Speaker of the House

Paul Ryan

Puerto Rico Bill Heads to President’s Desk

2016/06/29

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement after the Senate passed the bipartisan Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA):

“I am pleased that the Senate has passed PROMESA, the result of months of work by the House. This bipartisan legislation addresses the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico while protecting American taxpayers from a bailout of the territory. The legislation creates an oversight board that will institute the necessary reforms so Puerto Rico can begin to turn its economy around and get on a path to fiscal health. Congress has fulfilled our constitutional obligation and I urge President Obama to sign PROMESA immediately.”

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Businesses are right to be wary about Iran

2016/06/29

What if I told you about a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity in a centrally located emerging market? If you hurry, you can beat out the competition and be one of the first investors on the ground there.

The catch? Well, the country may dabble in terrorism. Actually, it may be the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. And it may have one of the worst human-rights records of any nation in modern history.

We’re talking, of course, about Iran—a country with a rich cultural heritage dating back many centuries, but one under the oppressive grip of a brutal, theocratic regime. It’s a regime that hangs gay people. And imprisons innocent Americans. And threatens the annihilation of Israel. And denies the Holocaust. And sponsors terrorist organizations around the globe. And it’s a regime bent on acquiring nuclear weapons while pursuing intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Over the past decade, this behavior has prompted strong backlash from Congress in the form of crippling economic sanctions. The nuclear deal struck last summer—against the will of the American people and their elected representatives—lifted nuclear-related sanctions, but promised to keep in place those related to Iran’s human rights abuses and terror financing. In some instances, however, the line between nuclear and non-nuclear sanctions is blurred, causing confusion as to what business is now permitted.      As a result, foreign banks and companies are hesitant to reenter the Iranian marketplace. So now Secretary Kerry, under mounting pressure from Tehran, is embarking on an overseas tour to declare Iran open for business.

A report last month entitled “John Kerry’s Awkward Push for Investment in Iran” explains that the secretary of state “has negotiated himself into the odd position of explaining to Western banks how they can do business in Iran.”

It’s not going well. According to the Associated Press, “The Obama administration’s calls for restoring global business ties with Iran are falling flat in Europe, where risk-averse banks told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry they don’t believe they can do business in the Islamic Republic without triggering U.S. sanctions.”

Moreover, earlier this month Secretary Kerry’s own State Department released its annual report on state sponsors of terrorism, which says that “Iran remained the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2015, providing a range of support, including financial, training, and equipment, to grounds around the world—particularly Hizballah.”

In addition, just last week, the Financial Action Task Force—an international organization that sets standards for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing—decided to keep Iran on its list of “high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions.” So while Secretary Kerry is encouraging banks to do business in Iran, neutral third parties continue to “remain concerned with the terrorist financing risk emanating from Iran and the threat this poses to the international financial system.”

It’s important to keep in mind that the nuclear deal in no way, shape, or form obligates the U.S. government, much less the secretary of state himself, to lobby foreign banks or companies to do business with Iran. This effort by Secretary Kerry, along with the administration’s recent purchase of nuclear materials from Iran’s nuclear program, is just another unprecedented concession to Tehran.

As Speaker Ryan said this week, “Where does President Obama’s nuclear agreement state that Secretary Kerry must serve as Iran’s chief salesman? The fact remains that Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Until that changes, businesses are right to be wary about reentering the Iranian marketplace.”

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It’s time to rethink our foster care system.

2016/06/29

Every year, an estimated 265,000 children are removed from their homes by welfare officials, thrown into a foster care system that often isn’t prepared to welcome them. Every one of those 265,000 children represents a family torn apart: parents who won’t raise them; siblings who won’t grow up together.

It’s a severe—and often unnecessary—measure to take when there are other solutions available. Enter the Family First Prevention Services Act, introduced by Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida.

This bill would allow states to use federal foster care dollars to pay for family services, preventing the need for foster care for some and keeping more families together.

It would provide funding for evidence-based services to prevent child abuse and neglect—in other words, make sure there are real, substantive reasons for a child to be removed. 

And, when foster care is the best option, this bill would ensure foster children are placed in appropriate, family settings—not group homes or communal facilities.

By providing evidence-based prevention services, we can work to keep children out of foster care who don’t have to be. We can reduce the number of inappropriate group housing placements—meaning more family-friendly, pre-vetted homes, ready to welcome their foster children with open arms. And most importantly, we can reduce the risks of substance abuse and homelessness and ensure America’s children grow up in safe, healthy environments.

That’s why, this month, the bill passed both the Ways and Means Committee and the House on a bipartisan basis, to the satisfaction of dozens of organizations across the country:

The Children’s Defense Fund said this bill “takes historic and long overdue steps to direct federal child welfare dollars to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families.”

Generations United applauded that it “offers relatives the support they need to keep children out of foster care and help them strive.”

It “expand[s] the availability of such services and reflects the reality that many families, including adoptive families, need targeted, effective services to meet their children’s needs and prevent foster care entry,” said the North American Council on Adoptable Children.

As Rep. Buchanan said, breaking up families should be a last resort—and this bill will help make it so.

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Senate Democrats Block Funding for Veterans & Zika Response

2016/06/28

This is ridiculous. Senate Dems just blocked resources to help #veterans & stop #Zika. https://t.co/tf75WLDyW9 pic.twitter.com/Fpm17WEeLh

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 28, 2016

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement after Senate Democrats voted to block needed resources to help our veterans and stop the spread of the Zika virus: “This is ridiculous. Senate Democrats, after demanding Zika funding for months and supporting this exact funding level for weeks, now block it to create a political issue. Putting politics before a public health crisis is about as irresponsible as it gets. So much for all those lectures about doing your job.” 

NOTE: Today, Senate Democrats voted to block the following:

  • Needed resources to stop the spread of the Zika virus. This plan makes $1.1 billion more available to address the Zika crisis. This is the same level of funding that previously passed the Senate with unanimous support from Democrats. And by using unspent or unobligated resources, the legislation includes a mix of responsible offsets at the House-passed level. 
  • Critical resources to help our veterans. This plan includes funding for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs, including additional funding to address the VA’s health care shortages and wait times.
  • Additional health care resources. Despite claims that this plan is an "attack on women's health," it does not prohibit any birth control services. It actually increases funding for community health centers, public health departments, and hospitals. 
  • Temporary and targeted mosquito control measures. This plan permits the use of certain pesticides to control the mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus. Despite claims it “endangers clean water protections,” this is a temporary and targeted measure: it is for mosquito control and Zika prevention only, and it expires in 180 days.
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Speaker Ryan on the Benghazi Committee's Report

2016/06/28

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today released a video announcing the publication of the final report from the Select Committee on Benghazi.

"Trey Gowdy and the Benghazi Committee have been working hard to get the truth for the American people. They just released their report, and I encourage you to read it for yourself. "The report contains a significant amount of new information, about what happened before, during, and after the terrorist attack that left four of our fellow citizens dead. "By interviewing more than 80 witnesses who had never before been questioned by Congress, and obtaining more than 75,000 pages of new documents, the committee was able to issue a report that finally provides answers for the families of the victims and for all Americans. It makes clear that officials in Washington failed our men and women on the ground when they were in need of help. And the report makes key recommendations for how we can prevent such a tragedy from happening again.         "We must ensure that those who hold positions of responsibility do better for the men and women who serve in harm’s way.

"To read the report, go to benghazi.house.gov."

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Speaker Ryan Calls for Free Trade Agreement with UK after Brexit

2016/06/27

Following last week’s referendum vote in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, Speaker Ryan has said that the special relationship between our two nations will endure. To demonstrate that commitment, the speaker is calling on the United States, in parallel with its negotiations with Europe, to pursue a free trade agreement with the UK, once it has formally separated from the EU. He made these comments in interviews Friday with Wisconsin media. 

Speaking with Mike Gousha on WISN, the speaker said:

"Number one, we need to emphasize that they are our indispensable ally, we have a special relationship, and I think that does mean we should have a trade agreement with England – with Great Britain. That is something we should begin discussions with Great Britain to ease concerns so that we do have a smooth trade relationship with Great Britain because they are our indispensable ally. And we need to show our solidarity. . . . Obviously it takes time to do something like this, but I think it is something we should be working on.”

And later, on WBEL with Mike Daly, the speaker made the following call for a trade agreement:

“We would probably want to put together our own trade agreement with Great Britain, which would be easier to do actually. We’re in talks with Europe on something we call TTIP, but I think we should do a parallel track of Great BritainUnited Kingdom, excuse meUnited Kingdom trade agreement while we talk with Europe about TTIP. It’s very important that we maintain our very strong alliance with England. They are a special relationship—[a] very, very indispensable ally. Trade with England is very big between our two countries and very beneficial for our two countries, not like some of the other countries we’ve had problems with. . . you would not put England in that kind of category. . . . I think we should make sure that our trading relationship is stable, so that our respective economies are not affected but actually improved."

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Experts Praise A Better Way to Do Tax Reform

2016/06/27

Aim big. Go bold. Tackle the big things so we can restore a Confident America. That’s what A Better Way is all about, and no plank of the plan may represent this vision better than tax reform. Make it so that most Americans can do their taxes on a form so simple it could fit on a postcard. Cut taxes on the people who hire workers so they can hire more of them and grow our economy. And bust up the IRS so it serves the taxpayers, and only the taxpayers.

Don’t take our word for it. Here’s a glimpse at what the experts are saying:

  • “SHOWS HOW FAR THE PARTY HAS COME.” “House Republicans’ new tax plans shows how far the party has come on tax reform in recent years. . . . The Task Force’s plan identifies and address the key problems in our tax code—moving towards a consumption-based system by reducing double taxation on American families’ savings and investments, unshackling small businesses from high pass-through rates, allowing all businesses to fully expense new investments, and instituting a territorial system for international businesses, all while lowering rates across the board” (Michael Needham, Heritage Action)
  • A CLEAR AND DRAMATIC PATH.” “The Republican blueprint for tax reform is a clear and dramatic path to strong economic growth and job creation. When enacted it will steer America on a sharp U-turn from our present road to serfdom. America cannot limp along on its weak and weakening ‘recovery’ — with this blueprint the path is clear. The blueprint is completely consistent with the Taxpayer Protection Pledge a majority of the members of congress have signed promising the American people that they will oppose and vote against any net tax hike.” (Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform)
  • “SOUND, COMPREHENSIVE REFORM.” “…the Republican leadership in Congress has shown not merely the interest, but a serious commitment to sound, comprehensive reform as evidenced most recently by the tax reform white paper released today by Chairman Brady. The proposal outlined by Chairman Brady includes the essentials of a comprehensive tax reform proposal, including for example substantial corporate and pass-thru business rate reduction, expensing of business investment, and moving to a territorial tax system.” (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
  • “A BOLD PATH.” “The time is long overdue for tax simplicity and relief for our nation’s entrepreneurs and small businesses. The poor economic recovery is a signal that policies must enable more risk-taking and investment, and entrepreneurs must be a top priority in order to have strong and sustainable growth. The GOP tax plan offers a bold path for getting our economy and small businesses back on a strong footing. A simple tax system, with competitive rates and strong investment incentives is good for everyone in our economy, especially our entrepreneurs and individuals who want to pursue their dream of starting a business.” (Karen Kerrigan, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council)
  • “FLATTER, FAIRER, AND SIMPLER.” “The House plan lays the groundwork for a new tax code that is flatter, fairer and simpler. It proposes a system so straightforward that Americans will be able to file their taxes on a postcard. It reins in and restructures the out-of-control Internal Revenue Service. It encourages investment and innovation for small businesses. I commend my colleague Chairman Brady and all of the tax reform task force members for their work developing this much needed vision for tax reform.” (Chairman Bill Flores, Republican Study Committee)
  • “THE TOUCHSTONE OF THE WHOLE EFFORT.” “Today’s [plan] is in many ways the touchstone of the whole effort: tax reform. The plan is, as the report boldly proclaims, “Built for Growth.” But it wisely does so in a way that doesn’t forget middle class working families struggling to get by, and in a way that passes a basic test of common sense and practicality. Rarely has a tax plan been this laser focused on getting every last drop out of potential economic growth, capital formation, and job creation. All the basic markers are here.” (Ryan Ellis, Conservative Reform Network)
  • “AN ECONOMIC IMPERATIVE.” “Comprehensive tax reform is an economic imperative, and we applaud the Speaker for committing to the basic goals of lower permanent rates and simplification. We’re also very pleased that the plan includes several very important priorities for small business owners, including repeal of the AMT, repeal of the Estate Tax, and full expensing.” (National Federation of Independent Business)
  • “KEY COMPONENTS TO LEADING THE DIGITAL ECONOMY.” “While there are key details that still need to be flushed out, recognizing that our companies need a lower corporate rate, incentives for innovation, and a territorial system are key components to leading the digital economy in the decades to come. We thank Speaker Ryan and Chairman Brady for moving the process forward with the blueprint and hope it sparks a productive conversation.” (Information Technology Industry Council)
  • A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH.” “The Blueprint you have released today outlines a thoughtful approach to tax reform that would greatly benefit the individuals, families, and businesses that are hampered by a broken tax code. Tax reform was last passed three decades ago and our code is woefully uncompetitive, overly complex, and out of date. It urgently needs to be fixed, and the working group’s Blueprint ensures this issue remains center stage.” (Coalition Letter including National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Conservative Reform Network, 60 Plus Association, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Americans for Prosperity, R Street Institute, Rio Grande Foundation)
  • “A STRONGLY PRO-GROWTH TAX SYSTEM.” “If Congress follows the architecture the blueprint lays out, it will create a strongly pro-growth tax system that will create jobs, raise wages, and increase opportunity for American families at all income levels. . . . These reforms will boost the economy because they will increase the incentive for families to work and save. Although it would be better to eliminate capital gains and dividends taxes altogether, the lower rates will reduce the double taxation of business investment and therefore be beneficial.” (Curtis Dubay, Heritage Foundation)
  • “A BLUEPRINT THAT FOCUSES ON SAVINGS.” “Brady and his staff did extensive outreach to think tank experts and the GOP caucus, and they have come up with a blueprint that focuses on savings, investment, simplification, and economic growth. . . . The GOP plan would cut the top personal income tax rate from 40 percent to 33 percent, while consolidating the bracket structure from 7 rates to 3. The plan would reduce the top tax rate on small businesses to 25 percent, and it would repeal the estate tax and alternative minimum tax.” (Chris Edwards, CATO Institute)
  • “WILL PROMOTE SMALL BUSINESS EXPANSION.” “The Family Business Coalition supports your ‘A Better Way’ tax reform plan which will promote small business expansion and job growth. The current tax code puts family businesses, America’s main job creating engines, at a competitive disadvantage to public owned corporations. . . . Family businesses need a tax code that protects them and encourages them to grow and thrive in their communities. Your tax reform proposal is ‘A Better Way’ for family businesses and their employees and we look forward to working with you to implement these pro-growth reforms.” (Family Business Coalition)
  • “MOVE THE CONVERSATION FORWARD.” “The National Restaurant Association supports comprehensive tax reform that addresses both individual and business taxes. Many restaurant owners pay individual tax rates, including sole proprietors and owners who pay taxes on income that comes through partnerships, S corps, LLCs, and other flow-through entities. Corporate reforms alone won’t help an industry as diverse as the restaurant industry. Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction to move the conversation forward on comprehensive tax reform.” (National Restaurant Association)
  • “A NECESSARY CORNERSTONE OF ANY SERIOUS TAX REFORM PLAN.” “We in the RATE Coalition are pleased to see that the House GOP’s Tax Reform Blueprint includes a reduction in the corporate rate. This is a necessary cornerstone of any serious tax reform plan and will go a long way to improving the American economy and making American businesses more competitive in the world. The blueprint is the first step in the long-overdue process of reforming our outdated tax code.” (RATE Coalition)
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The Freedom of Information

2016/06/27

The House Republican plan for A Better Way offers a clear and compelling choice for America's future, but that doesn't mean you have to wait to start seeing results. That future starts now.

Just last week, Speaker Ryan signed the FOIA Improvement Act (S.337), sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) in the House, which will make it harder than ever for the federal government to withhold information from the public. It's simply a better way to do business in Washington, and this meaningful legislation to hold Washington accountable now heads to the president's desk to become law.

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The things we stand up for

2016/06/24

A lot happened this week. Think about it...

  • On Monday, at the urging of Speaker Ryan and others, the FBI reversed course and released the full, unredacted transcript of the Orlando shooter’s 911 call. Because we need to be clear-eyed about who did this, and why.
  • On Tuesday, in a rejection of executive overreach, a federal judge ruled that the government can't regulate hydraulic fracturing. Speaker Ryan said that the ruling “protects the energy revolution from the heavy hand of big government.” Of course, there's a better way to grow our economy
  • On Wednesday, Republicans released  a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare with a step-by-step approach to give every American access to quality, affordable care. It's the fifth plank of A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of our country's biggest challenges.
  • On Thursday morning, the House overcame a publicity stunt to pass a House-Senate plan to address the Zika crisis. It includes funding at the level of the Senate bill with a mix of responsible offsets. Given the urgency, we hope Senate Democrats will rise above politics to help us get this done.
  • Also on Thursday, a Supreme Court ruling blocked the president's executive amnesty. This followed an unprecedented move by the House to file an amicus brief setting forth why only Congress—not the president—can write laws. This is a big win for the Constitution and the separation of powers.
  • And on Friday, Republicans unveiled the sixth and final plank of A Better Way. It’s a pro-growth blueprint for a simpler, fairer tax code. How simple? Well, most Americans would be able to do their taxes on a form as simple as a postcard. And our plan busts up the IRS so that its focus is on serving taxpayers first and always.

