Speaker of the House

Paul Ryan

Not Your Typical Friday Roundup II

2016/04/29

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

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

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 28, 2016

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

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

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 28, 2016

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

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

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

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

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Statement on Passage of School Choice Reauthorization

2016/04/29

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

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 29, 2016

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

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

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The House Rejects Obamacare for Financial Planning

2016/04/28

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

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

Related:

1.          Statement on Release of Fiduciary Rule

2.          Ignoring Consequences, Obama Administration to Finalize Fiduciary Rule

3.          Obamacare for financial planning

4.          A Dictionary Definition

5.          The bureaucrats bullied it through

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

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

2016/04/28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016/04/28

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

 

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

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

2016/04/27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless you, and God bless America.

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FULL REMARKS: Speaker Ryan Holds Millennial Town Hall at Georgetown

2016/04/27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016/04/27

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

Mayor Bowser supports it.

A majority of the city council supports it.

A wide variety of groups support it.

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

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

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

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

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It's a Busy Week in the House

2016/04/27

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

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

A Busy Week in the House

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

2016/04/27

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

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

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The People's House Is Hard at Work

2016/04/27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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"There will be no taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico"

2016/04/26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related: 

1. Conservative Groups Back Puerto Rico Bill

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

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

4. Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

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Sneak Peek of Millennial Town Hall at Georgetown University

2016/04/26

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

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

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

Transcript:

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

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

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House Receives 18th Consecutive Clean Financial Audit

2016/04/26

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

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

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This is about protecting your emails:

2016/04/26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

2016/04/26

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

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

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

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

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America Can Do Better

2016/04/25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016/04/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Not Your Typical Friday Roundup

2016/04/22

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

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

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

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

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 20, 2016

 

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

 

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

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

2016/04/22

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

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

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

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

2016/04/21

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

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

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

Wait—what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016/04/21

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

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

On fighting opioid abuse:

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

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Rep. Evan Jenkins to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2016/04/21

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

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

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

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

2016/04/20

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

Americans for Tax Reform: PROMESA Contains No Bailout

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related:

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

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

3.       Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

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Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Iranian Terror Victims

2016/04/20

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

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

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

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

2016/04/20

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

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

VERIFIED: MTBs are good for growth.

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

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

VERIFIED: New MTB process protects American companies and taxpayers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

VERIFIED: New MTB process affirms the House earmark ban.

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

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

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

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

2016/04/20

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

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

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Speaker Ryan Addresses EPPC’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

2016/04/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016/04/19

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

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

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

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

Yes, we actually need a law for this.

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

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

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

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

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

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 19, 2016

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

2016/04/19

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

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

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

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

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

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The 21st Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing

2016/04/19

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

It seems almost like yesterday.

And for me, it’s personal.

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

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

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

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

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

I hope the whole country does too.

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

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Puerto Rico: "Progress, not a bailout"

2016/04/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related:

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

2.      Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation 

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3 Reasons Why the IRS is Failing You This Tax Day

2016/04/18

Yes, it’s Tax Day—a day of groaning and sighing for Americans across the country. Last week, Speaker Ryan outlined three major reasons why the IRS is—yet again—failing the American people this tax season:

1)      The agency has a leadership deficit

2)      There’s a huge lack of transparency

3)      The agency is implementing a tax code that is way too complicated.

Despite the fact that there is a Democratic president in charge of this agency, House Republicans are doing all we can to fix these problems. In December, the House passed legislation to provide hardworking Americans and small businesses with permanent tax relief, as well as a separate bill that included major provisions to rein in the IRS. We have been continuing our aggressive oversight of the IRS in 2016. The Task Force on Tax Reform, a pillar of our agenda project is working on ways to simplify the tax code and make it work for all Americans. Here are Speaker Ryan’s full remarks:

“I think that the IRS is not being led well. I think the IRS misled Americans. I think the IRS is not on top of their game with respect to preventing hacking from occurring in the future . . .I also think the IRS is implementing a horrible tax code. And I think the real solution at the end of the day is comprehensive tax reform, something our agenda project is going to be working on.

“I support [Oversight Committee] Chairman Chaffetz in his oversight and [Ways and Means] Subcommittee Chairman Roskam and Full Committee Chairman Brady in their oversight that they’ve been doing on the IRS. Look, we would not have gotten as much done with respect to the IRS—the riders we got in...at the end of last year, the uncovering of the political targeting that was occurring by the IRS—that is because of oversight in the House of Representatives. I believe we have been doing our jobs in conducting oversight by bringing some accountability and oversight to an agency that has gone beyond its mission . . . What I think we need to do is win an election, get better people in these agencies, and reform the tax code so we’re not harassing the average taxpayer with a tax code they can’t understand.”

