it’s time for an update.

Here’s what you need to know about this pro-growth, pro-taxpayer legislation:

VERIFIED: MTBs are good for growth.

Give American companies a chance to compete: Right now there are American companies that must pay tariffs—essentially taxes— when they import certain products that have no American manufacturer. In short, these businesses buy products from abroad because there’s no other option—no one in America sells them—yet the companies still have to pay an import tax. This cost is often passed onto consumers. This makes no sense. So the MTB process provides American manufacturers a pathway to receive tariff relief for certain imported products not made in the United States. Rather than needlessly taxing ourselves, MTBs gives American manufacturers a chance to compete on the global market, especially against low-cost manufacturers in China, by lowering the cost of making products here at home.

Create American Jobs: Since MTBs expired in 2012, U.S. companies have been saddled with a $748 million tax hike each year, restoring MTBs would provide the U.S. with $1.9 billion of economic growth per year, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. MTBS are be good for American business, enabling manufactures to create more jobs here at home. 

VERIFIED: New MTB process protects American companies and taxpayers.

Rigorous rules: There are strict guidelines for what constitutes an MTB. All provisions must yield less than $500,000 per year and there cannot be any objection from a member of Congress or another domestic producer. Essentially, if any American company or industry believes removing the tariff will hurt them here at home, it will not be considered.

Independent process: The bill creates a 4-step process for any new MTB, which holds Congress and the companies accountable to the taxpayer.

A U.S. company submits tariff exemption to the independent International Trade Commission (ITC) instead of to individual members of Congress.

The ITC conducts analysis, incorporating input from public comments and the administration. The ITC submits its recommendations to Congress. All comments and reports are available to the public.

The Committee on Ways and Means will examine recommendations and draft an MTB proposal. The committee may remove proposed duty suspensions or reductions, but may not add to the ITC recommendations.

The House and Senate will consider the proposed MTBs within existing rules, and either accept or reject the proposal.

VERIFIED: New MTB process affirms the House earmark ban.

Unprecedented transparency: The House, led by Republicans, implemented an across-the board earmark ban in 2011—which stands strong to this day. That’s why it was so important to House Republicans to enact a new, open process for MTBs, one that upholds this ban with the rigorous independent review process for any tariff exemption requests. This new system removes the threat of abuse, and as a result, nine free-market, conservative groups wrote a letter supporting the new process, praising the legislation’s “unprecedented transparency.” These groups, several of whom fight against earmarks, include the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and the Taxpayer Protection Alliance.

Eliminates special interest concerns: H.R. 4923 “would wisely allow Congress to achieve the positive economic effects of an MTB without violating the ban on earmarks. . . .These important procedural changes should serve to eliminate any concerns about the parochialism and unethical behavior that were endemic to the earmarking process.” The groups applauded the “revised MTB process that increases transparency, avoids the pitfalls of earmarking, and sets the table for economic growth. Our organizations are pleased to endorse your bill and hope it will be swiftly enacted into law.”

Bottom Line: MTBs will create jobs and boost the U.S. economy, while the new process protects American companies and affirms House Republicans’s earmark ban. 

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On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Speaker Ryan Talks Policy Agenda

2016/04/20

Early to bed last night? Don’t worry—we’ll bring you up to speed. Last night, Speaker Ryan made his late-night television debut with an appearance on CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Speaker Ryan, via satellite from Washington, DC, talked about the bold policy agenda House Republicans are putting together for the country. Here’s what he had to say: “One of the things that we’re building here in the House of Republicans is we’re offering an agenda to the country for how we fix our country’s big problems. Seventy-one percent of Americans don’t like the direction the country’s headed. We think we owe our fellow citizens a better way forward, so we’re going to tackle the issues: economic growth, patient-centered health care, how do you move people from welfare to work, how do you secure national security, restore self-government. “We want to give the people of this country a very coherent choice by giving them an agenda that gets this country back on track. And we want to take this agenda to the country to ask for a mandate to put these things in place in 2017. That’s what we’re working on here. We want to have an ideas campaign, not a personality contest. And that’s what we think here in the House we can do and provide to our fellow citizens.”

After that, well, things got a little off topic. . .we’ll leave it at that. 