That's not all. Also this week, we sent more bipartisan legislation to the president’s desk. That includes the Recovering Missing Children Act, an initiative authored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) that would make it easier for investigators to locate abducted children.

And this is the Speaker signing the Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act. The VA found that, from 2000 to 2010, the suicide rate for women veterans increased by 40 percent. This bill would improve our ability to get women veterans the help they need.

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Speaker Ryan Names Two to Top Roles in the House

2016/06/24

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today announced the appointments of two distinguished attorneys to positions that are critical to the function and operation of the House. 

  • Mr. Thomas Hungar, a graduate of Yale Law School and former Deputy Solicitor General of the United States, will serve as General Counsel of the House of Representatives, leading the Office of General Counsel.
  • Mr. Ernest Ballou, Jr., a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and highly regarded, 30-year veteran of legislative drafting, will serve as the House’s Legislative Counsel, leading the Office of Legislative Counsel. 
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Speaker Ryan: ‘This is what our country needs. This is A Better Way.’

2016/06/24

WASHINGTON — Today, House Republicans launched the sixth and final plank of their #BetterWay agenda—fair, simple, pro-growth tax reform. Joined by Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and other committee members, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following remarks as prepared for delivery this morning at the roll out event: “Thank you very much. First, I want to say just how proud I am of my colleagues. They have done outstanding work over the past six months. They have put together a serious, principled agenda for 2017. And this tax-reform plan is no exception.

“The way I’d sum it up is: We want a tax code that works for the taxpayers—not the tax collectors. We want to make it simpler, flatter, fairer. Bring the number of tax brackets down from 7 to 3. Lower rates for everybody. Bring the top rate down to 33 percent. Close those special-interest loopholes. Consolidate those deductions and credits. Make it so simple that the average American can do their taxes on a postcard, and that the average IRS agent can understand it.

“But more than that, we want to make America the best place in the world to do business. Cut taxes on small business. Lower their top rate to 25 percent. Cut our corporate tax rate—which is the highest in the industrialized world—from 35 to 20 percent. Stop taxing people when they bring money into our country. Stop taxing new investments. Don’t punish people for saving and investing. Reward them.

“All these things will grow our economy, create jobs, and raise wages right here in America.

“And finally, the IRS needs to get its act together. It needs to put taxpayers first. So we streamline the IRS. Install a new commissioner. Clear out the bureaucracy. And update their technology so taxpayers get the help—and the privacy—they deserve.

“All these things will fix our tax code. And all six parts of our agenda will get our country back on track.

“I think it’s good to remember why we started this project. We did it because we are living in a very uncertain time. Seventy percent of Americans don’t like the direction the country is going in. And neither do we.

“But the way we saw it, that meant we had an obligation to offer an alternative. What we are doing is offering the country a better way. “A better way to lift people out of poverty, to keep America safe, to grow our economy, to protect self-government, to fix our health care. And now, a better way to fix our tax code. If you want to learn more about all six parts of our plan, go to our website: better.gop. “To close, I want say how I see the moment we’re in: We are going into a global economy that’s faster than anything we’ve seen before. One part of the country is OK with this. Another is more skeptical. “They’re wondering, ‘How are we going to preserve our values? How are we going to preserve opportunity for all of our people? How are we going to keep America strong?’ “Or really, the question is, are we going to shape the global economy? Or is it going to shape us? I think, with this plan, America can once again take the lead.

“With this plan, everyone in our country—the anxious and the eager, the Old America and the New America—can unite and build a confident America.

“With this plan, we can take our founding principles—liberty, free enterprise, government by consent—and bring them to life in the 21st century.

“With this plan, we can turn this country around and expand opportunity for all Americans.

“This is what our country needs. This is a better way. Thank you very much.”

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A Better Way to Do Tax Reform

2016/06/24

WASHINGTON—Today, at a U.S. Capitol press conference, House Republicans unveiled a pro-growth blueprint for tax reform. It is our vision for a Confident America in which most Americans can do their taxes on a form as simple as a postcard. This is the sixth plank of A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of our country’s biggest challenges.Our plan—available now at better.gop—is based on three pillars:

  • Simplicity and fairness. Our plan makes the tax code simpler, fairer, and flatter, so that it’s not only easier to do your taxes, but it’s also easier to have peace of mind at critical moments in life.
  • Jobs and growth. Our plan makes it easier to create jobs, raise wages, and expand opportunity for all Americans.
  • Service first IRS. Our plan matches a simpler, fairer tax code with a simpler, fairer IRS that puts taxpayers first.

These ideas were developed by the Task Force on Tax Reform, led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX).About A Better Way. A Better Way is a bold policy agenda to address some of the country’s biggest challenges. It takes our timeless principles—liberty, free enterprise, consent of the governed—and applies them to the problems of our time. Developed with input from around the country, it starts the debate now on what we can achieve in 2017 and beyond. It is our vision for a Confident America, at home and abroad. Now we are taking these ideas to the people, so you have a clear choice about the direction of the country. Previously released plans include:

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Statement on Brexit

2016/06/24

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

“I respect the decision made by the people of the United Kingdom. The UK is an indispensable ally of the United States, and that special relationship is unaffected by this vote.”

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‘A comprehensive overhaul of the health care system’: Praise for A Better Way to Fix Health Care

2016/06/23

Republicans have put forward a plan containing more than 48 ideas to repeal and replace Obamacare with a system in which every American has access to quality, affordable health care. This is the fifth plank of A Better Way—a bold agenda to tackle some of our country’s biggest challenges.

Here is a look at what experts around the country are saying about our plan:

“In sum, the plan would be a very large net tax cut from current law. The plan is also designed to be a net spending cut and a net deficit cut from current law. That’s the triple crown for limited government conservatives.” (Ryan Ellis, Conservative Reform Network)

“Today, House Republicans unveiled their blueprint for patient-centered health care reform. The proposal includes several policy recommendations and conservatives priorities promoted by the Republican Study Committee (RSC). . . . The shared priorities between the RSC’s policy recommendations on private insurance market reforms and the House’s health care proposal include: Repealing Obamacare. . . . Reforming the Market to Improve Choice. . . . Expanding Consumer-Directed Health Care. . . . Protecting Those with Pre-Existing Conditions. . . . [and] Protecting Life.” (Chairman Bill Flores, Republican Study Committee)

“The House Republican Health Care Task Force’s report shows that Republicans understand that a better health care system requires the repeal of Obamacare. Admirably, it proposes a number of patient-centered reforms to the employer and individual market, as well as a fundamental rethinking of the health entitlement programs—Medicare and Medicaid—that are driving our country deeper into debt and failing seniors and low income Americans.” (Michael Needham, Heritage Action)

“The core of the new proposal is structured around the long-proclaimed GOP goal to ‘repeal and replace’ the president’s Affordable Care Act. By eliminating the ‘knot of regulations, taxes and mandates’ ushered in by Obamacare, and instead focusing on a ‘patient-centered reform’ approach, Republican lawmakers plan to foster an environment in which individuals would no longer be forced into an ill-fitting insurance plan, according to a draft of the new agenda. Rather, the GOP health plan would create a system in which insurance companies would compete against each other to offer the most affordable and expansive coverage to citizens.” (Evan Smith, Opportunity Lives)

“A Better Way proposal on health care is a welcome policy agenda to tackle some of the biggest challenges for employers and employees under the Affordable Care Act. . . . Any relief from the employer mandate will empower the economic engine driven by America’s restaurant industry. We look forward to working with Congress as these proposals develop.” (Robin Goracke, National Restaurant Association)

“Notably, the Ryan plan is not merely a replacement for Obamacare, but instead strives to be a comprehensive overhaul of the health care system. Good, because so many parts of government health care need improvement. . . . We ought to commend Paul Ryan and his team for putting pen to paper, and for being willing to be held accountable for their ideas. They’ve done the country an important service.” (Avik Roy, Forbes)

This is a major step forward. Republicans are endorsing a vision of health care in which people can make their own decisions, manage more of their own health care in which people can make their own decisions, manage more of their own health care dollars and reap the benefits of competition in the marketplace. The ultimate goal should be to treat everyone the same. People should get the same tax relief regardless of where they obtain their insurance—at work, in the marketplace or in an exchange.” (John Goodman, Goodman Institute of Public Policy Research)

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An Update on the House’s Work

2016/06/23

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) opened his weekly on-camera press briefing by providing an update on the House’s work on behalf of the American people:

“One of the things that makes our country strong is our institutions. No matter how bad things get in this country, we have a basic structure that ensures a functioning democracy. We can disagree on policy, but we do so within the bounds of order and respect for the system. Otherwise it all falls apart.

“I’m not going to dwell on the decorum of the House here today, other than to say we are not going to allow stunts like this to stop us from carrying out the people’s business. Why do I call this a stunt? Well, because it is one... Let’s just be honest here. Here are some facts:

“Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee considered its bill for Homeland Security spending. At the committee, Democrats offered in committee an amendment offering the gun measure they say they wanted. That amendment failed on a bipartisan basis. So just yesterday, the Democrats offered this gun measure they claim they want, and it failed on a bipartisan basis in committee. There was a vote, it was in the committee, through regular order, and the vote failed. That’s a fact they didn’t want to talk about.

“Here’s another one: if Democrats want a vote for a bill on the floor, there is a way to get one. It just takes 218 signatures on a petition, and they can have a vote. It is that simple. That’s how the House works—it’s a well-known process.

“But they’re not doing that. They are not trying to actually get this done through regular order. No, instead they’re staging protests. They’re trying to get on TV. They are sending out fundraising solicitations, like this one: Your contribution will go to the DCCC. Fifteen dollars. This one says, try giving us $25. But if you want, you can send us $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000. Because look at what we’re doing on the House floor. Send us money.

“If this is not a political stunt, then why are they trying to raise money off of this—off of a tragedy?

“What they’re calling for failed in a committee in the House. The reason I call this a stunt is because they know this isn’t going anywhere. It already failed in the Senate.

“They may not like this fact, but this bill couldn’t even get 50 votes in the United States Senate, let alone 60. Why is that? Why is it that this bill failed on a bipartisan basis in committee and this bill failed on a bipartisan basis in the Senate? Because in this country we do not take away people’s constitutional rights without due process.

“This is not just Republicans saying this. It’s groups like the ACLU who are saying this.

“But more to the point, our focus needs to be on confronting radical extremism. Terrorism is the issue. Let me say it again—terrorism is the issue. And defeating terrorism is our focus here in the House.  

“So let me be really clear: we are not going take away the constitutional rights of law abiding Americans. And we’re not going to allow publicity stunts to stop us from doing our job. 

“That’s why the House powered ahead last night to provide important resources in the fight against the Zika virus. One of our must do items on our list this week was that we had to respond to the Zika virus. We know that this is something that we have to get on top of. And in the face of this distraction, we passed a responsible bill that provides the level of funding that was in the Senate bill—that received a big bipartisan vote—with a mix of offsets that we in the House thought were very important. This is a good compromise, it meets an urgent need, and I urge the Senate to take it up and pass it.

“Now, Democrats can talk all they want—I’m really not sure what their plan or end game is here—but the bottom line is despite these distractions, we did our job. We did the people’s business. And we will continue to do so.

“One more point I want to bring up. I want to say a word on the Supreme Court ruling that we just got that halts the president’s executive amnesty. “This is a win for the Constitution, it’s a win for Congress, and it’s a win in our fight to restore the separation of powers. Presidents don’t write laws—Congress writes laws. This is a case that the House weighed in on because it is fundamental to our system of checks and balances. Congress, not the president, writes our laws, and today the Supreme Court validated that very core, essential, fundamental principle.”

Why do I call this a publicity stunt? Because it is. If not, why are Democrats trying to raise money off it?https://t.co/zryXADvUdw

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 23, 2016
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Speaker Ryan on United States v. Texas Decision

2016/06/23

BREAKING NEWS: The court just ruled. President Obama's use of executive action to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants is now null and void.

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, June 23, 2016

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision in United States v. Texas, which upholds the lower court’s decision that the president’s use of executive action to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants is unlawful:

“Today, Article I of the Constitution was vindicated. The Supreme Court’s ruling makes the president’s executive action on immigration null and void. The Constitution is clear: The president is not permitted to write laws—only Congress is. This is another major victory in our fight to restore the separation of powers.”

Background

On January 19, the Supreme Court agrees to hear United States v. Texas, but adds its own question for the parties to consider: Did the president’s actions violate his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”?

On March 1, Speaker Ryan announces that he will ask the House, as an institution uniquely qualified to answer the Court’s question, to vote on a resolution authorizing him to file a brief defending Article I: “The president is not permitted to write law—only Congress is.” 

On March 17the House adopts H. Res. 639, authorizing Speaker Ryan to file a brief. Speaking on the floor shortly before the vote, Ryan says, “Members who are making immigration policy arguments are missing the entire point here. This comes down to a much more fundamental question. It is about the integrity of our Constitution.”

On April 4the House files its brief, setting forth why Congress—and only Congress—is empowered to write the laws.

On April 8, the Supreme Court grants the House’s request for 15 minutes of time during oral arguments. Erin Murphy, partner at Bancroft, PLLC will argue on behalf of the House, which is being represented pro bono in this matter.

On April 18, the House of Representatives presented its oral argument to the Supreme Court.

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House Passes Bicameral Plan to Address Zika Crisis

2016/06/23

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after the House passed the final conference report for the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Zika Response Appropriations Act:

“This is a significant step forward in the fight against Zika. It is a responsible plan that assures the administration will continue to have the needed resources to protect the public. Given the urgency of the Zika threat, I hope Senate Democrats will rise above politics so we can get this done.”

 

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Statement Welcoming Progress on Zika and Veterans Affairs Funding

2016/06/23

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement regarding the House-Senate conference report for the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Zika Response Appropriations Act: “This is important progress in our efforts to protect Americans from the Zika virus. With this additional funding—on top of what we have already allocated—the administration will continue to have the needed resources to address the Zika threat. Moreover, this measure holds the VA accountable for every dollar it spends so that more veterans get the care they need when they need it. I commend Chairman Rogers and the members of the conference committee for putting together a responsible plan. Now we need to get this bill to the president’s desk.”

Congress made important progress today—through regular order—to protect Americans from the #ZikaVirus. https://t.co/H2uUITuymc

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 23, 2016
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Speaker Ryan on CNN: ‘This is a publicity stunt’

2016/06/22

Tonight, Speaker Ryan joined CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, where he dismissed Democrats’ dilatory tactics on the House floor as "nothing more than a publicity stunt."

This Is a Publicity Stunt “This is nothing more than a publicity stunt. That’s point number one. Point number two is this bill was already defeated in the United States Senate. Number three, we’re not going to take away a citizen’s due process rights. We’re not going to take away a citizen’s constitutional rights without due process. That was already defeated in the Senate. And this is not the way to try and bring up legislation.”

The Real Issue Here Is Terrorism “Now, let’s focus on the issue at hand here: terrorism. And let’s find out what we need to do to prevent future terrorist attacks. And if a person is on a terror watch list, and they go try and buy a gun, we have procedures in place to deal with that. We want to make sure that those procedures are done correctly. And that is something we should be able to do in a calm and cool manner without these sort of dilatory, publicity-stunt tactics to try and bring a bill that already died over in the Senate to the House floor. That’s not any way to bring a bill to the floor.”

We Must Defend the Constitution “They know we will not bring up a bill that takes away a person’s constitutionally guaranteed rights without their due process. We don’t agree with that, and the Senate already doesn’t agree with that. So I think, look, the point here, Wolf, is this is a publicity stunt. They’re trying to get you to ask me those questions for publicity's sake. This isn’t trying to come up with a solution to a problem. This is trying to get attention.”

The House Rules Are Clear “Look, this is the way the rules work in the House, and they have ever since we had TV. We had a similar protest when we were in the minority in 2008. Not only did the cameras not go on, they turned the lights off on us. This is what you do when you go into recess subject to the call of the chair. These are the House rules, and they’ve been this way for years.”

Retweet if you agree → The sit-in by House Democrats is nothing more than a publicity stunt. #StopTheStunthttps://t.co/YGgl2yLHyB

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 22, 2016
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Speaker Ryan Statement on Rep. Chaka Fattah

2016/06/22

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement calling on Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) to immediately resign from office after being convicted on charges of racketeering, fraud, and money laundering:

"Mr. Fattah has betrayed the trust of this institution and the people of Pennsylvania, and for that he should resign immediately from the House of Representatives. We must hold members to the highest ethical standard, and I hope that Democratic leaders will join me in seeking his immediate resignation."

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Speaker Ryan: 'Our Plan Will Focus on Quality'

2016/06/22

WASHINGTONToday at the American Enterprise Institute, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and chairs of the House Republican Task Force on Health Care unveiled the fifth plank of a #BetterWay—an initiative to replace Obamacare that would ensure American has access to quality, affordable health care. Below are Speaker Ryan’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:  “Thank you, Arthur—and thanks to AEI for hosting us.

“I’m going to cut right to the chase: For six years now, we’ve promised to repeal and replace Obamacare and make health care actually affordable. Well, here it is: a real plan—in black and white—right here. We are officially putting it on the table. The way I see it, if we don’t like the direction the country is going in—and we do not—then we have an obligation to offer an alternative. It is our duty to offer a better way. And that’s what this is.

“I’m going to let our chairmen talk more about the details. They have done tremendous work. I couldn’t be prouder of what they’ve accomplished. But I thought I’d kick things off by summing up the big difference between Obamacare and our plan—because in all honesty it is more than a difference in policy. It is a difference in philosophy.

“If I had to pick the one word that, to me, summed up Obamacare, it would be quantity. The goal was to get as many people insured as possible. Or at least that’s what they say now. They promised a lot more at the time. But the one thing they’ve decided to hang their hat on is this: More people have insurance now than before the law was passed. That’s definitely true.