Continued oversight and a reformed tax code that serves the American people is absolutely vital to restoring a Confident America.

Related:

1.       Our Fight to Hold the IRS Accountable Continues

2.       Guest Post: The IRS Needs to Do More to Protect Taxpayers

3.       Here are 3 Questions the IRS Commissioner Needs to Answer Today

4.       IRS Chief to Face House Panel as Cybersecurity Concerns Intensify

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The Administration Should Rule Out Additional Concessions to Iran

2016/04/18

Two weeks ago, reports surfaced that the Obama administration was contemplating granting Iran access to the dollar—a move that would give Tehran an economic windfall outside the parameters of the nuclear agreement.

Understandably, the news sparked swift backlash from Republicans and Democrats in Congress, including Speaker Ryan, who said that “the president should abandon this plan.”

In response, the administration has sent vague, mixed signals on what it will do next. Our concern is that there are at least four workarounds to provide Iran with access to the dollar, including dollar-denominated transactions, dollar-clearing, dollar-based conversions, and dollar-related foreign currency transactions.

Here’s the bottom line: The administration should definitively rule out any potential workaround that provides Iran—directly or indirectly—with access to the dollar or the U.S. financial system.

Instead of helping the regime get richer, the administration should hold it accountable for its continued ballistic missile tests, egregious human rights violations, and support for terrorism. We will continue to oppose any efforts to grant further concessions to the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism.

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The Borinqueneers

2016/04/18

Heroism, valor, and courage – these characteristics are the very core of all veterans who have fought & sacrificed for the United States. When the stories of battles fought are told, often lost are the moments of incredible compassion and decency that these men and women have shown when fighting abroad. Last week, Speaker Ryan was privileged to hear one of those lesser-known stories from Colonel John Palese, who traveled from Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his sons to see the 65th Infantry Regiment, the “Borinqueneers,” honored with a Congressional Gold Medal.  

In the brief periods between combat and triage on the front lines, Colonel Palese, who served as a battalion surgeon in World War II and Korea, found time to care for others. He shared one story with Speaker Paul Ryan, recalling the day a Korean couple came to his aid station with their very sick baby boy. Despite strict instructions that medicine was only for soldiers, John knew he couldn’t let this baby die, and gave him a lifesaving injection of penicillin. Weeks later, the couple returned with their very healthy baby boy. It is that kindheartedness and sense of duty to others that helped set the Borinqueneers apart. 

The Borinqueneers often found moments of kindness and joy to help them persevere through the hardship and despair they endured during the battles they fought. That joy and pride of service was felt throughout the ceremony where they were honored with a Congressional Gold Medal. Shortly after Colonel Manuel Siverio accepted the medal on behalf of the Borinqueneers, the crowd of over one hundred veterans and their guests sang “En mi viejo San Juan,” a song written for a Puerto Rican soldier feeling homesick while fighting in World War II. It’s a moment worth watching, and one that captures the spirit and camaraderie of the Borinqueneers. 

You can watch Speaker Ryan's remarks from the ceremony below and learn more about the history and service of the Borinqueneers from the links below the video.

Related: 

  1. Watch the full Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony (1 hour, 10 minutes)
  2. Speaker Ryan Presents the Congressional Gold Medal to the Borinqueneers
  3. More information about the 65th Infantry Regiment
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Speaker Ryan on United States v. Texas Oral Arguments

2016/04/18

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement ahead of today’s oral arguments in United States v. Texas, during which the House of Representatives will weigh in on whether the president violated his duty to faithfully execute the laws:

“The Constitution is clear: Presidents don’t write laws, Congress does. Presidents may disagree with the laws, but they are not free to ignore those laws and have unelected bureaucrats write new ones. This is a threat to self-government itself. We have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution, and today at the Supreme Court, we will do just that.”

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. Here is a key quote, from p. 35 of the full brief:

“Under our Constitution, Congress is entrusted with 'All legislative Powers,' including the 'Power To … establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.' The Executive may disagree with the laws Congress enacts and may try to persuade Congress to change them. But neither any immigration law now on the books nor the Constitution empowers the Executive to authorize—let alone facilitate—the prospective violation of those laws on a massive class-wide scale.” 

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.