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Speaker Ryan Addresses EPPC’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

2016/04/19

EPPC's 40th Anniversary Gala: Keynote Remarks by Speaker Paul Ryan from Ethics and Public Policy Center on Vimeo.

WASHINGTON — Tonight, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) addressed the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s (EPPC) 40th anniversary celebration. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery: “Thanks, everybody. Appreciate it. You know, tonight feels like a family reunion—except I’m actually happy to be here. I have known many of you for more than 20 years. And whenever I need advice, you are still the people I go to: Jim Capretta, Yuval Levin, Pete Wehner, George Weigel. In fact, the way I see it, I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the people in this room—which, depending on the websites you read, is either an endorsement or an indictment.

“Yes, a lot of us—we go back. Some of you might not know this, but Pete gave me one of my first jobs in Washington. I worked for him as an economic policy analyst at Empower America. This was back in the day when I thought I was going to get a doctorate in economics—until I realized I didn’t have the social skills. I still remember when he called to offer me the job. He said to me, ‘We’re taking a big risk on you. You’re a lot younger and less experienced than anyone else we’re looking at. But we think you have potential.’

“Well, I reminded Pete about this earlier tonight, and I said, ‘I hope I lived up to your expectations.’

“And he said, ‘Oh Paul, don’t be silly. You’ve still got plenty of time.’

“But in all seriousness, I want thank everyone at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. In the past 40 years, you have truly made your mark. You have built a great institution. A lot of people get involved in politics. Some donate money. Others volunteer their time. But all of you have given something very important: your ideas. Your scholarship is your service. And I know it feels like you’re muttering into a void sometimes. Far too often politics is a thought-free zone. But the absence only highlights the need. If our country is in a rut—and I believe it is—then we need people like you to blaze a new path.

“Now, I admit that path might be hard to see in a year like this. But here’s one way I interpret all this upheaval: A lot of people don’t like conservatism as they know it. They’re in the market for something new. And this should not be all that surprising. We like to say we need to apply our principles to the challenges of the day. So let’s do that—because for too many people, Republicans seem to be caught in a time warp. They’re thinking, ‘We don’t control our borders. Wages are going nowhere. College and heath care keep getting more expensive. ISIS continues to spread. And what are Republicans going to do about it?’

“So we need to adapt our policies to meet the challenges of the 21st century. That’s exactly what House Republicans are trying to do now. And I’ve noticed this gives some conservatives heartburn. But we have to remember policy is not principle. Policy changes with the circumstances. Principle stays constant throughout. So as the circumstances change, our policies must change too—all to keep our principles alive and thriving. There are enormous forces of change at work in our country, whether it’s technology or globalization. And so the question we face is, will we control these forces of change? Or will they control us? Will they make us abandon our principles? Or will we make them reinforce our principles?

“But that raises the question: What are those principles? And this is why I think what you do is so important. What makes you different from other think tanks is you emphasize the full spectrum of conservative thought. You understand conservatism is more than a political philosophy or an economic school of thought, though it is all of those things. Conservatism, in its fullest sense, is a way of life. It is a moral code. This can be easy to forget when we’re debating the merits of the Earned Income Tax Credit or the right number of ships for the U.S. Navy. But at the heart of every policy debate is a moral debate.

“Supply-siders, reformicons, neocons—they’re all branches of an old, oak tree we call conservatism. They each have their own points of emphasis, but they all grow out of one special insight: Freedom is a high bar. All of us are meant to be free. And yet to live in freedom demands a lot from us. It demands self-discipline, mutual trust, and wisdom; courage and hard work. But just as it is the most demanding lifestyle, it is also the most fulfilling. Because when we live up to those standards—when we reach that high bar—we feel that sense of accomplishment. We know our lives have meaning. That, to me, is the essence of conservatism: To be free is to do good.

“Notice I didn’t say perfect. That’s because conservatives have a keen sense of our limits. We know how hard it is to make progress in this world. We know how hard it is to keep a job . . . or to stay on budget . . . or to raise your kids right . . . or to keep your faith in times of doubt. We know how fragile the gains are . . . how easily they can be lost. And so we’re grateful for what we have. And if sometimes we seem a little stingy or even defensive, that’s only because we’re being protective.