“But here’s the problem: They expanded coverage by lowering the quality. They made some people pay more so other people could pay less. And what’s been the result? For millions of people, higher premiums. Long wait times. Canceled plans. Families losing their doctors. It was a classic . . . top-down . . . command-and-control . . . Washington-imposed solution. They treated patients—real, flesh-and-blood human beings—like auto parts on an assembly line—interchangeable and insignificant.

“You see it in the way they wrote the law. Employers don’t offer insurance? Make them. Employees won’t buy insurance? Force them. They can’t afford a plan? Put them on Medicaid. The government doesn’t have enough money? Take it from Medicare. If Washington just rearranged the players—if everyone would just fit into their pre-arranged slots—everything would work out just fine.

“Well, it did not work out. Obamacare is fundamentally flawed. That’s why we have to repeal the law—and take a new approach. Which leads me to our plan . . .

“If I had to pick the one word that, to me, summed up our plan, it would be quality. We’re going to give you the tools you need to get the best care possible. And that starts with giving you a choice. Instead of forcing you to buy a plan that Washington bureaucrats have mass-produced, we’re going to repeal those mandates and let you pick a plan that works for you. We’re saying, don’t force people to buy insurance. Make insurance companies compete for our business.

“And yes, we’re going to help you buy insurance. Most people get insurance through their job—and that’s great. For many years we have not taxed their insurance, no matter how expensive it is. But the problem with this open-ended tax break is it encourages businesses to keep buying bigger and bigger benefits. Why not? You’re not getting taxed for it. And as a result, they’re pushing up premiums and health care costs for everyone else.

“So we’re going to keep the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored insurance, but we’re going to cap it at a reasonable level. That will help keep down costs. And then we’re going to use the money we save to offer an individual tax credit for everyone who doesn’t get insurance through their job—with more money for the old and sick. That way, more insurance plans will move with the person—not with the job. That is real heath care security.

“And I should point out: There are real protections in here for the vulnerable and people who need care the most. Our plan protects people with pre-existing conditions. We let young people stay on their parents’ plan till they turn 26. We don’t let insurance companies cancel your plan or charge you more just when you get sick. All these things will give people across America more peace of mind.

“At the same time, we make a lot of commonsense reforms. We say let people buy insurance across state lines. Let small businesses band together to negotiate better insurance deals. Let people use their health-savings accounts for more kinds of purchases. Let’s do major medical liability reform. And I can’t leave out: We give states more flexibility with Medicaid to design a program that works for their people. And we strengthen Medicare for future generations by letting seniors pick their preferred plan, starting in 2024.

“So here’s how I’d sum up the difference. Obamacare focused on quantity—it put the bureaucracy first. Our plan will focus on quality—we will put the patient first. We think that’s the way to go. Before I go, I want to encourage all of you to go to our website—better.gop—and learn more about our plan. And I want to thank you all for coming here today. Thank you very much, everybody.”

 

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Statement on Fracking Ruling

2016/06/22

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement after the U.S. District Court ruled that the Department of the Interior does not have the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing:

“Hydraulic fracturing is one of the keys that has unlocked our nation’s energy resurgence in oil and natural gas, making the United States the largest energy producer in the world, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and lowering energy prices for consumers. Yet the Obama administration has sought to regulate it out of existence. This is not only harmful for the economy and consumers, it’s unlawful—as the court has just ruled. I’ll say it again: Only Congress can write laws. Agencies acting without authority from Congress is simply illegal. I applaud this court ruling, which upholds the Constitution and protects the energy revolution from the heavy hand of big government.” 

Note: Rep. Flores’s legislation, Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, blocks Interior from regulating hydraulic fracturing and upholds states’ right to do so.This legislation is included in House Republicans’ Better Way agenda.

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A Better Way to Fix Health Care

2016/06/22

WASHINGTON—House Republicans today unveiled a plan to replace Obamacare. It is our vision for a Confident America in which every American has access to quality, affordable health care. This is the fifth plank of A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of our country’s biggest challenges.

Our plan—available now at better.gop—offers a better way to fix health care, including:

  • More choices and lower costs. Our plan gives you more control and more choices so that you can pick the plan that meets your needs—not Washington’s mandates.
  • Real protections and peace of mind. Our plan makes sure that you never have to worry about being turned away or having your coverage taken away—regardless of age, income, medical conditions, or circumstances.
  • Cutting-edge cures and treatments. Our plan clears out the bureaucracy to accelerate the development of life-saving devices and therapies.
  • A stronger Medicare. Our plan protects Medicare for today’s seniors and preserves the program for future generations.

Task Force on Health Care Reform. Later today at AEI, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will talk about these ideas alongside members of the Task Force on Health Care Reform, which includes:  Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA), Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), and Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX).

About A Better Way. A Better Way is a bold policy agenda to address some of the country’s biggest challenges. It takes our timeless principles—liberty, free enterprise, consent of the governed—and applies them to the problems of our time. Developed with input from around the country, it starts the debate now on what we can achieve in 2017 and beyond. It is our vision for a Confident America, at home and abroad. Now we are taking these ideas to the people, so you have a clear choice about the direction of the country. Previously released plans include:

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Speaker Ryan: "Keep Moving Ahead" on Congressional Bulk Data

2016/06/21

Congress needs to keep moving ahead by publishing all legislative measures in a standard format. #LDTC16 #opengov pic.twitter.com/gqVUnVPB7f

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 21, 2016

WASHINGTON—Today in the Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) addressed the 2016 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference and praised the work of the Bulk Data Task Force. In his remarks, which are prepared for delivery below, he challenged those fighting on the front lines of the open government movement to "keep moving ahead by publishing all legislative measures in a standard format. That means enrolled measures, public laws, and statues at large."

"Hi, everybody. I wanted to stop by so I could say thank you for everything you’re doing. Truth be told, I don’t really understand everything you’re doing—but I appreciate it nonetheless. Chairman Miller filled me in earlier, and as best as I can follow, you’re trying to figure out, “How do we make the text of our old laws just as accessible as our new laws?” How do we make it so people can read them online . . . search for key words . . . copy and paste extracts? In other words, how do we make it so they can compare and contrast what we’re doing now with what we did before? I think it’s a great idea.

"And we could really use it. Let me give you an example. Two years ago, I became interested in what’s called MIECHV: The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. Basically, the federal government helps states pay for nurses to visit poor mothers and give them advice. What’s really interesting about this program is how it divvies up the funding: Seventy-five percent goes to methods with proven results, while 25 percent goes to new methods that show promise. Frankly, I wish more programs were designed this way. Then we could really see what works and invest in it.

"But more to the point: I recently came across something called the Sheppard-Towner Act. It was signed into law by President Warren Harding—remember him?—in 1921. And, at least on paper, it sounds a lot like MIECHV. The federal government put aside money to help states pay for things like home visits. You can find the text online—if you really look for it. But it’s nowhere near as accessible as it could be. And I just thought to myself: Wouldn’t it be interesting to compare and contrast these two laws? To see what they did right . . . what they did wrong . . . and what we could do better?

"This is why the work you’re doing is so important. In the future, legislators are going to use a lot of the methods that you’re developing—not just to inform the public, but to inform public policy. 

"We’re already heading in that direction: In 2011, when Republicans took the majority, we tried to make the House more open and transparent. We created the Bulk Data Task Force, which helped make more information available in XML—like floor summaries, committee proceedings, and the US Code.

"Now we’re working to go further, and publish even more current and past documents in XML. I've asked our team to keep moving ahead by publishing all legislative measures in a standard format. That means enrolled measures, public laws, and statues at large. We want this data to be as accessible as possible throughout the legislative cycle. 

"Some people are going to say that’s a little obscure—and that’s because it is. But isn’t that why we’re here? To take the obscure and make it open and accessible? The way I see it, we’re part of a tradition, stretching all the way back to the Founders. The minute the House opened its doors to the public—in 1789—we created a culture of honesty.

"And now we’re bringing that tradition into the 21st century. We’re pushing forward the frontiers of transparency. The fact is, all this talk about data and evidence and results, what it all comes down to is two words: the truth. We are trying to find the truth. We want to know “What’s the right thing to do?” And that’s pretty important if you ask me.

"So I want to thank all of you again for having me. I especially want to thank our clerk, Karen Haas, Chairman Miller, and their team for all their hard work. And I want to close by just saying, 'Keep it up.' Thank you very much."

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Speaker Ryan on C-SPAN: These Reforms Are Necessary to Get Our Country Back on Track

2016/06/21

Yesterday afternoon, Speaker Ryan called in to the American institution that is C-SPAN to discuss all things a #BetterWay with host Steve Scully. They covered what planks have been rolled out so far—like poverty and the economy—and those that are still to come—like health care and tax. The whole interview is worth a listen. But, if you don’t have 11 minutes to spare right now, fear not—here are some highlights: “These are the reforms that are necessary to get our country back on track.” For example: We need to move the needle on poverty. “If you stack up a lot of our welfare programs on top of one another, they end up creating what we call a poverty trap—they basically pay people not to work. They discourage work. And so welfare has ended up becoming a work replacement program when it really needs to be a work encouragement program. And so we want to change the way these programs work so that they always encourage work, so that they’re customized to a person’s particular needs, and that we measure success based on our poverty programs—our welfare programs—based on results, based on outcomes.” We also need to reform the tax code. “Later this week, we’re going to be offering a very comprehensive overhaul of our entire tax system. The tax code has grown out of control. The IRS is far too intrusive in people’s lives, and more importantly, we’re losing our economic competitiveness—our edge as a country, as an economy—because of our tax code. So we’re going to be proposing comprehensive tax reform for families [and] small businesses, keeping jobs and businesses in America. And that’s something that I think is one of the crown jewels of our economic growth package.” And we really, really need to replace Obamacare. “Everyone knows Republicans are against Obamacare. We’ve got that part down. What people need to know is that we have good ideas for what we ought to replace it with that reduces the cost of insurance that gives people more choices, that doesn’t create entitlements that bankrupt the country and that gives us a patient-centered system. So we’re going to be offering a comprehensive plan to replace the Affordable Care Act—which has become unaffordable.” These issues and more are part of the six agenda items House Republicans included in a #BetterWay. Why? To unite Republicans. [Our agenda] unites all Republicans and it unites us around common principles and solutions that improve people’s lives that we also think are appealing to people who don’t think of themselves as Republicans. And so this is not only a unifying agenda, it’s a clarifying agenda. We think of this as an agenda that actually attempts to fix the big, pressing problems facing our country that are in urgent need of solutions so that we can go forward with a unified front and offer this agenda to the country.”

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Coming Tomorrow: A Plan to Replace Obamacare

2016/06/21

Two weeks in, and A Better Way has already delivered nearly 250 ideas to get our country back on track.

A better way to fight poverty. A better way to keep America safe. A better way to grow our economy. A better way to do the people’s business. You can get all the details of these plans at better.gop.

A Better Way is about raising our gaze. It’s about going bold. It’s about showing the country what we’re for, and what it will take in the years ahead to restore a Confident America.

The push continues tomorrow, when Republicans will unveil a plan not just to repeal, but also to replace, Obamacare.

Our plan is about more choices, not more mandates. It's about putting patients and doctors first. It’s about the freedom and flexibility to choose the care that’s best for you, and the peace of mind that comes with having coverage you can count on and afford.

That doesn't mean we go back to the pre-Obamacare status quo. And it doesn't mean another overly complex, confusing 3,000-page bill. Our plan lays the foundation for a commonsense, step-by-step approach. There will be new ideas, as well as ideas taken from the hundreds of health care bills Republicans have put forward this Congress.

We know Obamacare has made things worse. Right now, families are being warned to brace for “big increases in premiums.” Remember when the law was going to deliver big decreases in premiums? Instead, Obamacare has driven up costs, limited choices for patients, and buried small businesses in new red tape. And, despite all the promises, it has made an assault on some of our most fundamental liberties.

Surely, there is a better way.

To learn more and sign up for updates, just go to better.gop.

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Statement on Release of Full Orlando Shooter 911 Transcript

2016/06/20

BREAKING: Obama administration reverses course on #Orlando shooter 911 transcript ⇩ https://t.co/NAlSZNFEzS pic.twitter.com/8WDzRrAqYM

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 20, 2016

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement in response to the administration’s decision to reverse course and release the full transcript of the Orlando shooter’s 911 call:

“I am glad that the administration reversed its decision and has now shared the full transcript with the American people. But this should have never been an issue in the first place. The attempt to selectively edit the record reflects a broader, more serious problem: this administration’s continued effort to downplay and distract from the threat of radical Islamist extremism. This is unacceptable. To defeat terrorism we have to be clear-eyed about whom we’re fighting.”

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Statement on Release of Orlando Shooter 911 Transcript

2016/06/20

The president should reverse his administration's decision to censor the #Orlando shooter's 911 transcript ⇩ pic.twitter.com/8ZTp3NHkc6

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 20, 2016

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today called on President Obama to reverse his administration's decision to censor references to ISIS from the Orlando shooter's 911 call transcript:

“Selectively editing this transcript is preposterous. We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS. We also know he intentionally targeted the LGBT community. The administration should release the full, unredacted transcript so the public is clear-eyed about who did this, and why."

RT if you agree → The Obama admin should release the full, unredacted transcript of the #Orlando shooter's 911 call. pic.twitter.com/DAebXksTb7

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 20, 2016
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Speaker Ryan Discusses A Better Way on Meet the Press

2016/06/20

“Go to better.gop.” No, really—you should. Speaker Ryan agrees.

On better.gop, House Republicans are showing you what our better way looks like. It means raising our gaze. It means going bold. It means not settling for the status quo.

It’s a full slate of ideas to address some of America’s biggest challenges—like strengthening our national security, supercharging the economy, and fighting poverty, among other things. The first four planks of the agenda are available here. Go ahead, look around.

To discuss why he launched this initiative, Speaker Ryan sat down with Chuck Todd for an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press:

“As speaker of the House what I can control is, can I help add substance to this conversation? Can I bring ideas to the table? Can I lead the House Republicans to take our conservative principles, and apply them to the problems of the day to give people solutions that improve their lives, and try and inject some substance into this conversation, bring an agenda to the country?”

I worry about what I can do to help make this a better country, to help improve things . . . more about substance, and ideas. And that's what we're doing here as House Republicans. Go to better.gop, look at our Better Way agenda that we're rolling out. We're trying to add some substance to this conversation, so that people know where we're trying to go to get this country fixed.

Four down, two to go: health care and tax reform. So, as the speaker said, be sure to bookmark better.gop—we have some exciting stuff to share with you this week.

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Track Meets, Volleyball Games & More

2016/06/18

Ever wonder what Speaker Paul Ryan does during weekends at home in Janesville, Wisconsin?  Track meets, volleyball, and basketball games with his three kids. In fact, in the latest copy of People magazine, Speaker Ryan describes his thoughts on the importance of being a father. Keep scrolling for excerpts from the interview.

 

Excerpts from the interview with People magazine:

Ryan, who was just 16 when his own dad died of a heart attack, says he told Republican party leaders in November, “You can’t take away my family.”

So Ryan is home in Janesville, Wisconsin, every week for a three-day weekend jammed with the track meets and volleyball and basketball games of his “Irish triplets” — Liza, 14; Charlie, 13 and Sam, 11 — with wife Janna. And while Ryan says his kids are not yet at the teenage stage of being embarrassed by their dad, he acknowledges that his being home is not without a few little downsides.

“They get nervous when I focus on their athletics. It pushes them, but they also get a little nervous,” Ryan says. “I’m not one of those yell-from-the-stands type of dads, but we’ll always talk after the game. Like a talking-to.”

And then there’s his no-sweets, no-processed-foods edict. “I’m probably pretty overbearing about that. I’m not a sugar guy and my general rule for diet at home is, ‘If it wasn’t a food 100 years ago, we don’t buy it or eat it.'"

And while his job does require some weekend phone calls to take care of business, Ryan says he doesn’t want to talk politics with his kids. . . . 

“We don’t talk politics at home very often. To me, I want to get away from it when I’m home on the weekends,” Ryan says. Of his kids, the congressman says, “I miss things during the week, so the hardest question they ask is ‘Are you going to be home?’ when I know that I’m not. That’s the hardest one.”

 

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House Oversight Brings Justice for Victims of IRS Abuse

2016/06/17

We know it's been a busy week. That's why we wanted to make sure you didn't miss this big news in our ongoing efforts to rein in the IRS.

On Wednesday, the agency informed us that it will finally give 700 Americans whose assets it improperly seized under federal forfeiture laws the opportunity to get their money back. This comes in response to an unrelenting oversight investigation led by the Ways and Means Committee over the past two years, and it’s a big win for hundreds of hardworking taxpayers.

Federal civil forfeiture law was designed to help catch human traffickers, drug dealers, and other criminals attempting to launder money by allowing law enforcement to immediately seize an individual’s assets on suspicion of wrongdoing.

However, the IRS has used this tool against hundreds of innocent small business owners—whose assets are seized without any advance notice or due process. Lives are turned upside down and businesses are forced to shutter literally overnight. Faced with a costly legal battle against the U.S. government, most victims opt to settle with the IRS—some to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.That’s exactly what happened to Randy Sowers, a Maryland dairy farmer who had nearly $300,000 seized by the IRS. After settling with the government, the Sowers were still out $29,500.

House oversight efforts shined a bright spotlight on this unjust practice, and this week justice was delivered. Not only will victims be able to recoup their losses, but the IRS is reforming this practice to help prevent innocent Americans from being targeted in the future.

Separately, the House also passed legislation this week banning the IRS from collecting donor information from non-profit organizations. This bill will remove another dangerous tool for intimidation from an agency with a horrid track record of targeting Americans for their personal beliefs.