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A Strong America is Desperately Needed

2016/04/15

Yesterday, Speaker Ryan hosted a roundtable with foreign policy reporters to discuss his recent trip to key Middle East allies, including Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Check out some of the latest clips from yesterday’s discussion:

Peace Through Strength

“Ryan outlined his foreign policy as that of a realist seeking peace through strength—a position which requires robust economic growth at home in order for these foreign aid programs to remain viable, he said. . . . Ryan recently visited Israel on his first trip abroad as speaker of the House. The trip was enlightening, he said, as US allies across the region expressed deep concern with the extreme ‘retrenchment’ and 'Middle East fatigue' of the Obama administration.” (Jerusalem Post)

“By his own account, Ryan’s perspective was formed much earlier. Like most Republicans, Ryan said he wants a strong military with a robust budget and for the United States to be actively engaged in the world because the country can’t ‘just pull back and think that our oceans are going to save us.’. . . . The speaker also said he believes in ‘important soft power projection like trade agreements, like democracy building’—which is why he worked on crafting Middle East trade deals during his time on the Ways and Means Committee.” (Washington Post)

“Like many Republicans, he frequently advocates for deeper defense spending and democracy promotion abroad—core tenets of neoconservatism. But he’s also a fiscal hawk and a skeptic of nation-building and regime-change efforts, as he explained on Thursday. ‘You have to be realistic,’ he said in his Capitol Hill office. ‘I was in Afghanistan pretty much as soon as the first [Congressional delegation] let us in. We are really good at winning the front end of these things but the backend has a huge tail that you have to be really committed to.’” (Foreign Policy)

"He advocated a strong military as a deterrent to the need to become embroiled abroad, in contrast both to Republican calls for more aggressive military action and to Democrats willing to pare back the U.S. military presence abroad. . . . Mr. Ryan stressed pragmatism in foreign policy, citing his work in Congress on free trade agreements. 'Important soft power projection like trade agreements, like democracy building. . . is the realistic way of pushing our values without toppling and kicking over dictators and putting boots on the ground,' he said." (Wall Street Journal)

 

Foe of the Iran Deal

“Ryan, a foe of the international nuclear agreement with Iran, also expressed concern about business deals with Tehran and other outreach in the aftermath of the landmark pact that lifted years of economic sanctions in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program. ‘I worry about that,’ Ryan said. ‘I worry that so much toothpaste is going to get out of the tube that we're not going to be able to put much back in. And I do believe that next year, with the new government, we need to put as much of this toothpaste back in the tube that we can.’” (Associated Press)

“Ryan spoke at length about encountering deep concerns from officials in Israel and Saudi Arabia alike about Obama’s agreement with Iran to curb that nation’s atomic ambitions. . . . Ryan called for taking a tougher line on Iran over its ballistic missile tests and trying to roll back efforts by major U.S. companies like Boeing to engage Tehran in hopes of doing business once international sanctions related to the Islamic republic’s nuclear programs melt away.” (Yahoo! News)

Standing By Our Allies

“U.S. allies in the Middle East are worried about America’s commitment to them, House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) said Thursday. . . . Ryan said U.S. allies expressed particular concern over remarks President Obama made in a recent interview with The Atlantic, in which he characterized them as ‘frustrating, high-maintenance allies’ that ‘seek to exploit American 'muscle' for their own narrow sectarian ends.’ The Speaker said some leaders even quoted parts of the article to him verbatim in certain countries.” (The Hill)

Ryan also said he was opposed to a potential move at the United Nations by the Obama administration that might set the outline of a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, an action the Israelis strongly oppose. ‘We've got to make sure nothing funny happens at the U.N. to short-circuit a two-state solution by those two states,’ Ryan said.” (POLITICO)

“[Ryan] said he had raised the rights issue with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The aid package for Cairo has been in focus in Washington because of growing unease among both Ryan's fellow Republicans and Democrats that Sisi's government is exploiting security concerns to crack down on dissent. Ryan said he told Sisi: ‘You make it more difficult for us to be supportive of you when you have so many human rights violations,’ adding that every U.S. official who visited Cairo should make that case.” (Reuters)

Related:

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Our Fight to Hold the IRS Accountable Continues

2016/04/15

The IRS misled Americans. It shouldn't. These bureaucrats abused their power by targeting conservatives based on their political beliefs. And then the IRS misled the American people by attempting to downplay this scandal.

Sadly, the IRS is still failing you. On the eve of Tax Day, the agency faces new evidence that it is unable to protect your most sensitive personal information from hackers. That's right: You have no choice but to send the IRS your information even though we know it's not doing enough to protect that data. I have called on the IRS commissioner to immediately fix this problem. His response? “It’s a complicated world.”

The commissioner is absolutely right. It is a complicated world—for hardworking taxpayersAren't we all sick and tired of these excuses?

We will not let the IRS get away with this. Last year, we enacted seven commonsense bills to rein in the agency and hold its employees accountable. And this week, the House will pass four additional measures to make the IRS work for taxpayers—not corrupt government bureaucrats.

We don't just need a new culture at the IRS—we need a new tax code. No one can understand the one we have now. That’s why House Republicans have made overhauling this broken system central to our agenda to restore a Confident America.

The IRS needs to change.