“We’re trying to protect the country we love—because we know we can’t succeed on our own. Raising a family, starting a business—these things are risks. There’s no guarantee they’ll work out. And people won’t take these risks unless they feel secure—unless they believe their hard work and integrity will be rewarded. You won’t start a family just yet if the neighborhood isn’t safe. You won’t take that job if taxes are too high. You won’t start a business if there’s too much red tape. Government has to create an environment where people feel secure enough to take those risks. It can’t guarantee success, but it has to set the conditions that make success possible.

“Look at it this way: We all like to quote the Declaration of Independence: All of us ‘are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights, [and] among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ But we almost never quote the next line: ‘That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.’ And I would argue that what secures our rights are the rules we live by—both written and unwritten, formal and informal. It is our conduct, how we treat each other. We can live out our faith because we let our neighbors do the same. We can speak our minds freely because we’ll listen to people who disagree. Government is supposed to uphold the standards we set for ourselves.

“Not impose its standards on us—that is the difference between us and the progressives. We do not believe we should be governed by our 'betters'—that experts or elites should steer us in their preferred direction. We know that’s wrong. That goes against our core principle of equality. And precisely because we believe all of us are equal, we believe there is no problem that all of us—working together—cannot solve. We believe every person has a piece of the puzzle, and only when we work together do we get the whole picture.

“So say we want patient-centered health care. I’ll tell you right now: We’re not going to get it from some task force at HHS. We need every single of American—all 320 million of them—hunting for the best deals, seeking out the best doctors, developing the best treatments, creating the innovation. No regulation can replace the creative force of competition. Government can foster that force. Government can put up the guardrails, but it is the people who move us forward. That’s how you get high-quality health care.

“And I think the biggest frustration with government these days is that it does not seem to be upholding our standards but lowering them—our standard of living, our standard of decency, even our standing in the world. It is more interested in maintaining its control than it is in maintaining our standards. It’s a lot easier to control five big insurance companies than it is to promote innovation in every nook and cranny of our economy. And what this lowering of standards suggests is a decidedly low opinion of the people they serve. Instead of helping you live out your potential, government tries to buy you off with a new program. It’s like giving you the trophy without putting you in the game.

“That’s not how it’s supposed to work. Let me give you an example. A few weeks back, I was in Birmingham, Alabama. And while I was there, I spent some time at what’s called the Dannon Project. It was founded by a married couple, Jeh Jeh and Kelli Pruitt. In 1997, Jeh Jeh’s brother, Dannon, was killed by his friend in a drug deal gone bad. And Jeh Jeh and Kelli decided, ‘This has got to stop.’ So they took matters into their own hands. They started a program that takes people coming out of prison, pairs them with a case worker, helps them find a job in the community—a lot of them become nursing assistants—and helps them get back on their feet with whatever they need, whether it’s counseling, health care, you name it.

“This is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Yes, they get funding from the Department of Labor, but they make decisions at the local level. And no surprise, they get results. Only 3 percent of the people who complete this program go back to crime—compared to a statewide average of 44 percent. And it’s because each part of the community does only what it can do—and no more. When people commit crimes, government keeps them off the streets. But after they’ve made amends, the people in the community help them readjust. Government is not the coach calling the plays; it’s the ref enforcing the rules.

“And when I met the Dannon Project team in person, I could just see the pride in their faces. These were people who had struggled with crime and drugs. And here they were. They were technicians and nurses and mothers and fathers. They had turned their lives around. And they were helping other people do the same. They were making a difference. And when you think about it, that’s what we all want, isn’t it?

“I was talking about the need for change earlier. I think this is a good place to start. In the 80s and 90s, we had a crime epidemic in this country. It made sense to have a no-tolerance policy. But now that we’ve had time to stop and look back, I think it’s clear we overshot. States like Texas have shown that you can both lower the prison population and lower the rate of crime with commonsense reforms. Yes, we should keep violent criminals off the streets—of course. But I don’t think we should slam the maximum prison sentence on people who commit nonviolent crimes. Give judges more flexibility to encourage and reward good conduct. And I think that is perfectly in keeping with conservatism. We’re saying, if you sober up, if you learn new skills, if you rebuild your family, you will get a second chance.

“Now, we have to take this mindset and apply it to every issue we face. We’ve set up six task forces in the House to do just that, and we’re going to need your ideas. And as we put together our proposals, I think we need to figure out exactly . . . what are the rules we want to live by.