We are pleased with the progress made this Congress to hold the IRS accountable, but we still have more work to do to ensure all Americans are treated equally and fairly by their government.

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Weekly Republican Address: A Better Way for We, the People

2016/06/17

WASHINGTON — In this week’s Republican address, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) discusses a #BetterWay to restore representative government and uphold the Constitution. The address caps off the second week of #BetterWay rollouts, featuring initiatives on the Constitution as well as ending needless regulations and jumpstarting the American economy.

Let’s give people a voice through their elected representatives so a 19th century institution can actually solve 21st century problems,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. She continued, “only ‘we, the people’ know the way to achieve our dreams—not the government.” 

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

Remarks of House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington Weekly Republican Address Washington, DC June 18, 2016

We were all shocked and saddened by the tragedy in Orlando last weekend.

It was heartbreaking.

It’s a reminder that, at the end of the day, no matter your background, we are all Americans.

And even as we grieve together as a nation, we must remain vigilant to protect the promise of America.  It’s a promise that everyone here should have the confidence to live free, knowing they’re safe from terror in their own community, and so they can pursue their own dreams.

Because in America, we trust people to make the best decisions for themselves. Not a government that decides for you.

But today, people are anxious. We’re on edge as ISIS makes the world more dangerous. Parents worry about their children’s future. Seniors worry about retirement. Students worry about finding good jobs to pay back their debt.  

Hard-working families can’t understand Washington, D.C.’s tangled web of taxes, one-size-fits-all regulations, and arbitrary rules.

We’re anxious because your voices are not being heard in Congress.

There’s a better way to restore representative government and uphold our Constitution, and that’s what we rolled out this week.  

Our goal is to reaffirm that government by the people, speaking through their elected representatives, is the best way to keep us free and safe; protect our liberty; and make sure the promise of America exists for the next generation.

Over time, presidents came to legislate by executive orders; courts came to make laws from the bench; and we, Congress, ceded power to the other two branches in order to simplify the lawmaking process.  

But Congress is the seat of representative democracy.  

It is here that “we the people” should make decisions about all laws that will govern us. Not in the basement of the Labor Department.

This is not a Republican or Democrat issue; it’s an American issue. And it touches the very core of who we are.

Let’s use the power of the purse to make government more accountable to people, so the IRS can’t target free speech and the EPA can’t regulate mud puddles.

Let’s do our job of reviewing, rethinking, and possibly eliminating government programs that are running on autopilot without oversight, So agencies like the VA operate their hospitals more like Cleveland Clinics.

Let’s hold unelected bureaucrats accountable for interfering with the next innovative startup someone’s creating in a garage or with a scientist working to cure cancer in a lab.

Let’s make agencies closer to the people—a government that operates more like Uber and Amazon and less like the DMV.

And—most importantly—let’s give people a voice through their elected representatives so a 19th century institution can actually solve 21st century problems.

Restoring the people’s voice in Congress is not just one part of our Better Way agenda, it’s the most important part.

Unless people are back in the driver’s seat, we won’t be able to rebuild our military, roll back the red tape, or help our most vulnerable.

Because only “we, the people” know the way to achieve our dreams—not the government.  

That’s why freedom is so important. It’s about making certain the promise of America is never broken.

I hope you’ll learn more about our plan to restore representative government at www.better.gop.   

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Speaker Ryan's Ideal Father's Day

2016/06/17

In which Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, describes his ideal Father's Day. (Go ahead, give it a click. It'll only take 22 seconds.)

Transcript:

"Father's Day—we fish. We hike. We go do something. Then we go to the store or get some venison out of the freezer, and I grill a huge smorgasbord. And then we have, like, a little bonfire and a little bonfire thing in our backyard. 

"That, to me, is a great Father's Day."

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Health Care Rollout Next Wednesday

2016/06/16

WASHINGTON—At his press conference today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that next week, Republicans will roll out the last two planks of A Better Way: health care and tax reform.

“Next week, we will release a plan to not just repeal, but also replace, Obamacare,” Speaker Ryan said. “And after that, we will offer a blueprint for fundamental tax reform that will make the system more simple and fair – and create more jobs. Amid all the noise, we can never forget that our job here is always to try to make people’s lives better. That’s what A Better Way is all about.”

HEALTH CARE

When: Wednesday, June 22, 2-3:00 p.m. ET

Where: American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th St. NW, Washington, DC

What: Conversation and panel on health care reform 

Who: Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Chairs of the Task Force on Health Care Reform

Media details: Attendance to this event is open to members of the press. Press interested in attending must email Matthew Devine at AEI (Matthew.Devine@AEI.org) to register for the event and to receive additional coverage information.

TAX REFORM

When: Friday, June 24, 10-10:30 a.m. ET

Where: Rayburn Room, United States Capitol 

What: Press conference

Who: Speaker Paul Ryan, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, and members of the Ways and Means Committee

Media details: Attendance to this event is open to members of the press. Press with equipment must be in place by 9 a.m. ET for the security sweep

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Speaker Ryan: We Want a Confident America, Where All of Us Are Free

2016/06/16

WASHINGTON—Today in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Republican lawmakers unveiled the fourth plank of a #BetterWayan initiative to restore self-government and the separation of powers. Below are Speaker Ryan’s closing remarks as prepared for delivery: “I thought I’d close by quoting one of the greatest justices to ever sit on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia. He once asked, ‘Why do you think America is a free country? What is it in our Constitution that makes us what we are?’ Most of us would say the Bill of Rights: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to bear arms. And true enough: Those rights are very special.

“But Justice Scalia went on: ‘If you think a bill of rights is what sets us apart, you’re crazy. Every banana republic in the world has a bill of rights.’ Even the Soviet Union had a bill of rights, he pointed out—and it promised a lot more than ours does. But there’s a reason we don’t remember the U.S.S.R. as a bastion of liberty. Because that bill of rights—it was ‘just words on paper,’ as Justice Scalia said.

“What truly makes America free, he argued, is the separation of powers. Those amendments to the Constitution may enumerate our rights. But it is the separation of powers that secures them. Our country makes sure no one person exercises too much power. I’m talking about the fact that we elect most of our representatives every two years, the fact that both houses of Congress have to pass a bill for it to become law, the fact that Congress is elected separately from the president. That means a lot of different people have to agree for a bill to become law. That means disagreement, debate, compromise, and, in the end, good government.

“I also think it’s very telling that when Justice Scalia talked about the separation of powers, he barely even mentioned the Court—and he sat on it. Maybe what he was trying to tell us is, we can’t rely on the Court alone to protect our rights. Because if you have to file a lawsuit, it’s too late. Your rights have already been violated. Being free doesn’t mean you can get damages. Being free means not having to worry about your rights in the first place. That’s why we need the other branches, especially the legislative branch, to remain strong—so they can defend our rights when another branch attacks them—that is what will secure our rights in the here and now.

“And that is why we are here today. Our problem is not so much that the presidency, under both parties, keeps breaking the rules—though it does. Our problem is that Congress, under both parties, keeps forfeiting the game. Yielding to the executive branch. Giving the president a blank check. Not even bothering to read the fine print. And as our members just told us, this means more than out of control spending. It means chaos on the border. It means not being able to live out your faith. It means not being free.

“That’s why this plan is so important. In fact, I would argue it is the most important part of our agenda. Because we won’t be able to fix our safety net, or rebuild our military, or pare back the red tape, until we put the people back in the driver’s seat. It is not enough to have an efficient or effective government. We want a free government.

“One of the most important principles that unites us as Americans—that makes us a popular and inspiring nation—is that we are a self-determining people who historically govern by consent. We must reclaim and conserve this principle.

“We want a confident America, where all of us are free. That’s something, I think, we all can agree on. Thank you very much.”

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Speaker Ryan Talks Defeating Terrorism on The O’Reilly Factor

2016/06/16

Last night, Speaker Ryan appeared on Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor to discuss how the House is working to prevent more tragic terrorist attacks like that in Orlando. But, as Speaker Ryan pointed out, it’s important to stick to our principles while doing so—principles that, for example, support a security test for those trying to enter the U.S.: “We believe in the First Amendment, which is freedom of religion. So I really do think a security test—that’s what we passed here in the House. We said you can't have the Syrian refugee program until you have a security test where you can properly vet every single person—and we have passed that bill. . . . We passed a bill stopping [the refugee program], but based on not religion—based on security. And we don't have the kind of assurances we want to be secure about this. And that's why I call this a security test. Because it's not saying—look, anybody can come and say they are this or that. If they declare their religion to get into the United States, that doesn't really do much, does it? We need a security test.” Another big question is—should we declare war on ISIS? The speaker thinks the answer is a resounding yes—but in a way that doesn’t tie the hands of the next president: “I think we should declare war on ISIS and every other one of these groups—a fresh authorization of the military force. Here's the problem: President Obama wants to tie the hands of the military. President Obama is saying that he will not accept an authorization of the military force that does not completely hamstring his successor—and we are not going to do that.” So what will House Republicans do instead? For starters, they’ll focus on the national security plank of A Better Way rolled out last week—it features 67 recommendations on how to confront terrorism: “I would encourage you to go to Better.GOP. Because at Better.GOP, we released a national security strategy last Thursday before Orlando—67 recommendations on exactly what we should be doing to confront Islamic radical terrorism.” It’s a hard battle to fight, but it must be won—and House Republicans are determined to stop this threat once and for all. 

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A Better Way to Do The People’s Business

2016/06/16

Fourth Plank of Bold Agenda Curtails Executive Overreach, Imposes New Limits on Spending, and Increases Transparency for Taxpayers

WASHINGTON—Today, at an event in National Statuary Hall, House Republicans unveiled an initiative to restore self-government and the separation of powers. It is our vision for a Confident America in which our government listens to the people and upholds the Constitution. 

This is the fourth plank of A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of our country’s biggest challenges. Earlier, Republicans released initiatives to fight poverty, strengthen our national security, and grow the economy.

Our plan—available now at better.gop—offers a better way to do the people’s business, including ideas to:

  • Put a stop to executive overreach. Subject agencies to more scrutiny from a Congress that writes clear laws and enforces clear lines of authority, a judiciary that expedites legal action against the executive branch, watchdogs that have more power, and a public that knows what it has a right to know.
  • Rein in the regulators. Rewrite old rules so that regulations better reflect the will—and the input—of the people. Let’s make the bureaucrats jump through more hoops—and spend less money—for a change.
  • Impose new limits on spending. Give Congress and the people the most say—and the final word—over who is spending their money, what it’s being spent on, where it’s being spent, when it’s being spent, and why it’s being spent.
  • Increase transparency for taxpayers. Make the government catch up with the times and publish more data about how it does the people’s business. Sunlight really is the best disinfectant.

These ideas were developed by the Task Force on Restoring Constitutional Authority, which includes: Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX).

About A Better Way. A Better Way is a bold policy agenda to address some of the country’s biggest challenges. It takes our timeless principles—liberty, free enterprise, consent of the governed—and applies them to the problems of our time. Developed with input from around the country, it starts the debate now on what we can achieve in 2017 and beyond. It is our vision for a Confident America, at home and abroad. Now we are taking these ideas to the people, so you have a clear choice about the direction of the country. To learn more, visit better.gop.

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House Panel Takes Step to Address Mental Health Crisis

2016/06/15

WASHINGTONHouse Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement after the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which strengthens the nation’s mental health care system:

“Mental illness is a sickness, not a sin or a crime. We need to upend the way we deal with people who suffer from mental illness. Congress is working to reform our broken mental health system with the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. This is good, bipartisan legislation that helps get people the treatment they need when they need it. I’m proud of Rep. Murphy for his leadership, and I commend the Energy and Commerce Committee for passing this important legislation.”

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Statement on Meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman

2016/06/15

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman:

“The United States stands with Ukraine as it works to rebuild its economy and confront Russian aggression. In fact, this week the House will vote on $150 million in security assistance for Ukraine. Despite its challenges, I remain hopeful for Ukraine’s future as a strong, prosperous beacon of democracy in Eastern Europe. I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Groysman to reaffirm the strong bonds between our nations.”

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Speaker Ryan Welcomes His Holiness the Dalai Lama

2016/06/15

WASHINGTONYesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) attended a luncheon honoring His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol. Below are Speaker Ryan's opening remarks as prepared welcoming His Holiness to our nation's Capitol building: 

“Well, it goes without saying that all of us are deeply honored to have His Holiness the Dalai Lama here today. The American people’s affection for him is well-known—and well-documented.

“I think he has received just about every award we have to give him. In fact, I felt a little sheepish this morning when I realized that all I had to offer him was a lunch. But, as he likes to say, he is a ‘simple Buddhist monk.’

“And it is that very simplicity—the simplicity of faith—that has captured the world’s imagination. It is almost as if he has no room in his soul for impatience or self-serving. All he has room for is kindness. It is inspiring to see.

“I still remember when he gave the opening prayer in the Senate a few years back. He said, ‘Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you like a shadow that never leaves.’ He said it is his favorite daily prayer. And I admit I can’t think of a better one.

“So on behalf of everyone in this House, I want to say that we hope happiness follows the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet, and all people around the world who yearn to be free. Thank you.”

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'Reforms that are urgently needed': Praise For A Better Way to Grow Our Economy

2016/06/15

This is a #BetterWay to get the federal government off the backs of American businesses and grow our economy. https://t.co/G0d1gqpp3O

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 15, 2016

Republicans have put forward a plan containing more than 100 ideas to ease the regulatory burden on American businesses. This is the third plank of A Better Way—a bold agenda to tackle some of our country’s biggest challenges.

Here is a look at what experts around the country are saying about our plan:

“The ‘Better Way’ identifies both systemic reforms that are urgently needed as well as reconsideration of some woefully outdated regulatory regimes that no longer reflect current conditions. . . . The new agenda rightfully acknowledges the myriad benefits of devolving a great many regulatory responsibilities to states and the private sector.” (The Heritage Foundation)

We thank Speaker Ryan for understanding the needs of the business community. We can’t continue to let unelected government bureaucrats issue wide-ranging rules that have the potential to alter the economy. There’s no question that we need regulations to keep our air clean and working conditions safe, but they must be based on demonstrated need, backed by good data, and ensure that the benefits outweigh the costs. We look forward to working with House and Senate leadership and other members of Congress on advancing thoughtful regulatory reform.” (Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

“In addition to reports on poverty, jobs, taxes, health care, security, and constitutional authority, the report on regulatory reform contains a litany of proposals to modernize the rulemaking process and reassert Congress’s legislative authority. . . . Taken together, these measures are a reflection of the House’s desire to ensure regulation does not act as an impediment to economic growth. At a minimum, these reforms could save tens of billions of dollars in costs and countless hours of federal paperwork.” (Sam Batkins, American Action Forum)

"The regulatory reform agenda released outlines a number of policy proposals aimed at reigning in a regulatory burden that has grown exponentially under Obama. While the proposed reforms would have widespread benefits for the economy as a whole, many would prove especially beneficial to energy consumers and the energy sector, both of which have seen costs skyrocket under the Obama regime. . . . The reforms outlined by Speaker Ryan would not only be a boon for U.S. competitiveness as a whole but also would be particularly beneficial to energy consumers and businesses, reducing compliance costs and in turn reducing the price of energy American families and businesses pay each month." (Justin Sykes, Americans for Tax Reform)

“Today, Speaker Paul Ryan released a plan setting the agenda for regulatory reform in the House. While the plan focuses on specific reform bills, it breaks ground by recognizing that federal regulations, including the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy efficiency standards, burden low-income households with high costs in exchange for questionable benefits. . . .Unfortunately, as Speaker Ryan notes in his plan, the burden of these rules falls disproportionately on low-income Americans.” (Susan Dudley, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center)

“We applaud Speaker Ryan and the task force members for highlighting not just the problems we face, but concrete solutions that address both specific regulations as well as steps to improve the regulatory process: that is, to make it more accountable, more transparent, more inclusive and follow widely accepted scientific practices and standards. . . . We look forward to working with Speaker Ryan and the task force members to advance these helpful solutions into law.” (Karen Kerrigan, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council)

“We applaud Speaker Ryan and House Republicans for their efforts to strengthen the governance structure of the CFPB. As we see the vast majority of independent federal agencies, a bipartisan commission at the helm will provide a balanced, fair, deliberative approach to supervision, regulation, and enforcement. Most importantly, it offers a stable form of leadership that will preserve the agency’s role regardless of a President Trump or Clinton. Additionally, we thank them for highlighting the need to improve a number of other issues hurting consumers’ access to credit. We look forward to working with the House to advance these proposals to the Senate and then the White House.” (Richard Hunt, Consumers Banking Association)

“Ryan’s address on Tuesday introduced the third plank of the House Republicans’ ‘Better Way’ initiative, which aims to revamp the whole operation of the federal government in the post-Obama age. The Republicans plan to tackle the sheer volume of regulations that emerge from places such as the Labor Department. To emphasize his point, Ryan asked the crowd to note the differences between the Capital Building—where every debate is aired on CSPAN, where each bill is easily viewable online, and where representatives face the possibility of being voted out—versus the monolithic Department of Labor building, where career bureaucrats write rules without little or no feedback or input from either elected officials or the public at large.” (Evan Smith, Opportunity Lives)

Millions of Americans are being left behind in an anemic economy that has failed to deliver the opportunities working families desperately need. We have to do better and put this country back on a path toward prosperity. That requires a change in course . . . and it’s why House Republicans are focused on a pro-growth agenda that will lead to more good-paying jobs and a stronger economy for all Americans.” (Chairman John Kline, House Education and Workforce Committee)

“’A Better Way’ makes clear that there is no single silver bullet to fix decades of government overregulation. Getting our economy and take-home pay growing again requires a broad-based, comprehensive assault on overregulation and abusing lawsuits. Thankfully, ‘A Better Way to Grow our Economy’ provides a blueprint for reform. (Neil Bradley, Conservative Reform Network)

“NOIA applauds Speaker Ryan, Chairman Bishop and other members of the Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens on their blueprint for regulatory and legislative reforms that would deliver affordable and reliable homegrown energy to American consumers and strengthen our energy security. . . . In a political climate rife with hyperbolic rhetoric, unsubstantiated claims and naïve calls to keep it in the ground, ‘A Better Way’ lays out legislative solutions for improving our nation’s economy and reducing regulatory burdens, particularly in the oil and natural gas sector.” (Randall Luthi, National Ocean Industries Association)

“We here at the Competitive Enterprise Institute appreciate the release of the new report by the Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens, issued as part of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way” plan for policy reform. . . . By exploring concepts like more public participation, regulatory budgeting, sunsetting and review, eased permitting approval, and congressional accountability for rules, the task force has proposed a number of steps to lift the weight of the regulatory burden off the economy.” (Clyde Wayne Crews, Competitive Enterprise Institute)

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Speaker Ryan: The Burden Should be on Washington to Justify Itself to the People

2016/06/14

WASHINGTON—Today on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol complex, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and other House Republican leaders unveiled a #BetterWay to grow our economy by tackling excessive regulations, developing American energy, and promoting financial independence for hardworking Americans. Below are Speaker Ryan’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery: “We decided to hold this event here, in between the administrative state—in this case, the Labor Department—and Congress, the legislative branch, because we wanted to highlight the contrast between the two: In Congress, things are, for the most part, done out in the open. There are definitely more backroom shenanigans than we’d like—yes. But hearings are open to the public. C-SPAN records every debate. You can read any bill online. And most importantly, if you don’t like what’s going on, you can change it: You can call your representatives. Or you can vote them out.