Sincerely,

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Bringing Hannah Home: An Adoption Story

2016/04/15

Every year, thousands of families across the United States make the rewarding decision to adopt a child from another country, including from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the DRC. But since 2013, more than 1,000 children have tragically been prevented from joining their new families. Here’s the backstory: In September 2013, the DRC’s government decided to suspend exit permits for adopted children, prohibiting them from departing the DRC despite possessing valid visas to enter the United States effective immediately. That means that children who were legally adopted in the United States and the DRC—making the adoptive persons their legal parents—are being kept in the DRC against their will. Consider Kristie and Dale Nixon of Kenosha, WI—constituents of Speaker Ryan. In June 2013, they were officially recognized by the DRC as parents of a then-seven-month-old daughter Hannah. However, it wasn’t until February 2016—nearly three years later—that Hannah was approved to receive her exit letter and the Nixons were finally united with their daughter. Unfortunately, many other families have experienced similar heartache. Since the DRC suspended exit permits in September 2013, adoptive parents all over America have been painfully—and illegally—separated from their children. That’s when the phone calls to Washington began. And on the other end of the line, Congress was listening. Fast forward to a meeting with Speaker Ryan in February, when some of these Wisconsin parents—including Dale Nixon—shared their personal stories with the speaker. 

In turn, Speaker Ryan updated them on Congress’s efforts to provoke a change in the Congolese policy—like enacting legislation to reimburse parents for continued expenses of visa renewals; writing scores of letters—including to President Obama—seeking action; pressing DRC President Kabilia personally; and passing a resolution calling on the DRC to resume issuing exit permits for adopted children—expediting those which involve children who are sick. A congressional delegation, led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, visited the DRC to meet with government officials directly. This work is making a difference. As of March 24, 2016, exit permits were issued to nearly 330 children. While the work is not over, as an estimated 100 more children await approval, fewer families are stuck in limbo than when this began. P.S. Wondering why Kristie Nixon was unable to meet with Speaker Ryan in February alongside her husband? Because she was in the DRC, picking up Hannah to finally bring her home, pictured below. That’s the happy ending all of these families deserve—and though there’s still work to be done, we’re optimistic that we’re almost to the finish line. Mark our words—Congress won’t rest until there are no children needlessly separated from their parents in the U.S.

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House Passes Legislation to Protect Your Internet Freedom

2016/04/15

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 2666, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act: “There is no authority or need for the federal government to regulate the Internet. Today, Congress took action to ensure that the Internet remains a free market. This initiative blocks unelected bureaucrats in Washington from dictating how people use the Internet. I applaud Rep. Kinzinger for his leadership on this legislation that protects Americans’ Internet freedom.” 

There is no authority or need for the federal government to regulate the internet. That’s why the House passed legislation to protect your internet freedom.

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday, April 18, 2016
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Guest Post: The IRS Needs to Do More to Protect Taxpayers

2016/04/15

Are you worried about identity theft? Tax forms ask for quite a bit of personal information, information that you normally don’t just give out. And theft of this information can happen to anyone. In fact, last tax season, my personal information was stolen. In 2014, a return was filed in my name and my wife’s name and a refund was requested. The problem was it was not my return.

Tax-related identity theft is an evolving criminal activity that targets innocent taxpayers nationwide and robs the Treasury of billions of dollars every year. A 2014 GAO report found that identity thieves received over $5.2 billion from the IRS that year—a $1.6 billion year-over-year increase.

As a CPA, I came to Washington to help simplify our tax code and ensure our system works fairly for hardworking taxpayers. That’s why I introduced legislation with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) last fall to curb the growing threat of tax-related identity theft, an important first step towards protecting taxpayers from the criminals who prey on them. Core components of that bill were signed into law last December, including a measure to close the two-month gap between when employers provide W-2s to their employees and when they need to deliver them to the government. Last filing season, the IRS received over 90 million returns during that window where the IRS was unable to verify key information before issuing refunds. Closing this gap will take effect next tax season. 

As an independent watchdog recently uncovered, the IRS is still highly vulnerable to cybersecurity risks, potentially exposing taxpayers’ most sensitive data to hackers—just like mine was. Following the report, Speaker Ryan called on the IRS to act immediately to strengthen security and better protect taxpayers.

This is also why enacting our bill’s remaining components would further help combat theft and better assist victims. The measures include ensuring a centralized point of contact at the IRS for identity theft victims, improving taxpayer notification of suspected identity theft, and giving taxpayers the opportunity to opt-out of electronic filing.

Tax-related identity theft is one of the most pressing challenges we face in the world of tax administration, and we will do all we can to ensure that your hard-earned money is better protected from this threat.

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Learn more about Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) by following him on Twitter, liking his Facebook page, or visiting his website. If you are concerned about identity theft, make your voice heard here.