“If we believe every patient should get the care they need, then we should repeal Obamacare and make insurance companies compete for your business. If we want Medicare and Social Security to be there when we need them, then we need to reform them—to make them more efficient and more sustainable. If we want to be energy independent, then we need to make more energy right here in America. If we want to take control of our future, then we need to take control of our borders. And in the fight against ISIS, if we’re unhappy with the president’s strategy—such as it is—then we need to offer our own.

“In all of these cases, we’re calling for a more engaged citizenry. Because we believe when government meets its responsibilities, then the people can solve our problems.

“Many years ago, Ronald Reagan said conservatives needed to raise a banner of bold colors, not pale pastels—to make it ‘unmistakably clear’ where we stand. Well, if I could add a corollary to that, I would say we need to take that bold banner and to raise it high for all to see—not just to contrast ourselves with our opponents but to rally the whole country to a great cause. Appeal to their aspirations. Make those aspirations possible. Be bold . . . and aim high. For 40 years, the Ethics and Public Policy Center has helped us aim higher so all of us can do better. You’ve done so much already, and there’s still more to do. I so look forward to working with you to defend and renew the country we love. Thank you.”

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Memo to IRS: Don’t Rehire the Guy You Just Fired

2016/04/19

HR 3724 simply stops the IRS from rehiring employees who were fired for misconduct: https://t.co/YuNt0CCdkm pic.twitter.com/2r0Lc4AczV

— Ways and Means (@WaysandMeansGOP) April 13, 2016

Earlier this week, millions of hardworking taxpayers finished sending their most sensitive, personal information to the IRS—an agency with a troubled record of misleading the American people.

On Wednesday, the House will pass four commonsense bills to help make the IRS work for taxpayers—not the other way around. One measure offered by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), the IRS Workforce Act (H.R. 3724), would prohibit the IRS from rehiring former employees who were previously fired.

Yes, we actually need a law for this.

Last year, an independent watchdog found that the IRS rehired hundreds of staffers who were terminated for poor performance or misconduct. Offenses included everything from fraud to tax delinquency to even mishandling sensitive taxpayer information. All this from an agency that repeatedly blames Congress for every problem it encounters.

The House will also consider bills to improve customer service, minimize wasteful IRS spending, and stop the agency from retaining employees who don’t pay their taxes.

And get this: The White House opposes every single one of these bills. That’s just irresponsible. 

As the AP wrote yesterday, Speaker Ryan “released a statement Monday outlining ‘three reasons why the IRS is failing' taxpayers. The agency has a leadership deficit, ‘a huge lack of transparency,’ and is implementing a tax code that is ‘way too complicated.’” This is why making the tax code simpler, fairer, and flatter is a key part of House Republican’s agenda to restore a more Confident America

We know that the #IRS cannot be trusted to police itself, so we've forced the agency to accept more accountability. https://t.co/8Je4CP2MTD

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 19, 2016

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It’s very straightforward: The IRS is not doing its job.

2016/04/19

“We need an IRS—and a tax code—that works for the taxpayer.” That was the message Speaker Ryan delivered earlier today at a press conference with other Republican leaders. He explained that addressing these two concerns will be a big part of the agenda House Republicans are working on for a more #ConfidentAmerica. Below are Speaker Ryan’s full remarks: “First of all, I want to thank Kristi and I want to thank Jason, and all the members of the Ways and Means Committee for their work on this. This is something that the Ways and Means Committee has spent a great deal of time on, and hats off to them for their incredible oversight of the Internal Revenue Service.

“This is another example of our Congress doing its job conducting oversight on behalf of the taxpayers we represent. It is not just asking the tough questions. It is going out and pushing for reforms that actually help our taxpayers. This is why, even with a Democrat president, we have been able to force the IRS to accept more accountability and transparency. 

“We know that the IRS cannot be trusted to police itself—that has been proven. Each time we uncover more problems, the IRS comes up with more excuses. Just recently, in the height of tax season, we learned that the agency still has not done enough to protect taxpayers from hackers. Asked about this, the IRS commissioner said, and I quote: ‘It’s a complicated world.’