“Transparency, accountability—that’s how we should write all our laws, including our regulations. Contrast that with the building behind us. Right now, most of us have no idea what’s going on behind those walls. The only cameras in there are for security. Maybe you can get a meeting with the deputy assistant secretary for annoying phone calls—if you’re lucky. But even if you’re unhappy with their performance, they’re not going anywhere. And, technically, there are good practices that the bureaucracy must follow. But technically, it doesn’t always follow them. And the American people are paying the price: We as a country spend up to $2 trillion every year just to comply with Washington’s mandates.

“The truth is, we need rules—clear, firm rules that all of us can live by. The question is, what’s the best way to write them? To keep our air and water clean, to protect consumers from scams and rip-offs—but also to create jobs and expand opportunity. It does not have to be an either-or. We can have both.

“That’s why we wrote this plan. In here, we are calling for Washington to change the very way it writes the rules—to make it more accountable to the American people. We’re saying, tell us the costs of your proposed regulations. Make them public. Tell us what they will do to low-income families. Base your decisions on sound science—not science fiction—with reproducible results and concrete data. And if your proposal is really so important, then let the people’s elected representatives decide. No major regulation should become law unless Congress takes a vote. In fact, we should consider setting a cap on the amount of regulatory costs that Washington can impose every year.

“Because the burden should not be on the people to justify themselves to Washington. The burden should be on Washington to justify itself to the people.

“I’m going to let our chairmen talk more about specific topics like energy and banking. But that’s the big idea: If we want clear, fair rules in this country, then we need to empower the rulemakers—the American people. This is the third in our six-part agenda, A Better Way. If you want to learn more, please go to our website: better.gop. Thank you.”

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A Better Way to Grow Our Economy

2016/06/14

WASHINGTON—Today, House Republicans unveiled a plan to grow our economy by tackling excessive regulations, developing American energy, and promoting financial independence for people who work hard and do the right thing. It is our vision for a Confident America that is the best place in the world to live, work, build things, start a business, and raise a family.

Lawmakers will talk about this plan later today at a press conference near the Capitol.

This is the third plank of A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of our country’s biggest challenges. Last week, Republicans unveiled initiatives aimed at lifting people out of poverty and keeping the American people safe.

Our plan—available now at better.gop—is comprised of at least 101 ideas, including:

  • Fewer and smarter regulations. Cut down on needless regulations and make the rules we do need more efficient and effective.
  • More affordable and reliable energy. Connect our energy boom to consumers, responsibly produce more of our own resources, and end needless delays that hold up jobs and projects.
  • More financial independence and no more bailouts. Reward people who work hard and do the right thing, and put an end to Wall Street bailouts.
  • More choices for workers and students. Make it easier for people to excel in schools and workplaces, and rip up the red tape that gets in their way.
  • Real Internet innovation. Establish clear and consumer-friendly rules that prevent the FCC from making up regulations as it goes along.
  • A crack down on lawsuit abuse. Keep trial lawyers in check, and improve protections for consumers and small businesses.

These ideas were developed by the Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens, which includes: Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), and Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA).

About A Better Way. A Better Way is a bold policy agenda to address some of the country’s biggest challenges. It takes our timeless principles—liberty, free enterprise, consent of the governed—and applies them to the problems of our time. Developed with input from around the country, it starts the debate now on what we can achieve in 2017 and beyond. It is our vision for a Confident America, at home and abroad. Now we are taking these ideas to the people, so you have a clear choice about the direction of the country. To learn more, visit better.gop.

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‘We Must Never Back Down’

2016/06/14

On Sunday, America suffered the worst terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11, leaving 49 dead and many more wounded. It was another horrifying act of war by radical Islam—and it’s a threat that must be defeated. Last week, House Republicans introduced a national security plan that offers a #BetterWay toward this goal—keeping America safer and making America stronger. Following the moment of silence of the House floor last night, Speaker Ryan continued his push to stop the threat of homegrown terrorism at a press briefing this morning with other Republican leaders:

“Over the weekend, we saw the worst terror attack on our soil since 9/11. We continue to mourn the dead and pray for a swift recovery to those who are injured. We need to be clear about who did this. This was another act of war against America by radical Islam.

“At the same time, let’s also be clear that members of the LGBT community were the targets. They were simply attacked for who they are. This is an ideology that rejects who we are as a country—open, tolerant, free. It preys on the vulnerable and the insecure, seeking to radicalize them into murderers.

“This is a threat that knows no borders. This is a threat that cannot be contained. This is a threat that simply must be defeated. And right now—right now, the president doesn’t have a plan to get the job done.

“That’s why last week House Republicans introduced what we believe is a Better Way for national security. In it are 67 ideas to keep America safe, including many to address homegrown terrorism. And of course the House has acted on numerous occasions to address this terrorist threat. And we will continue to do so.

“Because we must stop people who want to do us harm from coming here. We must give our intelligence and law enforcement communities the tools that they need. And we must work with committees and communities to prevent radicalization before it starts.

“Above all—above all—we must never back down.” 

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Taking away a dangerous tool from the IRS

2016/06/14

Last week, we finally received a full list of conservative organizations unfairly targeted by the IRS for their political beliefs. The news, which came nearly three years after the scandal broke, was a stark reminder of this powerful agency’s abuse of hardworking taxpayers. We’ve already enacted several pieces of bipartisan legislation to rein in the IRS this Congress alone, but our work is far from over.

Today, the House will consider H.R. 5053, the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act, to do away with another tool that the IRS has used for political purposes. This bill, authored by Ways and Means Oversight Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL), eliminates the Schedule B form—a portion of Form 990, the annual return that most non-profits are required to file. This form requires non-profit groups to report the names of anyone who contributes more than $5,000.

Here’s the problem: Although federal law prohibits the IRS from releasing Schedule Bs, in the past this information has been exploited to target conservatives. Ahead of the 2012 presidential election, the agency improperly released the National Organization of Marriage’s (NOM) unredacted Schedule B form, which revealed a contribution from a pro-Mitt Romney group. The IRS was eventually ordered to pay NOM $50,000 in damages for releasing this confidential information.

So why does the IRS collect this data? That’s the thing—nobody really knows.

Even IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said this information is completely irrelevant to an organization’s tax-exempt status. In fact, he claimed the agency is already considering getting rid of the Schedule B. As the commissioner told the Senate in July 2015, “On your 990 you list donors—although we’re about to try to change that. As a general matter, who gives to you should not matter as to what you’re about to do.” If that’s the case, the administration should support this bill.

So there you have it: A burdensome IRS form that the agency itself doesn’t seem to want or need but requires anyway. Not to mention that this information can be used for targeting Americans. We should remove every possible avenue for the IRS to unfairly target any American for their personal religious or political beliefs. 

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Our fight against homegrown terrorism

2016/06/13

Over the weekend, our country was once again attacked by radical Islamic extremism. The mourning process will take time, and while we pray for the victims and their loved ones, we continue our vigilance against homegrown terrorism.

Last week, House Republicans unveiled a bold plan to keep Americans safe and free. This proposal includes more than 67 detailed policy recommendations, including several specifically focused on defeating radical Islamic terrorism at home and abroad. It discusses the importance of countering extremist ideology by amplifying countervailing views from former radicals and the need to push back against the surge of online radicalization. It also calls on the president to present a clear strategy to defeat ISIS.

In addition, the House has already passed a number of bills aimed at strengthening our counterterrorism tools to help prevent homegrown and overseas terrorism:

  • HR 4239 – Tracking Foreign Fighters in Terrorist Safe Havens Act (December 2015, passed 423-0) / Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
  • HR 4408 – National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel Act (February 2016, passed 392-0) / Rep. John Katko (R-NY)
  • HR 4402 – Foreign Fighter Review Act (February 2016, passed 397-0) / Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX)
  • HR 4401 – Amplifying Local Efforts to Root Out Terror (ALERT) Act (February 2016, unanimous) / Rep. Barry Loudermilk
  • HR 4314 – Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act (March 2016, passed 371-2) / Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY)
  • HR 4403 – Enhancing Overseas Traveler Vetting Act (April 2016, unanimous) / Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX)
  • HR 4820 – Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act (April 2016, passed 322-79) / Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)
  • HR 4240 – No Fly for Foreign Fighters Act (April 2016, unanimous) / Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
  • HR 4407 – Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act (May 2016, passed 389-5) / Rep. John Katko (R-NY)

These are some of the steps the House is taking to protect our homeland. Now more than ever, we must continue to work together to keep Americans safe and free. As Speaker Ryan said yesterday, “We are a nation at war with Islamist terrorists. Theirs is a repressive, hateful ideology that respects no borders. It is a threat to our people at home and abroad. Our security depends on our refusal to back down in the face of terror. We never will.”

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Speaker Ryan Makes Interview Rounds to Talk about A Better Way

2016/06/13

Last week, Speaker Ryan did 10—yes, 10—national and local interviews to mark the launch of A Better Way—the House Republican agenda to offer Americans a clear, conservative choice for A Better Way forward. Here’s a look at what he talked about. POVERTY On Tuesday, Speaker Ryan and other House leaders visited House of Help City of Hope in Anacostia to discuss their initiative aimed at lifting people out of poverty and onto the ladder of opportunity. Shortly after, he sat down with CBS’s John Dickerson for a segment for Face the Nation: “What I believe we, in the House, can help do [is] bring ideas to the table. Bring an agenda to the table. Bring a vision. And we’re laying out our ideas, starting today—six critical reforms that we call A Better Way, because we think we owe the country a choice of A Better Way forward. . . . What we hopefully can achieve is offering the country a clear agenda going forward.” He also called in to Fox News Radio’s Kilmeade & Friends for a conversation with Brian Kilmeade on the root cause of poverty: What has happened is we’re just tapering over poverty. We’re perpetuating poverty. And our welfare system these days is really a work replacement system. It disincentivizes work in so many ways. It actually penalizes people who want to go to work. Because they lose more, in many cases, than they gain by taking the risk of taking a job. “Our poverty programs should never do that. Our poverty programs should always be wired to making work pay, to having the right incentive so that a person gets the skills and the training they need so they can go get a good job, so that they can build their own life for themselves. That’s the heart and soul of the reforms that we’re proposing today. . . . We need to compare ourselves to our own standards as Americans—as the country of freedom, the country of upward mobility, the country of the American Idea where the condition of your birth doesn’t determine the outcome of your life. . . .We think we have a better way forward, and that’s what we’re offering.” Then, en route back to the Capitol to tend to other legislative business, the speaker found time for one more phone call with Wisconsin’s Big AM 1380’s Stan Milam on why places like House of Help City of Hope are exactly where these conversations need to be started: “Success needs to be measured by results. Are people actually getting out of poverty? What actually works in our communities? And back those programs, back those people. That means streamlining and consolidating government and respecting communities, respecting local solutions. The people close to the problem often have the best answers on how to solve a problem. It’s also important to note that not everybody faces the same kind of poverty. Not everyone facing poverty is in the same situation. So we shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all, top-down government approach.” NATIONAL SECURITY On Thursday, House Republicans continued the launch of A Better Way with the national security plank, a vision for America that not only keeps its people safe, but helps keep the peace in a dangerous world—and unfortunately, a terrible reality we were reminded of this weekend with the terrorist attack in Orlando. Speaker Ryan discussed why this plan is so vital with Hugh Hewitt: “We know that this new Obama foreign policy concept, leading from behind, can now be declared an unambiguous failure. It is making us unprepared. It is reducing our military capability and strength. It is confusing our allies and incentivizing our adversaries. And all that does is tempt fate. So we are saying we’ve got to reset our system. We’ve got to restructure and reaffirm our foreign policy, in particular our military policy if we want to prevent these problems on the horizon from getting out of control.” Next, he got into the details with Wisconsin’s WISN’s Jay Weber: “Number one: Strengthen our military. . . . Number two: homeland security. That means securing our border, fixing our immigration laws, and making sure we have what we need to go after jihadists. And number three, let’s have a foreign policy doctrine strategy that actually keeps us safe and prevents groups like ISIS from materializing in the first place. . . . Right now, if you describe the War on Terror, it’s completely reactive. . . . “So that’s what we’re articulating today. Here’s what a 21st century military looks like. Here’s how we respect our veterans and our many men and women who are currently wearing the uniform with the kind of equipment and posture they need. Here’s what a foreign policy strategy looks like that in the long term keeps us safe.” ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Finally, the speaker closed out his round of interviews with George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s This Week, simply stating what this agenda project is all about: “We are just in the midst of rolling out an agenda that we're going to take to the people. We, in the House, are saying here are the laws we want to pass in fulfillment of these principles to improve people's lives, to fix our government and our country's problems—that requires a president to sign them into law.” Stay tuned, because this week, House Republicans will continue to roll out two more planks of A Better Way. To learn more about what’s happened so far, visit better.gop.  

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The Next Phase of the Better Way Rollout

2016/06/13

WASHINGTON—This week, Republicans will add planks on economic growth and self-government to A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of our country’s biggest challenges. 

On Tuesday, members of the Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens will release a plan aimed at making it easier to work, invest, produce, and build things in America. In the afternoon, Republicans will lead a press conference to mark the unveiling near the West Front of the Capitol.

On Thursday, Republicans will mark the unveiling of a plan aimed at restoring self-government and the separation of powers in National Statuary Hall, which served as the Hall of the House from 1807-1857.

All of us—not government—should have the biggest role to play in our lives,” Speaker Ryan said. “That’s what these next two planks in our agenda are about. Regulations should serve to help, not hinder the workers and risk-takers at the heart of our economy. And after decades of executive overreach, it is time we restore self-government and the separation of power. This is a better way to uphold our Constitution and preserve the pursuit of happiness.”

These are the third and fourth planks of A Better Way. Last week, Republicans unveiled initiatives aimed at lifting people out of poverty and keeping the American people safe. Two additional planks—health care and tax reform—are yet to be announced. Learn more at better.gop.

THE ECONOMY

When: Tuesday, June 14, 2:15-2:45 p.m. ET

Where: West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol

What: Press conference

Who: Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, members of the Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens

Media details: This event is open to members of the media only—media must display Capitol Hill press credentials. All media interested in attending must RSVP to Molly Edwards (molly.edwards@mail.house.gov) by 5:00 p.m. Monday, June 13th. All media with equipment must be in place by 1:15 p.m. for the security sweep.

THE CONSTITUTION

When: Thursday, June 16, 9:30-10:30 a.m. ET

Where: National Statuary Hall, United States Capitol

What: Member event unveiling a plan to restore self-government

Who: Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, members of the Task Force on Restoring Constitutional Authority

Media details: This event is open to credentialed members of the media only. All media with equipment must be in place by 8:30 a.m. for the security sweep.

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Statement on Orlando Terrorist Attack

2016/06/12

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after ordering that flags above the Capitol be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of the Orlando terrorist attack:

"It is horrifying to see so many innocent lives cut short by such cowardice. Tonight, and in the long days ahead, we will grieve with the families. We will thank the heroes. We will hope for a swift recovery for the injured.

"As we heal, we need to be clear-eyed about who did this. We are a nation at war with Islamist terrorists. Theirs is a repressive, hateful ideology that respects no borders. It is a threat to our people at home and abroad. Our security depends on our refusal to back down in the face of terror. We never will."

The flags at the @USCapitol fly at half-staff in memory of the innocent lives lost in the Orlando terrorist attack. pic.twitter.com/MclsZ1JyTw

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 13, 2016
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10 Photos From This Week

2016/06/11

A magician, a medal of honor recipient, and a prime minister all walk into the U.S. Capitol. No, that's not a joke. That's just a glimpse of what the last few days looked like for Speaker Ryan. These 10 previously-unreleased photos tell the rest of the story.

1. On Tuesday, House Republicans unveiled the first plank in their 6-point plan for A Better Way. It's all about fighting poverty in America in a way that actually rewards work and demands results. Here, Speaker Ryan escorts Bishop Shirley Holloway, the founder and CEO of a community poverty-fighting program, to speak at a press conference.