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Congress Fights Zika Virus Threat

2016/04/14

This week, Congress acted to fight the threat of the Zika virus in the United States. Today, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) joined Speaker Ryan as he signed bipartisan legislation to accelerate the development of a treatment—and ultimately a cure—for the virus. Rep. Brooks introduced the House version of this legislation.

Congress continues to work to ensure the administration has the tools it needs to combat this public health crisis.

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Speaker Ryan Discusses School Choice, Middle East Visit during Weekly Press Briefing

2016/04/14

Today at his weekly press briefing, Speaker Ryan applauded the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's efforts to pass the SOAR Act, legislation that will renew the school choice program in Washington, DC. Speaker Ryan also offered an update on his recent trip to the Middle East, citing the importance of American leadership and standing by our allies. Below are Speaker Ryan's full opening remarks:

“This morning, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved bipartisan legislation to renew the school choice program here in Washington, DC. As you know, this is an initiative long championed by John Boehner. “Over the years, the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program has helped thousands of kids get a quality education. The numbers show overwhelmingly that when we give more families a choice, more students succeed. It's just that simple.  “To me, this initiative embodies the American Idea: the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life. Where you grow up should not determine how far you go in this country. “So I want to thank Chairman Chaffetz. I also want to thank Mayor Bowser for her support. Let’s get this done for these kids.

“Second, I'd like to discuss our visit to the Middle East last week. Right now, there is a very real sense abroad that American foreign policy is turning away from our traditional allies and our traditional partners.  “I led a bipartisan delegation to let our partners in the region know that they are not forgotten. We in Congress—speaking on behalf of our constituents, the American people—we remain committed to defeating ISIS and stabilizing the region. We are still in this fight. It was very important to make this message clear to our allies. “I chose, as the first location of my visit and my first delegation as speaker, to go to Israel. I chose to go to Israel because I thought it was important to show our solidarity with the Israeli people. We also wanted our Sunni allies—Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt—we wanted them to know that we appreciate how they are on the front lines of this fight. We understand that any of these governments falling—a failed state, if you willright now would completely unravel the region and would undermine American national security interests. 

“On the Iran deal, there is great concern about what this regime is going to do with the billions of dollars it now has access to. This is one of the reasons why I am adamantly opposed to any steps this administration may take to give Iran access to the dollar. The president simply needs to drop the idea altogether.

“My biggest takeaway is this: Our friends and our allies want American leadership. In the absence of that leadership, our partners are going to go looking for alternatives—inferior alternatives. We need a strong America leading with our allies to confront the threats not only that are in front of us right now, but those threats that occur over the long term as well. We need to deal with this problem in a very comprehensive way so that our children do not have to confront it.

“This is a generational defining moment for our country, at home and abroad.”

 

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7 Photos from the Middle East

2016/04/14

Earlier this week, Speaker Ryan returned from his first foreign visit as speaker. He and his bipartisan delegation of House members stopped in five countries over eight days, reassuring our allies in the Middle East that the United States remains committed to defeating radical Islam.

1. The Western Wall // Israel

2. The Iron Dome  //  Israel

3. The Prime Minister  //  Israel

4. The Dome of the Rock  // Israel

5.  The King  //  Jordan

6.  The Speakers  //  Egypt

7.  The Marines  //  Germany

Related:

  1. PHOTOS: Ryan Delegation Meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu
  2. VIDEO: Speaker Ryan's First Foreign Visit as Speaker
  3. PHOTOS: Ryan Delegation Reaches Jordan
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Here Are 3 Questions the IRS Commissioner Needs to Answer Today:

2016/04/14

Today, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will face House lawmakers for the first time since an independent watchdog uncovered his agency’s continued failure to protect taxpayer data from hackers. Stream the hearing live starting at 10 a.m. ET at science.house.gov.

We won’t be there asking the questions, but here are three we think Commissioner Koskinen needs to answer:

1.    I’d like to read you a quote from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which says itcontinues to identify significant security weaknesses that could affect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of financial and sensitive taxpayer data.” The American people have no choice but to send the IRS their data, even though we know you are not doing enough to secure that data. Can you, right now, assure American taxpayers that their data is 100 percent secure? And if not, why not?

2.    The GAO recently offered your agency 43 separate recommendations to help protect taxpayers from hackers. We called on you to immediately adopt these reforms. You said you would get back to us. When? What is the holdup? Why not pledge to do these things now?

3.    Often we hear these problems attributed to budgetary concerns. In recent years, however, this Congress boosted your resources for cybersecurity to prevent problems like these. What did you do with the funding? Here’s a headline: “IRS CYBERSECURITY STAFF WAS CUT AS BUDGET ROSE.” Why did the agency slash its cybersecurity staff despite receiving additional resources?