“There is nothing complicated about this. If anything, it’s very straightforward: The IRS is not doing its job. It is looking out for itself instead of looking out for our taxpayers. “We need to build a new culture at the IRS, which is why reforms like this are so important. Ultimately, we need to reform our tax code. This will be part of the agenda that we are going to be presenting to the American people. Right now, we have a tax code that no one can understand being enforced by an agency that no one trusts.

“We need an IRS—and a tax code—that works for the taxpayer. We don’t have one now, and that is one of the causes to which this majority is dedicated to.”

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The 21st Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing

2016/04/19

I still remember when I heard about the Oklahoma City bombing.

It seems almost like yesterday.

And for me, it’s personal.

My wife Janna is from Oklahoma. A lot of our family lives there. And the church we got married in—St. Joseph Old Cathedral—was damaged in the bombing.

But more important than that, we lost 168 Americans that day.

It was the worst terrorist attack on our soil until September 11.

We can never get them back. But we can always honor their memory.

So I’ll be praying for the victims and their families this year—as a show of solidarity.

I hope the whole country does too.

Because, despite the tragedy of that fateful day, I want the people of Oklahoma to know that we stand with you.

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Puerto Rico: "Progress, not a bailout"

2016/04/19

This week, the Committee on Natural Resources is incorporating additional member input into legislation to address Puerto Rico’s financial crisis. Rather than a bailout, this bill protects taxpayers from one. It gives Congress a chance to bring order to the chaos by addressing debt restructuring in a fair and systematic way before large-scale defaults occur.

A Puerto Rico rescue would be progress, not a bailout. Mr. Ryan and his committee chairmen, working with the Obama administration, are closer than ever to producing a bill — certainly closer than those familiar with the usual congressional dysfunction might have expected. A draft measure proposes a mechanism by which the island could restructure its obligations in cooperation with creditors and, crucially, with diminished opportunities for a minority of “holdouts” to block agreements satisfactory to most. It would establish a financial control board similar to the one that helped bring the District back from financial near-death in the 1990s. The proposed design of the board includes a number of provisions that respect and protect the legitimate prerogatives of the island’s legislature and governor, while ensuring that they would not be able to prevent necessary fiscal reforms imposed by the board. Importantly, the bill would present Puerto Rico with a tough but realistic goal — four straight years of balanced budgets — which, once achieved, would release it from board control.” (Washington Post)

 “Groups allied with the island’s creditors have ramped up a lobbying blitz to undermine the bill by characterizing it as a bailout even though it wouldn’t require any taxpayer dollars . . . .'You’ve got all these ads saying this is a bailout. There’s no taxpayer money going to it,' said Rep. Raul Labrador (R., Idaho), who said he spoke at last Friday’s closed-door meeting of House GOP lawmakers and was leaning in favor of the legislation. 'My fear, and I think it’s a pretty well-founded fear, is that if we don’t give them the tools, there will be a bailout request because they’re going to go under.'" (Wall Street Journal)

 “Add Grover Norquist to the list of conservative figures who aren’t buying some of the arguments against the emerging congressional aid package for Puerto Rico. . . . the Americans for Tax Reform president downplayed rhetoric that the bill, H.R. 4900, constitutes a bailout for San Juan. ‘My understanding is that there’s no federal dollars flowing as part of this,” he said. ‘My sense is that the House is on track, in the right direction.’”(Morning Consult)

 “Republican backers and detractors of the measure emerged from a closed-door meeting agreeing that depictions of the measure as a taxpayer bailout of the island are false . . . [Rep] Duffy said he believed that leaders have adequately debunked assertions in television some outside groups’ attack ads that the measure is a “bailout.” He said that the bill does not include any taxpayer liability -- 'no money that goes to the Puerto Rican debt.'" (Bloomberg Government)

Speaker Ryan made it clear last week: “My number one priority as Speaker of the House with respect to this issue is to keep the American taxpayer away from this. There will be no taxpayer bailout.” He continued, “That is our primary responsibility—to protect the American taxpayer and to help bring order to the chaos that will befall Puerto Rico if the status quo continues in the direction that it’s going.”

Related:

1.      VERIFIED: House Bill Protects Taxpayers from Bailout, Requires Tough Choices from Puerto Rico

2.      Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation 

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Contact Information

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

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

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