2. Every week, Speaker Ryan holds multiple media availabilities. Directly after a press conference on Tuesday, he sat down for an extended conversation with John Dickerson of CBS' Face the Nation.

3. Speaker Ryan takes a #SpeakerSelfie (that's a thing started by Mitt Romney) with students from Wisconsin.

4. On Wednesday, Speaker Ryan invited four Medal of Honor recipients for breakfast on his balcony at the U.S. Capitol.

5Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the world's largest democracy, extends a hand of mutual gratitude with Speaker Ryan before addressing a joint meeting of Congress.

6. Speaker Ryan is also the Congressman from Wisconsin's 1st District, and every week, he keeps time in his schedule to meet with his constituents, like those shown below.

7. After a one-on-one interview with Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, Speaker Ryan introduces her to his youngest son, Sam, who spent the day at work with dad.

8. On Thursday, before a packed room just blocks from the White House, Speaker Ryan and a half dozen committee chairs unveiled the 2nd plank in the House Republican agenda for A Better Waynational security.

9. The highlight of the day for Sam (Speaker Ryan's youngest) was when the magician, David Copperfield, visited the Speaker's office and performed an illusion or two.

10. Speaker Ryan welcomed the newest member of Congress, Warren Davidson (OH-08), with a ceremonial swearing-in. 

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Speaker Ryan Names Appointees to Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission

2016/06/10

WASHINGTON—This week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) named three appointees to the new Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. The commission, the result of bipartisan legislation authored by Speaker Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), is charged with figuring out the best way for the federal government to analyze data to improve public policy.

This is part of a better way to fight poverty in America,” Speaker Ryan said. “Right now, Washington measures success by how much it spends, not by how much it helps people. This commission will help change government’s old ways of thinking and make better use of the data we get so that we can make more of a difference in people’s lives. My appointees are all well-respected experts who have devoted their careers to studying these trends, and I am grateful to them for agreeing to serve on the commission.”

The speaker’s appointees to the panel are:

Ron Haskins–Co-Chair. Ron Haskins is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies program and co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution and senior consultant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore. From February to December of 2002 he was the senior advisor to the president for welfare policy at the White House. Learn more about Ron Haskins.

Bruce Meyer. Bruce D. Meyer, the McCormick Foundation Professor at Chicago Harris, studies poverty and inequality, tax policy, government safety net programs such as unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, food stamps, and Medicaid, and the accuracy of household surveys. Meyer has also served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Human Resources Development Canada, Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, and Mathematica Policy Research. Learn more about Bruce Meyer.

Robert Hahn. Robert Hahn is director of economics and a professor at the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford. He also is an associate at Nuffield College, a senior policy scholar at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy, and a Robert Schuman Fellow at the European University Institute. Learn more about Robert Hahn.

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A Better Way: 'We’ve Got to Restructure and Reaffirm Our Foreign Policy'

2016/06/10

This week, at the Council on Foreign Relations, Republicans unveiled a plan to chart a better course for America’s foreign policy and national security. While there, Speaker Ryan and members of the Task Force on National Security talked to Hugh Hewitt about this initiative, which is the second plank of A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of our country’s biggest challenges. Here’s some of what Speaker Ryan covered in his conversation with Hewitt: Why we need a better way: “We know that this new Obama foreign policy concept, leading from behind, can now be declared an unambiguous failure. It is making us unprepared. It is reducing our military capability and strength. It is confusing our allies and incentivizing our adversaries. And all that does is tempt fate. So we are saying we’ve got to reset our system. We’ve got to restructure and reaffirm our foreign policy, in particular our military policy if we want to prevent these problems on the horizon from getting out of control.”

Our partnership with India: “I think you need, and in particular, and specifically under Modi’s leadership, and he and I have discussed this at great length yesterday, have a great potential for the future particularly with the seas, in the Pacific and in the Indian Ocean, making sure that we help police the global commons and international order, namely China building, you know, runways on islands in contested areas. I think the Indian, the new Indian government is going to be a great ally for ours, and we have better security cooperation with them. That’s one thing that we need to nurture and grow. And those of us who are fans of Modi, you know, he’s a conservative who wants, who embraces free enterprise. He’s bringing needed reform to the country. That’s the kind of an alliance that we need to forge and build upon. That stands in stark contrast, I would argue, to the Obama foreign policy of the last eight years where we have neglected our allies, and we have basically rewarded our enemies, our adversaries.”

Stopping cyberattacks: “Well, it addresses preventing cyberattacks from coming into the future, preventing cyberattacks from not only hitting government installations, but the private sector as well and our personal data so that they can’t use it against us. So it’s a forward-looking policy based upon the lessons we have learned, because we’ve had hacks on government, hacks on private businesses, hacks on people by terrorists, by other countries.”

NATO:We think a strong NATO is very much in our national security interests. I think our friends in the Eastern NATO need more of our help and support. It’s also, you know, making sure that people live up to the 2 percent commitment. That’s part of it. But I don’t think our friends are going to lead up to, make their commitment good if they don’t think America itself is going to be leading. So I think a stronger NATO, where we’re all living up to our commitments, theirs is 2 percent minimum, and where we actually have a bigger presence. … I would simply say that the administration has not done what they need to do, and we do not have the kind of military posture we had for ourselves and for our allies to keep NATO where it needs to be given the current threats that it’s facing.”

Egypt:It is our ally. It’s one of the reasons as the first trip as speaker of the House, I went and met with President Sisi to explain that he is our ally. They are so worried, the Egyptians, about our ambiguity. And there are Egyptians who believe that the American government supports the Muslim Brotherhood over the current government. So you know, I met with the parliamentarians, I met with their speaker, I met with the president of Egypt, al-Sisi himself, to reaffirm our mutual interests, our mutual security interests, and that they are, in fact, our ally.”

Libya:It’s an ISIS nest, it’s a sinkhole, and it’s part and parcel of the Clinton architecture of the foreign policy of the Obama administration. It is now, really, the magnet for ISIS. It is the magnet for terrorism. And it is just as you described. Why this matters to us, I mean, people are thinking, "Why do I care about Libya?"—people listening—because in Libya, ISIS is mounting. They are building, they are recruiting, they are getting money, they are getting weapons, and then they are planning to coordinate attacks out from there. That’s why it matters to us.”

Russia: “First of all, don’t be naïve about Russia. And I think the Obama administration was chronically naïve. Number one, they gave up missile defense, undercutting our allies in the Czech Republic and Poland, for what? For nothing. The week Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine after the Olympics was the same week that Barack Obama sent us a budget gutting our military. They saw America retreating. They saw America neglecting its allies, and so they decided to take territory. The Russians will keep pushing and pushing against other democracies unless they think that these democracies and their allies are standing up for themselves, and we have not shown that.

Syria: “So on the eastern side in Iraq, by bumbling the status-of-forces agreement and pulling out and not leaving any kind of residual force, which would have helped the Iraqi government maintain some cohesion, prevent sectarianism, you basically had a huge void occur. The government more or less collapsed from a capability standpoint, creating a vacuum that then ISIS filled, taking over oil fields, cities, banks, having territory, money so they can plan their attacks. [On] Syria, the president of the United States drew a red line. The Syrian dictator clearly crossed that red line. The president of the United States therefore did nothing after that. That means our credibility was deeply eroded. . . . So these kinds of decisions ripple through the entire world and question our allies.To learn more about A Better Way to Keep America Safe and Free, just go to better.gop.

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House Passes Bipartisan Puerto Rico Bill

2016/06/09

WASHINGTON — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke on the House floor in support of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), the House’s bill to address the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico and prevent a taxpayer bailout. The legislation passed the House on a bipartisan basis today. Below are Speaker Ryan’s full remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. Speaker . . . it is vital that we pass this bill. And let me tell you why. Puerto Rico is in trouble. And we need to act now, before that trouble threatens taxpayers. Puerto Rico’s government owes $118 billion in bonds and unfunded pension liabilities. It has already defaulted on much of it. And things are only going to get worse. Now the island is shutting down. You see it in the news: Closed schools. Hospitals beginning to close. That’s today. Tomorrow, it could be policemen without cars and blackouts at hospitals. This is a humanitarian disaster in the making. And what’s worse—if we do nothing, it would be a man-made humanitarian disaster.

“Mr. Speaker, the Puerto Rican people are our fellow Americans. They pay our taxes and fight in our wars. We cannot allow this to happen. I should also say that if we do nothing, the contagion will only spread. About 15 percent of Puerto Rico’s debt is held by middle-class Americans. If the government can’t meet its obligations, these families will pay the price. Or even worse, taxpayers could be asked to bail it out. That is simply unacceptable.

“That’s why we’re taking action now—to prevent a bailout and to help the Puerto Rican people. What this bill will do is allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debts and set up an oversight board that will oversee this process. Congress and the president will appoint the members of this board. It will audit Puerto Rico’s books and make sure the restructuring is open and fair. It will also make sure the government changes its ways so we don’t have to do this again.

“Now, let me set things straight. Some people say this will set a bad precedent and encourage reckless spending by the states. No, it will not. The bill applies only to territories—not to states. I also want to point out: The Puerto Rican government is not getting off scot-free. Not at all. It has not served the Puerto Rican people well. It has spent money recklessly for decades. So this legislation will make sure the government balances its budget and passes reforms that will grow Puerto Rico’s economy. It gives flexibility on the youth minimum wage, so businesses will hire more young workers.

“I also hear people say that this bill is a bailout. Mr. Speaker, that is categorically . . . undeniably . . . untrue. This bill won’t add a single dollar to the deficit. That’s what the Congressional Budget Office says. This bill actually prevents a bailout. That’s the whole point. But I will tell you this: There very likely will be a bailout, if we don’t pass this bill. Because there will be no other choice. But if we pass this bill, Puerto Rico will get a handle on its debt. Its economy will grow, and taxpayers will be safe. I’m telling you right now: The best chance creditors have to get what they’re owed is this bill.

“Mr. Speaker, this is our responsibility. The Constitution gives Congress the duty to oversee legislation for all U.S. territories. And now it’s time that we do our duty. A lot of people have spent a lot of time on this legislation. I want to thank Rob Bishop, Sean Duffy, Raul Labrador, Jim Sensenbrenner, and all those worked on this bill. It is a bipartisan bill. It is the best solution to a deepening crisis. It has my full support. And I urge all my colleagues—everyone in this House—to vote for it. Thank you.”

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A Joint Meeting of Congress with Prime Minister Modi

2016/06/09

Yesterday, the leader of the world's largest democracy visited the Capitol of the world's oldest democracy. In his address before a joint meeting of Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India shared his commitment to fighting poverty—a subject that is near and dear to Speaker Ryan's heart and is also the first plank of the House Republican agenda for A Better Way

Keep scrolling to see photos and video of Prime Minister Modi's visit.

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What you need to know about the House’s Puerto Rico bill

2016/06/09

What is PROMESA?

The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) is the House’s bipartisan legislation that addresses the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico and prevents a taxpayer bailout for the island. Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, it is ultimately Congress’s responsibility—as the Constitution says. The goals of PROMESA are to protect American taxpayers, stop Puerto Rico’s debt crisis from becoming a major humanitarian disaster, and put Puerto Rico on a path to recovery.

Sponsored by Rep. Duffy and Rep. Sensenbrenner, PROMESA was developed by the Committee on Natural Resources with both member and stakeholder input. The White House has come to support PROMESA, which means that if the House passes this comprehensive, responsible legislation, it has a significant chance of becoming the law of the land.

Why now?

The Puerto Rican government has racked up $118 billion dollars in debt in the form of bonds and unfunded pension liabilities. It has no way of paying it back nor intention of doing so. Earlier this year, the Puerto Rican government passed a debt-payment moratorium. Last month, Puerto Rico defaulted on a $422 million loan, exacerbating the financial crisis in the U.S. territory. A huge debt-payment of $2 billion is due on July 1, which the government will likely default on. More defaults will result in a huge amount of litigation from creditors, which threatens the stability of the territory and the investments of Americans who hold Puerto Rico’s bonds. The time for Congress to act is now if we want to bring order to this chaos and stop a humanitarian crisis—which will prevent a taxpayer bailout down the road.

What does PROMESA do?

The legislation has three major components:

Debt-restructuring: PROMESA gives territories the ability to access certain debt-restructuring provisions. This is specifically amended under the territories and insular affairs section of the U.S. code, so no states can have access to these provisions. This means states will not gain access to debt-restructuring provisions, which protects against a dangerous precedent. Giving Puerto Rico the ability to restructure its debt in an orderly way is the best chance for creditors to get paid what they are owed and protect the U.S. bond market.

Oversight board: The legislation institutes an oversight board appointed by Congress and the White House that will have major authority over the debt-restructuring process, beginning with auditing the financial records of the government. This will bring transparency and order to the current chaos on the island. The oversight board will also make sure that Puerto Rico makes real, lasting reforms so that Puerto Rico never gets into this situation again. For example, the oversight board will enforce balanced budgets if the Puerto Rican government fails to do so.

Pro-growth reforms: The bill provides Puerto Rico with flexibility on the youth minimum wage in order to spur job creation and economic growth on the island. It also exempts Puerto Rico from the new harmful overtime pay regulations, which would have had a detrimental impact on jobs. PROMESA institutes a taskforce to provide a report giving recommendations on ways to grow Puerto Rico’s economy and fix the current federal law that is hindering growth.

Read more details on the legislation here.

What will this cost the taxpayer?

Nothing. Fiscal hawks can rest assured because PROMESA addresses the crisis at no risk to taxpayers. It’s revenue neutral, meaning it will not increase federal spending. Last week, the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed this fact: PROMESA will have no significant effect on the federal deficit. Any costs for operating the oversight board will be paid for by the Puerto Rican government over the next 10 years.

Is PROMESA is a bailout?

Not only is PROMESA not a bailout, but passing PROMESA will prevent a future taxpayer bailout of the territory, much to the chagrin of certain well-funded special interest groups. The ads running on television alleging that PROMESA is a taxpayer bailout are orchestrated by these special interest groups who actually understand that PROMESA is not a bailout. They want PROMESA—or any other legislation that addresses the crisis without a taxpayer bailout— to fail. They want pressure to build on Congress to pass a real bailout bill, which serves their financial interests.

Who supports PROMESA?

From groups representing different sectors of the economy to newspaper editorial boards, PROMESA’s support is broad and deep. Conservative, limited government groups—who are opposed to taxpayer bailouts on principle—support PROMESA because it protects taxpayers and enacts pro-growth policies. Here are just some of the groups that support PROMESA:

American Action ForumAmericans for Limited GovernmentAmericans for Tax ReformAssociation of General Contractors of America - Puerto Rico ChapterAssociation of General Contractors of AmericaConservative Reform NetworkCouncil for Citizens Against Government WasteGovernment Finance Officers AssociationInternational City/County Management AssociationJames Madison InstituteJanney Fixed Income StrategyJubilee USA NetworkNational Taxpayers UnionNational Association of Home Builders - Puerto Rico ChapterNational Association of CountiesNational League of CitiesNational ReviewNational Retail FederationPacific Investment Management Co.Patriot UpdatePrivate Sector Coalition of Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Hospital AssociationR Street InstituteSecurities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)Tea Party ForwardU.S. Conference of MayorsWall Street Journal editorial boardWashington Post editorial board

Here’s a few more experts and state officials for good measure:

Brian Bosma, Indiana speaker of the houseMarc Joffe, Principal consultant at Public Sector Credit Solutions and former senior director at Moody’s AnalyticsSimon Johnson, MIT professor and former chief economist at the International Monetary FundMark A. Cymrot, international arbitration litigator:Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former chief economist of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and former director of the Congressional Budget OfficeScott Fitzgerald, Wisconsin state senator

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Speaker Ryan Kicks Off Forum for A Better Way to Keep Americans Safe

2016/06/09

A #BetterWay means expanding American influence, the sphere of free enterprise, & the community of free nations.https://t.co/1EeZFReiYw

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 9, 2016

WASHINGTON — Today at the Council of Foreign Relations, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) kicked off a forum to discuss A Better Way to keep Americans safe and free with a stronger national defense. The event consisted of two panels: "Protecting the U.S. Homeland" and "Defending Freedom, Advancing American Interests, and Renewing Our National Security Tools." Below are Speaker Ryan's opening remarks as prepared for delivery:  "Thank you, Andrea. And thanks to CFR for hosting us. I don’t want to take up too much time today. All our members worked very hard on this plan, and I’m eager to hear from them. But I do want to say a few words about why we thought this plan was so necessary.

"We just had the prime minister of India at the Capitol yesterday. He spoke before Congress. And it was a great moment for the growing friendship between our two countries. But the main reason that I think this moment was so notable . . . is that, nowadays, it is so rare. In the past seven years, our friendships have frayed and our rivalries have intensified. It is not too much to say our enemies no longer fear us and too many of our allies no longer trust us. And I think this is the direct result of the president’s foreign policy.

"He drew a red line in Syria—and backed away from it. He vowed that Iran would never get nuclear weapons—and the deal he negotiated all but ensures it. He shrugged off ISIS—until it threw off the Iraqi government. And his response to Russia’s aggression has been timid at best.

"All he did is create a void. Or really, he created many voids all around the world. And now our enemies are stepping in to fill them. This is what happens when America does not lead. Do we think our allies have to do more? Yes, absolutely. But they will not do more to defend our shared interests if they think America will leave them in the lurch. America has to set the standard. It has to show the world—by words and by deeds—that diplomacy, trade, and cooperation are in all of our interests. Otherwise, other countries will pursue their narrow, short-term interests. And that will mean less safety for all of us.