Year after year, we’ve heard the same excuses from the IRS. Now we want to see results. Commissioner Koskinen needs to prove to Congress and the American people that cybersecurity is a top priority for his agency.

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U.S. Congress Presents Gold Medal to the Borinqueneers

2016/04/13

WASHINGTON—U.S. House and Senate leaders today presented a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the 65th Infantry Regiment “Borinqueneers” for its pioneering military service, devotion to duty, and many acts of valor in the face of adversity. The ceremony took place in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. The following are Speaker Ryan’s remarks prior to the presentation of the medal, as prepared for delivery:

When you start learning about the Borinqueneers and their history, the question that keeps coming to mind is, 'Would you fight for a country that discriminated against you?' Would you fight in an army that put you in a segregated unit? And would you fight—without any guarantee—that one day, way down the line, your country would finally recognize your service? Because these men did.

It takes a certain caliber of man to do that. And I recently heard a story that makes this point beautifully. It’s about one of the men I mentioned earlier: John Palese. He was a doctor serving in Korea. And one day, a Korean couple came to his aid station with their very sick baby son. He had a severe case of pneumonia.

Well, there was this new, wonder drug called penicillin that John knew could save the boy. But there were strict rules about its use. You were supposed to give it to American soldiers only. But as John later said, 'I couldn’t let that baby die,' so he gave their son an injection.

Six weeks later, the couple came to visit John at his aid station—now many miles from where he had met them—and they thanked him for curing their son. In exchange, they offered him a big bag of chestnuts, and he gladly accepted.

I tell that story because I think it illustrates what we admire about the Borinqueneers: They showed us time and time again that courage does not know color—that decency does not pick sides. These men did not fight to preserve the status quo; they fought to make their country better. And they succeeded. Their decency was so plain, their courage was so obvious, that now the whole country has honored them for their valor. The story of the 65th Infantry Regiment is full of heroism and sacrifice. With this medal we are weaving that story into the fabric of American history—and now that history is much brighter for it.

Related:Gold Medal Ceremony: Congress to Honor 65th Infantry Regime, the Borinqueneers

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

2016/04/13

Puerto Rico—a territory of the United States—is in trouble. It is on the brink of a financial collapse that will affect millions of Americans, both in Puerto Rico and the U.S., as it moves forward to defaulting on $72 billion of debt. And it’s only getting worse. Just last week there were threats of a run on the territory’s banks when the Puerto Rican government enacted a bill to halt all debt payments.

The economic carnage of doing nothing will not be contained on the island. We need a solution. But has to be one that protects taxpayers and holds the right people accountable for the financial mismanagement that got us here.

The Natural Resources Committee has taken the lead in developing conservative legislation that rules out taxpayer bailouts and puts Puerto Rico on a pathway to fiscal health. H.R. 4900, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), introduced by Rep. Duffy (R-WI) enables Congress to appoint an independent financial control board that has the authority to go in, figure out what’s on the books, and institute the structural changes to Puerto Rico’s fiscal affairs before any debt restructuring is addressed.

Despite the buzzwords and special interest ad campaigns with deep pockets, here’s the VERIFIED truth about the bill:

VERIFIED: No bailout. H.R. 4900 protects American taxpayers from a bailout. Instead of a bailout without strings attached, the financial control board appointed by Congress will address the root causes of Puerto Rico’s financial crisis by auditing the financial records and making the necessary structural changes to Puerto Rico’s budgetary and spending policies.

VERIFIED: This PREVENTS a bailout. If Congress fails to act and Puerto Rico fails to make debt payments in the coming months, large-scale defaults will occur. This legislation would avoid this nightmare scenario, which would be disastrous for Puerto Rico, the American bond market, and American taxpayers. In fact, many big-money interest groups on Wall Street know this and have put a lot of money toward sabotaging this legislation in order to force a last-minute bailout upon Puerto Rico, putting U.S. taxpayers on the hook for their bad loans. They call this a bailout, because they know it is not. And a bailout is what they want.

VERIFIED: This protects against a dangerous precedent. A lot of people (especially those on the Left) have been calling on Congress to change the bankruptcy code to give Puerto Rico access to Chapter 9 bankruptcy. This would set a dangerous precedent for U.S. states to get bailed out any time they were in fiscal trouble. We rejected this path. Instead, the legislation protects American taxpayers from being the lender of last resort—now and into the future.

VERIFIED: This is constitutional. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and the Constitution explicitly gives Congress the power to “make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the U.S.” Need we say more?

VERIFIED: This holds the right people accountable. Rather than getting a handout from taxpayers, both Puerto Rico and Wall Street will have to make amends for their involvement with this mess. The Puerto Rican government paved the way for this disaster with decades of irresponsible policies like overspending and fiscal mismanagement. Wall Street didn’t help by giving the government loans that it was clear it couldn't pay back. The Puerto Rican government’s ceding of its authority to the financial control board is a huge, but necessary move that will ensure Puerto Rico will learn fiscal discipline from a board of experts who can create efficiencies in state-run corporations.

VERIFIED: Debt restructuring will happen, with or without Congress. The Puerto Rican government has already broken its fiscal obligations when it passed a moratorium on repaying any of its debt. This legislation gives Congress a chance to bring order to debt restructuring. Only after the control board makes the necessary financial audits will any deals with debt restructuring be addressed in a fair and systematic way. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote this weekend, “Federal overseers should also be in charge of crafting a debt readjustment and fiscal rehabilitation plan that covers general obligation and public agency bonds, labor contracts as well as public-worker pensions. Enabling contracts to be impaired ex post facto is rarely good policy, but the alternative is now a haphazard default dictated by Puerto Rican politicians. A federal judge . . . would be best situated to mediate negotiations, determine creditor classes, resolve claim priorities and rule on whether the readjustment plan is fair and equitable to creditors. The board should continue to oversee the government’s finances for at least a decade.”

H.R. 4900 is good, conservative, commonsense legislation that protects American taxpayers and gives Puerto Rico hope of economic revitalization.

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Speaker Ryan: ‘We Can Win This Battle’ against Opioid Addiction

2016/04/13

This morning during a press conference with Republican leaders, Speaker Ryan discussed why addressing the opioid epidemic is so important to the House, and previewed what that process will look like in cooperation with the Senate. Below are Speaker Ryan’s opening remarks at today’s press briefing:

“Nick, thanks for being here today. That was very, very insightful and helpful. And I also want to thank Barbara Comstock for bringing Nick today.

“They are absolutely right. You heard it from Nick. This epidemic does not discriminate. It is not about politics. It is personal. This can happen to anyone. And it can tear apart any family. And this can tear apart every community.

“In Wisconsin, where I come from—according to the latest statistics, just like Barbara said—more people die from drug overdoses than they died from traffic accidents in our own home state. Many states, including ours, have stepped up to take on this problem.  “Now we need to take action at the national level. That is why the House will soon move legislation to combat this deadly abuse. 

“I’ll let Leader McCarthy get into the details about how we’re going to do this. The more important point here is there is common ground here. The issue of opioid abuse is an issue we will be tackling. “The Senate has passed a very good bipartisan bill. The president has put forward some of his own good ideas. So we can get this done, and we can win this battle.  “And that is why we here in the House are bringing our ideas to the table, too. Going through the committee process to meet with the Senate so we can make sure that we actually advance a solution to this problem. That is why it is important to follow the lead of people like Nick. His message is one of redemption.

“This is a very important message for all of us, personally and nationally. By coming together, we can help save lives and get more people on the road to recovery.”

NOTE: Speaker Ryan’s comments come just days after Rep. Bold Dold of Illinois addressed the nationwide crisis in the Weekly Republican Address, which can be viewed here.

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Take a Tour of the Capitol Restoration Project

2016/04/13

The Capitol is on the mend—on time and under budget. To see just what these renovations are about, Speaker Ryan took NBC News’s TODAY Show for a behind-the-scenes tour of one of the nation’s most historic landmarks as it nears the end of its biggest restoration since 1960. Joined by NBC’s Peter Alexander and the architect of the Capitol, Stephen Ayers, the segment takes viewers on a journey up the steps of the dome and to the roof of the Capitol, for views even the speaker hadn’t seen before. Want a preview? Here’s a fun fact: While many think the Capitol’s detailing is made of stone, it’s actually made of cast iron. That’s something they don’t teach you in the classroom, folks. To learn more about the nation’s Capitol building and take a virtual tour of your own, check out the full video here

 

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Statement on Puerto Rico Legislation

2016/04/12

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement in response to the introduction of H.R. 4900, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which would prevent a taxpayer bailout for the territory: 

“A troubling new development has underlined the need to address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. Last week, the Puerto Rican government broke its fiscal obligations when it passed a moratorium on repaying any of its debt. Congress has a Constitutional and financial responsibility to bring order to the chaos that is unfolding in the U.S. territory—chaos that could soon wreak havoc on the American bond market. I applaud Rep. Duffy for introducing H.R. 4900, which holds the right people accountable for the crisis, shrinks the size of government, and authorizes an independent board to help get Puerto Rico on a path to fiscal health. Just as important for the long-term, this bill protects American taxpayers from bailing out Puerto Rico. I want to thank Chairman Bishop for his leadership in developing this responsible legislation.”