"What I am saying is, we need a confident America. That is what will keep the peace—and keep us safe. And that is what this plan will do. In here, we lay out our four objectives: keep Americans safe at home, defeat the terrorists, advance America’s interests abroad, and renew our national security tools. And we lay out 67 policy steps we will take to put this plan into action. That means securing our borders . . . stopping cyberattacks . . . taking the fight against terrorism to the enemy. It means building a 21st-century military . . . revamping the VA for our veterans . . . and strengthening law-enforcement tools. It means expanding American influence . . . which means expanding the sphere of free enterprise . . . and expanding the community of free nations.

"That is what will restore confidence. And that is what we pledge. I am so proud of the work our members have done. This is just the second plan of our six-part agenda, which we will be unveiling over the next few weeks. If you want to learn more, go to our website: better.gop. And with that, I’d like to get our conversation started. Thank you."

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A Better Way To Keep America Safe and Free

2016/06/09

Second Plank of Bold Agenda Includes 67 Recommendations to Protect the Homeland, Defeat the Terrorists, and Tackle New Threats

WASHINGTON—Today at the Council on Foreign Relations, House Republicans unveiled an initiative that charts a better course for America’s foreign policy and national security. It is a vision for a Confident America that keeps its people safe, and keeps the peace in a dangerous world.

This is the second plank of A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of the country’s biggest challenges. The first plank, an initiative aimed at lifting people out of poverty, was released on Tuesday.

Our plan—available now at better.gop—includes 67 recommendations for Congress and the President, including ideas to:

  • Protect the Homeland. We must keep terrorists out of America, secure our borders, and stop cyberattacks.
  • Defeat the Terrorists. We must make it our top national security priority to prevail in the war against radical Islamic extremism.
  • Tackle New Threats. We must make sure our country is ready to tackle the threats of our time and beyond.
  • Defend Freedom. We must restore American influence, advance free enterprise, and expand the community of free nations.

These ideas were developed by the Task Force on National Security, which includes: Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Homeland Security Committee Vice Chair Candice Miller (R-MI), Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), and Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX).

About A Better Way. A Better Way is a bold policy agenda to address some of the country’s biggest challenges. It takes our timeless principles—liberty, free enterprise, consent of the governed—and applies them to the problems of our time. Developed with input from around the country, it starts the debate now on what we can achieve in 2017 and beyond. It is our vision for a Confident America, at home and abroad. Now we are taking these ideas to the people, so you have a clear choice about the direction of the country. To learn more, visit better.gop

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A vote to extend the pay freeze

2016/06/09

Today, the House is starting consideration of H.R. 5325, the FY17 Legislative Branch appropriations bill. This fiscally-responsible legislation increases Capitol security, allows sledding on the Hill, and funds critical government oversight tools.

This bill also reauthorizes a 100% pay freeze for Members of Congress.

The freeze has been in place since 2010, but it must be renewed annually or it expires. A serious commitment to cutting spending starts with leading by example. That’s why, since taking back the majority in 2011, Republicans have cut the cost of Congress by more than 13%.

We will continue to make good on our pledge to cut government spending by passing this important bill. And that’s the way it is.

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Congress Takes Another Important Step to Fight Zika

2016/06/08

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement on the Senate’s motion to go to conference on the Zika Response Appropriations Act. This is a necessary step to reconcile the House and Senate Zika bills and get resources to the president's desk: 

“This is an important step toward ensuring that the government has the resources to combat the spread of Zika. As House and Senate lawmakers on both sides of the aisle work to craft a responsible package that outlines specific appropriations, the administration will continue to have the money necessary to address this crisis now. In fact, at no point has there been a funding shortage. That will not change. We look forward to putting a bill on the president’s desk.” 

Related:

House Continues Working to Stop Zika Threat in America

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'The Freshest Thinking': Experts Praise A Better Way to Fight Poverty

2016/06/08

Republicans have put forward a plan containing at least 41 ideas to lift people out of poverty and onto the ladder of opportunity. This is the first plank of A Better Way, a bold agenda to tackle some of our country's biggest challenges.

Here is a look at what experts around the country are saying about our plan: 

“A House Republican working group…released a report today full of good ideas for reform of the nation’s social programs. . . . if the evidence-based proposals released today by Ryan became standard procedure in Washington and state capitals, especially by executive agencies, the nation would know a lot more about effective ways to address our nation’s most pressing social policy problems.” (Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution)

“It suggests the congressional party is interested in an approach to social policy that emphasizes subsidiarity and flexibility, that values work, and that seeks to show how conservatism can be a force for modernization in the face of the anachronism of the liberal welfare state…Today’s proposals are a meaningful step toward a serious conservative policy agenda directed to 21st century challenges…” (Yuval Levin)

“It is clearer than ever that the freshest thinking around antipoverty policy today comes from conservatives…suffused throughout the blueprint document are several themes that distinguish the agenda from others on offer. It emphasizes the centrality of work to the realization of opportunity. It prioritizes state and local experimentation and flexibility, as well as customization of benefits and services. And the agenda demands accountability from federal programs and stresses the importance of outcome measurement.” (Scott Winship, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research)

“The report is comprehensive and addresses an array of challenges ranging from early childhood development to needed services for those with disabilities. . . . The members argue that our current system is leaving too many Americans stuck at the bottom, and that better coordination of multiple federal efforts and greater focus on outcomes can lead to an increase in upward mobility. The report does not abandon old truths and successful approaches, and properly focuses on work as the key to escaping poverty.” (Robert Doar, American Enterprise Institute)

“In a nod to the limits of what the federal government can actually accomplish when tackling poverty, Republicans at the press conference stressed the importance of involving local organizations such as House of Help City of Hope… In his remarks, Ryan referenced the story of Bernard Vaughn, a recovering crack-cocaine addict that was able to beat his addiction after enrolling in rehabilitation programs offered at House of Help City of Hope. Ryan told the reporters gathered at the event that Vaughn had two words in response to his question on how he was able to beat his addiction: Shirley Holloway. According to Ryan, Bishop Holloway was able to impart on Vaughn the dignity that comes with self-restraint. “ (Opportunity Lives)

“The task force report underscores several important points, most notably that the current welfare system undermines the two foundational pillars of self-sufficiency and human flourishing: steady work and a strong family. One promising piece of the agenda is the commitment to encouraging work, which can only be accomplished by instituting and enforcing strong work requirements on all of our welfare programs.” (Heritage Action)

“As Christians, loving God and loving our neighbors includes commitment to any who suffer from hunger or poverty. We are pleased that the plan doesn’t propose to cut or institute block-grants for anti-poverty programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and that it focuses on areas of importance to ELCA hunger work, including housing, childhood education and criminal justice reform as part of the larger picture.” (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)

“We have disagreements with some of the proposals. But we are pleased that the plan doesn’t propose to cut or block-grant anti-poverty programs, and we welcome the emphasis on making programs as effective as possible. …  We look forward to seeing the Democrats’ anti-poverty plan, and to having a real debate about solutions.” (Bread of the World)

As people of faith, we are encouraged by Speaker Ryan’s sincere commitment to addressing poverty.  … Other positive aspects of the plan include its affirmation of the dignity of work and importance of good jobs as the best path out of poverty; the importance of early childhood education; the critical role asset building has in economic mobility; and the degree to which work supports, such as access to affordable child care, transportation, and stable housing, are necessary for upward mobility.” (Friends Committee on National Legislation)

“It recognizes that restoring the promise of the American dream requires more than tinkering with one or two programs; instead, it requires a complete overhaul of the federal government’s welfare, workforce, and education programs. House Republicans have laid out an ambitious blueprint of initial reforms. For the sake of current and future generations, these reforms need to be enacted and built upon.” (Conservative Reform Network)

“We’re thankful for Speaker Ryan’s leadership in recognizing the tremendous power and importance of improving education opportunities as a way to fight poverty in America. … We commend the Speaker, the House Leadership and their collective teams for putting education on the agenda as the critical link to eradicate poverty.” (Center for Education Reform)

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Statement on Prime Minister Modi's Address to Congress

2016/06/08

It was an honor to host @PMOIndia at the Capitol today. I share his commitment to strengthening our partnership. pic.twitter.com/5svfglYmJx

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 8, 2016

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to a joint meeting of Congress:

“It was an honor to host Prime Minister Modi at the Capitol today. He spoke eloquently about the importance of a strong U.S.-India relationship to promoting peace and freedom around the globe. Given the importance of fighting poverty, it was encouraging to hear the prime minister’s steadfast commitment to making sure everyone has an opportunity to rise. I share his commitment to strengthening our critical partnership, and I thank him for joining us.”

NOTE: Stay tuned to speaker.gov for more behind-the-scenes photos and videos from Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the Capitol.  

Welcome, Mr. Prime Minister. #ModiInUS https://t.co/hCENp24Obr

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 8, 2016
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A Better Way to Fight Poverty

2016/06/07

First Plank of Bold Policy Agenda Promotes Work and Family, Restores Upward Mobility, Backs Collaboration with Communities

WASHINGTON—Today, at House of Help City of Hope in Anacostia, House Republicans unveiled an initiative aimed at lifting people out of poverty and onto the ladder of opportunity. It is the first plank of A Better Way, a bold policy agenda to tackle some of the country’s biggest challenges.

Our plan includes ideas to:

  • Reward work. A good job is the surest way out of poverty. If you are capable, we will expect you to work or prepare for work.
  • Tailor benefits to people’s needs. Instead of the same failed one-size-fits-all approach, we will match poverty-fighting programs with your needs so that it’s easier to keep a job and start a family.
  • Improve skills and schools. To help protect the next generation from poverty, we will make sure that poor kids have more opportunities to succeed at every stage, from childhood through college.
  • Plan and save for the future. To help you stay on the path from dependence to independence, we will make it easier for you and your family to plan for the future and be retirement-ready.
  • Demand results. We will open up the system to accountability and collaboration with local communities, backing ideas that work on the front lines every day.

These ideas were developed by the Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility, which includes: Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA), Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), and Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX).

About A Better Way. A Better Way is a bold policy agenda to address some of the country’s biggest challenges. It takes our timeless principles—liberty, free enterprise, consent of the governed—and applies them to the problems of our time. Developed with input from around the country, it starts the debate now on what we can achieve in 2017 and beyond. It is our vision for a Confident America, at home and abroad. Now we are taking these ideas to the people, so you have a clear choice about the direction of the country. To learn more, visit better.gop.

About House of Help City of Hope. House of Help City Of Hope is a poverty-fighting organization founded by Bishop Shirley Holloway. Holloway, whose motto is “we don't see the problem; we see the person,” left her job at the U.S. Postal Service to start this faith-based residential treatment program. She was one of Speaker Ryan's guests at this year's State of the Union address.

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Your Watch Guide: Prime Minister Modi's Address to Congress

2016/06/06

On Wednesday, the leader of the world's largest democracy, India, will address a joint meeting of Congress. That means he'll join a long list of foreign leaders who have spoken in the Hall of the House, the most recent of whom was Pope Francis. Here's how you can watch and participate in this historic day:

  1. Watch the entire address live, beginning at 11am ET on speaker.gov/live.
  2. See exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos on Speaker Ryan's Facebook page and Instagram account.
  3. Get real-time updates and video highlights from Prime Minister Modi's address by following @SpeakerRyan on Twitter.
Did you know?

Prime Minister Modi will be the fifth prime minister of India to address a joint meeting of Congress, and the first since 2005. Also, this will be Speaker Ryan's first time presiding over a joint meeting of Congress, so you won't want to miss it!

Don't forget: you can watch it above or on speaker.gov/live, beginning at 11am ET on Wednesday, June 8.

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better.gop

2016/06/06

Let's face it: people know what Republicans are against. Now, we are giving you a plan that shows you what we are for

That's what A Better Way is about. It is a full slate of ideas to address some of the biggest challenges of our time, and a new website, better.gop, will be your one-stop-shop to learn more about those ideas. 

We’ll be rolling out these ideas one-by-one in the coming days, and as we do, better.gop will be frequently updated with new information—starting tomorrow with a clear plan to fight poverty in America. Stay tuned for more release dates:

  • 6/7 -  Poverty
  • 6/9 - National Security
  • Coming this month - Innovation & Investment
  • Coming this month - The Constitution
  • Coming this month - Health Care
  • Coming this month - Tax Reform

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Republicans Announce First Two Policy Rollout Events

2016/06/06

WASHINGTON—Republicans will kick off a series of policy rollouts on Tuesday at an event in Anacostia. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who announced A Better Way in last week's Republican address, will be joined by Republican lawmakers at House of Help City Of Hope, a poverty-fighting organization founded by Bishop Shirley Holloway. Holloway, whose motto is "We don't see the problem; we see the person," left her job at the U.S. Postal Service to start this faith-based program. She was one of Speaker Ryan's guests at this year's State of the Union address.

Then on Thursday, Republicans will mark the unveiling of the national security plank of their agenda at the Council on Foreign Relations. Reflecting their focus on security challenges at home and abroad, Speaker Ryan and Republican lawmakers will take part in two panels, one on "Protecting the U.S. Homeland" and one on "Defending Freedom, Advancing American Interests, and Renewing Our National Security Tools."

We will air all of these policy rollouts on speaker.gov/live.

POVERTY

When: Tuesday, June 7, 9:00-10:00 a.m. ET

Where: House of Help City of Hope, 2322 16th Street SE, Washington, DC

What: Roundtable and press conference 

Who: Speaker Paul Ryan, members of Congress, House of Help City of Hope CEO Bishop Shirley Holloway, and House of Help City of Hope residents

Media details: This event is open to members of the media only—media must have Capitol Hill press credentials to gain entry. All media interested in attending must RSVP to Molly Edwards (molly.edwards@mail.house.gov) by 5:00 p.m. today, Monday, June 6th. There will be two media opportunities: a brief photo spray at the top of the roundtable at 9:05 a.m., and a press conference at 9:40 a.m. All media with equipment must be in place by 8:00 a.m. for the security sweep. All media interested in covering the spray at the top of the roundtable must arrive by 8:45 a.m.

SECURITY

When: Thursday, June 9, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET

Where: Council on Foreign Relations, 1777 F St NW #100, Washington, DC

What: Two-panel discussion: “Protecting the U.S. Homeland” and “Defending Freedom, Advancing American Interests, and Renewing Our National Security Tools”

Who: Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and task force chairmen

Media details: Attendance to this event is by invite only, but is open to members of the press. Press interested in covering must email Jenny Mallamo at the Council on Foreign Relations (jmallamo@cfr.org) to register directly and receive additional coverage information.

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Weekly Republican Address: This Is A Better Way

2016/06/03

WASHINGTON—In this week’s Republican address, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announces the launch of A Better Way.

Our nation is on the wrong path. We can complain about it, but that won't change things. To get America back on track, we have to raise our gaze. We have to go bold. That's what A Better Way is about. It is a full slate of ideas to address some of the biggest challenges of our time. Developed with input from around the country, it looks past this president to what we can achieve in 2017 and beyond. It is our vision for a confident America, at home and abroad.

Now we are taking these ideas to the people, so that you have a clear and compelling choice for the future.

Remarks of House Speaker Paul Ryan Weekly Republican Address Speaker’s Ceremonial Office June 3, 2016

Let’s face it: people know what Republicans are against.

Now we are giving you a plan that shows you what we are for.

Our ambition is a confident America, where everyone has the chance to go out and succeed no matter where they start in life.

That is the American Idea.

But right now, the country is on the wrong path.

How do we get back on track?

Well, we can get angry, and we can stay angry…

Or we can channel that anger into action…

We can start to tackle our problems before they tackle us.

This is what Americans do.

We don’t accept decline.

We don’t give in to division.

We find a better way.

Take poverty.

For years—decades now—Washington has spent trillions of dollars on dozens of programs to fight poverty.

But we have barely moved the needle.

The war on poverty is a stalemate at best.

So we can keep doing the same things and getting the same results.

Or, instead of trapping people in poverty, we can get them on the ladder of opportunity…reward work…open our economy so everyone can make the most of their lives.

As you will see, this is what our plan does.

It takes our timeless principles—liberty, free enterprise, consent of the governed—and applies them to the problems of our time.

It makes clear what needs to change.

You will have a clear choice on poverty…jobs…taxes…security…health care…and government itself.

After decades of executive overreach, it is time we restore our Constitution.

That means we take control away from unelected bureaucrats, and give it back to the people and their representatives, so we are writing the laws that we live under.

All of us—not government—should have the biggest role to play in our lives.

That’s what this is about.

That’s why a clear choice is so important.

Because it is easy to get caught up in all the back-and-forth and the finger-pointing.

But to do this, to set things right, we need to raise our gaze. We need to go bold.

This is a chance to pull together and be part of something greater: a more inclusive, more inspiring, a more confident America.

This is a better way.

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5 Groups the Department of Labor's New Overtime Rule Hurts the Most

2016/06/02

The Department of Labor recently finalized its controversial overtime rule, which raises the salary level requirements of employees eligible for overtime from $23,660 to $47,476. More people getting paid for overtime work? Sounds great, but such a momentous federal intervention in our information economy has unintended consequences—harmful consequences that will fall directly on the people that this rule claims to help.

Here are the 5 groups most vulnerable to this rule:

1. Non-profits: Many non-profits require longer hours for employees during busy seasons and shorter hours during less busy seasons. These groups are extremely worried, and say the budget increases necessary to meet this rule will make it very difficult to provide the same level of care to those most disadvantaged in our society.

Operation Smile says the rule will “increase our payroll cost by nearly $1 million annually affecting over 50 percent of our workforce. . . this would mean 4,166 fewer surgeries provided by Operation Smile globally each year.”

Habitat for Humanity says the rule’s increase in minimum salary “represents one-third to one-quarter of the cost of building a typical Habitat home” and thus a smaller, rural affiliate “may have no choice but to cease operations, even if it is the only affordable housing provider in the community it serves.”

Similarly, the Salvation Army says that they “anticipate that staff cuts would therefore become necessary and that we would be required to reduce the religious and charitable programming that we provide nationally.” 

2. Colleges and universities: Colleges and universities are worried because so many of their jobs fall within the new salary range: IT workers, admission officers, coaches, and PhD graduates working on postdoc research. According to fiscal analyst Paul Onsager of Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the costs to the University of Wisconsin to raise salaries to meet the new threshold to avoid overtime would total $5.1 million per year. Florida International University says over 6,500 of its employees would be affected, costing the university more than $62 million. It’s no wonder that the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources and 18 other higher education groups have urged DOL for a more measured approach. Because what will be the result? Either forcing these salaried workers down to hourly wages, cutting valuable programs for students, or hiking tuition costs even higher—punishing aspiring college students and their families.

3. Startups and tech companies: Entrepreneurs starting a new business venture rely on people taking a chance on them, from the investors who lend the necessary seed money to people who jump on board early as employees. But this rule’s cost will diminish the ability of these startups—with their already limited cash flow — to succeed. Adam Robinson, the CEO of the Chicago-based Hireology and a member of the Job Creators Network, says the overtime rule “disproportionately hurts America’s capital-constrained technology startups and emerging growth companies like mine whose teams do not work typical hours and do not get typical compensation. In my experience, those working at technology startups voluntarily recognize that their positions are high-risk, high-reward ventures, and that they may have to go months or years with little pay to get a big payout in the end.” The startup technology sector is one of our economy’s best job creators. Is it a good idea for government interference to compromise this sector? Imagine if, when Apple was starting out, it had to comply with this heavy-handed rule. We may not have the iPhone today.

4. Young people: As we’ve seen, many jobs—particularly those for young people—don’t fit neatly into the 9-5 category. Working harder and longer is how people starting their careers get the experience they need. If companies must raise the minimum threshold salary for inexperienced workers, they will simply not be able to hire as many young people. Entrepreneurs lament that creative “middle-management positions will turn into clock-punching ones,” and universities say that postdoc research work options will be compromised. Taking these opportunities away from them will disadvantage young people’s careers before they even get off the ground.

5. State and local governments: The cost to increasing salaried workers at the state and local level will be disastrous for state and local budgets. These governments have very specific budgets and they’ll have to make the same difficult choice as these other sectors: raising base salaries to the new exempt threshold, converting people to an hourly rate and possibly eliminating benefits, or firing people altogether. For extra costs that can’t be mitigated, who is going to have to pick up the tab? Taxpayers.

Yeah, it’s pretty bad.

The worst part may be that the DOL is putting its head in the sand to these consequences. In a letter to the editor responding to some of these very criticisms, DOL Wage and Hour Division Administrator David Weil simply asserted that “there is no requirement under the proposal that salaried workers must become hourly.” Oh? Sorry, the rule may not have required it, but the rule most certainly caused it.

This is just the latest in a series of President Obama’s misguided regulations that the president—intent on cementing his legacy—is jamming through at any cost. Unfortunately, it’s vulnerable Americans that will have to pay that cost. That's why House Republicans will be taking action to stop this disaster of a rule that will wreak havoc on our economy.

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State Department Admits to Doctoring Video to Spin Iran Deal

2016/06/02

Last night, the self-declared “Most Transparent Administration in History” finally admitted to intentionally doctoring video from a State Department press briefing. 

In May, reports surfaced that 2013 footage of former State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki implying that the administration mislead the public about the Iran nuclear deal was inexplicably missing from the agency’s website.

For weeks the administration vehemently argued that this was nothing more than a technical “glitch,” but yesterday they acknowledged that the video was in fact selectively edited on purpose. 

This revelation comes amid a separate admission by a senior White House official that the administration spun a false narrative to sell the Iran deal. Yesterday’s news is further evidence that the administration would stop at nothing to ram through this dangerous agreement against the will of the American people.

As Speaker Ryan wrote in a recent op-ed, “When you get down to it, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the Obama administration essentially misled the American people on the Iran deal—or at least misled itself. . . . The administration can spin it anyway it likes, but this was a bad deal."

 

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How the House Does Business

2016/06/02

On day one as speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan made it clear: "We need to make some changes, starting with how the House does business." Regular order isn't always sexy, but under Speaker Ryan and the House Republican majority, it is steady and ongoing. Here are 8 photos from May that show that progress in action.

1. The Defend Trade Secrets Act

What it does: protects intellectual property and ensures that American entrepreneurs continue to create jobs and grow our economy.

Status: Signed into law ✔️

2. The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act

What it does: explicitly prevents ISIS and others from selling or smuggling black-market antiquities into the United States.

Status: Signed into law ✔️

3. The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act

What it does: supplies local law enforcement with life-saving bulletproof vests.

Status: Signed into law ✔️

4. The Fallen Heroes Flag Act

What it does: honors the families of first responders killed in the line of duty by providing a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol.

Status: Signed into law ✔️

5. H.R. 4336 - An act to amend title 38 of the U.S. Code

What it does: restores eligibility of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of WWII to have their remains placed at Arlington National Cemetery.

Status: Signed into law ✔️

6. The Transnational Drug Trafficking Act

What it does: protects American citizens from foreign drug trafficking.

Status: Signed into law ✔️

7. Conference committee appointees

What they do: work with the Senate to produce final legislation to fight the nation's opioid epidemic. 

Status: In conference with the Senate

8. The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act

What it does: boosts American manufacturing by ensuring job creators have better access to tax relief. 

Status: Signed into law ✔️

9. House Republican Policy Agenda Announcement

What it does: Beginning with a plan to combat poverty in America, the policy agenda is based on six policy issues designed to build a confident America.

Status: MUCH more to come. . .

10. The Protecting Access to Affordable Retirement Advice Act

What it does: repeals the president's harmful fiduciary rule, which hurts the very people it claims to protect.

Status: Awaiting presidential action

Bonus Photo 

Admittedly, this picture doesn't have much to do with the House returning to regular order. But isn't it cute?

Related:

  1. 10 Photos that say 'Thank You' to our Armed Forces
  2. The Top 10 Photos from April
  3. Follow @SpeakerRyan on Instagram
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No Bailout: PROMESA Act Protects Taxpayers

2016/06/01

When Natural Resources Committee leaders introduced bipartisan legislation to tackle Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, one thing was clear: It isn’t a bailout. And after the committee approved the bill, it preserved that critical principle of protecting taxpayers. 

The PROMESA Act addresses Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis at no risk to taxpayers, giving the territory the opportunity to make much-needed reforms. The only risk to taxpayer comes if we do not pass this plan.

Last week, we showed you a compilation of op-eds and editorial boards supporting PROMESA—a follow-up to our earlier round-up of conservative praise.

Here are more excerpts to help you understand important PROMESA provisions:

“The heart of the revised legislation remains the establishment of a fiscal oversight board like those successfully modeled in Washington D.C. in 1996 and New York City in 1975. It is empowered to compel the adoption of responsible, balanced budgets and, where necessary, to close government agencies and reduce the island’s bloated government workforce.” (Daily Caller: Andrew Quinlan, Center for Freedom and Prosperity)

The agreement was a rarely seen exercise in bipartisanship that has come about as Puerto Rico's debt crisis has worsened. The realization set in that the bill was a better option than a taxpayer-funded bailout that the U.S. might have to consider if Puerto Rico's economy continued on its downward trajectory. Some of the amendments themselves were bipartisan.” (NBC News)

Under Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Republicans are staring at the possibility of an important policy victory. Facing an imminent humanitarian crisis in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, a number of courageous House Republicans have stepped up to lead and carry out the important—and not always sexy—function of governing. . . . Unlike TARP or the auto bailout, PROMESA is not a bailout or a free pass for the island of Puerto Rico to continue down its disastrous path.” (Opportunity Lives)

The revised bill, introduced last week, would put Puerto Rico’s fiscal policy under the authority of a federal control board and establish a legal framework to restructure its $72 billion in debt.” (The Daily Signal)

In many ways, the bill is a big win for limited government conservatives. It has no taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico—not a single dime of taxpayer money is sent down there. Rather, Puerto Rico will have to work their own way out of $72 billion in debt and defaults.” (Forbes: Ryan Ellis, Conservative Reform Network)

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Did the Obama administration knowingly break the law?

2016/06/01

Did the Obama administration knowingly break the law? https://t.co/yRlWPlf11d

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 1, 2016

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration has been unlawfully funding parts of Obamacare. It was a major win in the House’s lawsuit against the administration for spending money without an appropriation from Congress.

And now, a bombshell report from the New York Times, based on an investigation spearheaded by the House Ways and Means Committee, reveals that experts within the administration raised these exact same concerns years ago. In 2014, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) convened what the Times describes as a “secret meeting” for IRS officials to explain its plan to fund Obamacare’s insurance subsidy program despite the fact that Congress had not appropriated money for it. The IRS didn’t buy it.

“Cost-sharing reduction payments are not linked to the Internal Revenue Code, as far as I could tell, directly anywhere,” said former IRS financial risk officer David Fisher, a briefing attendee. There is no linkage to the permanent appropriation, nor is there any link to any other appropriation that was indicating what accounts these funds should be from.”

So, the IRS—an organization not exactly known for insisting on procedural scrupulous—could not find a justification to spend this money unilaterally. Not on a permanent basis. Not on a temporary basis. Not on a one-time basis. Not on any basis whatsoever. The administration spent the money anyway.

This raises serious questions as to whether the Obama administration knowingly broke the law. As the story notes, the matter was so serious that senior administration officials—including then-Attorney General Eric Holder and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew—were personally involved in approving the spending.

The Constitution is clear: Congress holds the power of the purse. We took the administration to court to defend this power and prevent the White House from setting a dangerous new precedent of trampling the Constitution without consequence. That's why restoring the Constitution is central to our forthcoming conservative agenda for a more confident America.

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This Is Why Republicans Took On This Fight

2016/05/31

The Obama administration broke the law. That is why the House is taking the #IRS & the White House to court. pic.twitter.com/zWKrpUy8AB

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 1, 2016

Earlier this month, in a big win for the Constitution, a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration unlawfully funded parts of Obamacare without approval from Congress. The House initiated this challenge to protect the power of the purse at Speaker Boehner’s urging. Now a story in today’s New York Times reveals that administration officials at the highest levels not only took part in this plan, but actually overruled their own experts to make it happen.   In an interview this morning with WTAQ’s Jerry Bader, Speaker Ryan addressed the story and Republicans’ commitment to restore the Constitution. Here is an excerpt from his comments:

“That’s a deposition from a Ways and Means investigation that is ongoing about the Internal Revenue Service and Obamacare and how they’re misapplying taxpayer money, going around the Constitution, and violating . . . the Anti-Deficiency Act. That was a testimony from an IRS employee who was interviewed at the time. . . . We won this latest court round . . . which says ‘Yes, the administration illegally moved money around Obamacare to basically subsidize insurance companies.’ They basically gave billions of dollars, taxpayer dollars, to insurance companies, to try and make Obamacare look better than it is [and] to try to make the premium increases not as high as they otherwise would be. They did this without an appropriation of Congress . . . and Congress controls the power of the purse. You can’t spend money that Congress does not authorize or appropriate, yet that is what the IRS did. What the deposition shows you, and this is part of an ongoing investigation, is that they circumvented the law. That is why we took the IRS and the administration to court, and we have so far won; the court has said we do have standing, we are suing the president for our Article I powers, the power of the purse, the legislative branch powers. And in the ruling, the judges agreed that they have violated this. . . . We believe that the executive branch has so far exceeded its authorities, and that means we’re losing self-government.

“We’re losing the principle of government by consent. So we in Congress, whether through investigations, whether it’s through the power of the purse, whether it is through lawsuits at federal court, are doing everything we can to hold this Administration accountable for trampling on the Constitution. It’s a very important principle. We want to make sure that going forward . . . we make sure the Constitution is respected, so that we maintain one of the critical principles of conservatism, which is self-determination.”

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Zika: The Facts

2016/05/31

Democrats are talking a lot about the Zika virus . . . but they aren’t saying all that much. Let’s cut through the noise. 

The reality is that Congress has been on top of the Zika threat from the beginning. Over the past several months, it has made available the money necessary to prepare for an outbreak. In fact, the administration is already spending that money. Put simply: There is no funding shortage. There never has been.

Instead, the White House continues to politicize this public health crisis. It won't even say how much it has already spent.

As Appropriations Committee member Tom Cole (R-OK) put it“You've got plenty of money in various funds. We will backfill and replace that money as needed.”

To Rep. Cole’s point, the House approach to Zika funding has been three-pronged: First, get existing money out the door to address the immediate threat. Second, allocate needed resources for the remainder of the fiscal year. Finally, commit additional resources in the regular FY 2017 appropriations process.

To recap, here are some of the major steps taken by the House to address Zika this year:

  • February 18, 2016: When the Zika threat emerged early this year, Congress made clear to the administration that the quickest and most efficient way to get money out the door was to use existing funds. 
  • April 6, 2016: The administration finally heeded the advice of Congress and reprogrammed $589 million of unobligated Ebola funds to address Zika.  House and Senate Republicans have pledged to provide even more money beginning October 1 of this year in the FY 17 appropriations bill.
  • April 12, 2016: The House passed S. 2512, bipartisan legislation to encourage the development, testing, and distribution of a vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus. The president signed this bill into law on April 19.
  • May 18, 2016: The House passed the Zika Response Appropriations Act, which appropriates $622 million in new funding that is fully paid for. On top of the $589 million already repurposed, this bill means Congress will have allocated $1.2 billion to fight Zika in this fiscal year.
  • May 24, 2016:  The House passed H.R. 897, the Zika Vector Control Act, which removes regulatory barriers to killing mosquitoes carrying the virus.
  • May 26, 2016: The House moved to go to conference with the Senate to resolve difference on the Zika Response Appropriations Act and the Zika Vector Control Act

House and Senate Republicans have been working closely with the administration in every step of this process going back to the beginning of this year. We have provided significant resources by reprogramming authority as well as by authorizing new money in the pipeline. We will always listen to the Obama administration’s requests for more funding, discuss how much is truly needed, and work with them to determine when they need these resources.

Now is the time for collaboration and cooperation on the Zika crisis, not finger-pointing and politicization. 

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REJECTED: Obamacare for Financial Planning

2016/05/31

Good news → Congress rejected #Obamacare for financial planning. https://t.co/CtZTD7WSmR pic.twitter.com/HiTBYAcS8S

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 31, 2016

The branch closest to the people has rejected Obamacare for financial planning.

Last week, Speaker Ryan signed the Protecting Access to Affordable Retirement Advice, which repeals the president’s harmful fiduciary rule. Reps. Roe, Boustany, and Wagner led this charge in the House. 

This rule is another example of an Obama regulation that hurts the people it claims to protect—this time it’s folks saving for retirement and small business owners planning for the future.

Once again, the House and Senate used the Congressional Review Act to reject harmful executive branch regulations. It’s another way we’re working to restore the balance of powers and keep the executive in check.

The president will now have to face the people directly and either accept their will or force another unwanted, disastrous regulation upon them.

Related:

1. The House Rejects Obamacare for Financial Planning

2. Statement on Release of Fiduciary Rule

3. Ignoring Consequences, Obama Administration to Finalize Fiduciary Rule

4. Obamacare for financial planning

5. A Dictionary Definition

6.  The bureaucrats bullied it through

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

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Remarks at Memorial Day Ceremony in Rochester, WI

2016/05/30

ROCHESTER, WI — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will honor the fallen at a Memorial Day ceremony in Rochester, Wisconsin. Following are his remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Thank you very much. I’ve been going to this parade for years. It is a wonderful tradition. And every year I struggle to find the words that will express not only my gratitude, but my deep admiration. It is a noble thing to die for your country—a selfless thing, a gallant thing. And that, I think, is the reason we mark this day. Do we pray for the fallen? Yes. Do we honor their loved ones? Of course. Do we stop and think back to all the battles they fought and all the victories they won—all the suffering and the sacrifice? Absolutely. But it is not enough to recognize the cost of freedom. Today, we celebrate the people who paid it: the flesh-and-blood people who chose to enlist, who chose to fight, who chose to die.

And we ask ourselves: Would we make the same choice? Why did they?

What goes through your head when you are about to die for your country? Do you think about everything you’re leaving behind: your family, your friends, your life? Or do you think about what’s to come: your faith, heaven, God? Or maybe you do the right thing without even thinking about it. Maybe that, in fact, is the definition of character. The older I get, the more I think that you don’t plan for greatness. You don’t study or prepare for it. You just can’t. Instead, God summons it from within you.

And it is that openness to God’s grace—that acceptance of His will—that, I think, we admire most of all.

Sometimes this acceptance seems hard, if not impossible, to understand. But then there are the hundreds of veterans in our community—hundreds of people who were just as willing to lay down their lives for the rest of us. This is a day to ask them about the hardships they endured—so we can begin to understand. I think of my longtime friend Andy Speth. He served two tours in Iraq. He will tell you how, in his first tour, he would wait all week to make a 10-minute phone call back home. They all did. And they say it without a hint of bitterness or resentment. They were glad to give. They were happy to serve. They remind us that character is not just something we can understand; it is something we can aspire to.

I will close with this: I think it is fitting that a white horse led this year’s parade just as one did more than 150 years ago—because this tradition really does go all the way back to the Civil War. It makes me think of a man who served in that war: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.—one of the most famous judges to sit on the Supreme Court. He lived a long life—until he was 93 years old. And yet every year, on the anniversary of the battle of Antietam, he would raise a toast in memory of his fallen comrades. To me, it symbolizes the greatness of America—that in this country, the rich and the wise will bow to the brave.

Today, all of us bow to the people who died for our country. Thank you and God bless you.

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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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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.