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Congress Is Acting to Protect Americans From Zika

2016/04/12

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after the House passed S. 2512, bipartisan legislation to incentivize the development, testing, and distribution of a vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus:

“We continue to act to protect Americans from the Zika virus. Last week, the Obama administration agreed to redirect existing funds to assure the quickest response to the outbreak. Today, the House approved bipartisan legislation to aid in that response. Soon to be law, this measure will make it easier to develop vaccines and treatments for patients, especially women and children. We will continue to monitor the government’s response, and work to protect the American people. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our public health officials who are working to combat this threat.”

 

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Speaker Ryan's First Foreign Visit as Speaker

2016/04/12

This week, Speaker Ryan returned from his first foreign visit as speaker of the House. He and a bipartisan delegation of House members visited five countries in eight days, where they met with dozens of senior government and military officials and consistently delivered a single, clear message:

  • ISIS must be destroyed. The United States is committed to defeating radical Islam that threatens freedom and stability throughout the world.

Check out the one-minute video below to see highlights from Speaker Ryan's trip.

"ISIS and other extremists are intent on expanding their reach – in the Middle East, but also the West. That means we must strengthen our relationships and increase cooperation with our regional allies and partners. This has brought me and a bipartisan senior delegation of House members to the Middle East.

"First stop: our greatest ally in the region. With Israel, we have shared values. And also face mutual security threats. I’m proud that my first foreign visit as speaker was to Israel. Our historic alliance is more important now than ever. But to win this fight, we need cooperation with all friends in the region.

"That’s why we also visited three Sunni nations who are on the front lines, working with us to defeat ISIS and radical Islam. In Jordan…Saudi Arabia…and Egypt, we spoke with their leaders about the importance of our strategic alliances, and what we must do to create a stable and secure Middle East.

"Our message to our allies in this region was clear: we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in this fight to destroy ISIS. We will do all that we can to destroy this evil."

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IRS Chief to Face House Panel as Cybersecurity Concerns Intensify

2016/04/11

With tax day right around the corner, the last thing you should have to worry about is the safety of your sensitive personal and financial information. Yet, this Thursday, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will appear before a key House panel amid growing concerns that his agency is woefully unprepared to protect taxpayer data from cyberattacks.

The hearing follows a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that highlights severe cybersecurity vulnerabilities at the IRS, which could expose taxpayer’s most sensitive data to hackers. Speaker Ryan called on the agency to immediately implement 43 GAO recommendations to strengthen security in light of this report.

As The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial board recently explained:

“IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who says the agency's systems are sound, hasn't indicated what steps will be taken to address the GAO's latest findings. At the same time, he pointed out the agency's 'human capital resource limitations.' But changing passwords and limiting staff access to taxpayers' personal information are matters of common sense, not cash flow. It's past time for the IRS to exercise more of the former to secure its data and reclaim its credibility.

Americans are rightfully skeptical of an agency that has systematically abused its power to target political opponents while routinely blaming insufficient funding for its own negligence. We’re sick and tired of these excuses. House Republicans already enacted seven new laws this year alone to rein in the IRS and hold its employees accountable, but more work is needed to protect hardworking taxpayers.

Just this weekend, House Republicans racked up a trifecta of major oversight breakthroughs on executive overreach, Benghazi, and Fast and Furious. This demonstrates the power of effective oversight, which is needed for the IRS perhaps more than any other federal agency.

Commissioner Koskinen will appear before the Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology alongside Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George, and GAO Director of Information Security Issues Gregory Wilshusen. You can watch Thursday’s hearing starting at 10am ET at science.house.gov.

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11 Things To Get You Caught Up

2016/04/10

Here are 11 things you should know from the last two weeks, in the order that they happened: 

1. Puerto Rico. The Natural Resources Committee released a discussion draft of a responsible solution to address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis without a taxpayer bailout. Discussions of this discussion draft continue, and the committee will hear testimony on Wednesday. 

2. IRS. No surprise: the GAO found that the IRS still hasn’t done enough to protect taxpayer information from hackers. Even less surprising: the taxman said it would get back to us some time in the next 60 days. Speaker Ryan called on the IRS to act immediately.

3. Iran. The Obama administration may restore Iran’s access to the dollar—a maneuver above and beyond what's required in the nuclear agreement. Speaker Ryan called on President Obama to abandon the idea. Read more from Chairman Royce.

4. Allies. Speaker Ryan and a bipartisan delegation arrived in Israel, the first stop in a series of visits focused on the threat posed by ISIS and extremism. The delegation also visited JordanSaudi ArabiaEgypt, and GermanyListen to the Speaker’s interview with Hugh Hewitt.  

Thanks @IDFSpokesperson for the tour of Iron Dome—one of the great success stories of our security relationship. pic.twitter.com/ptoTpzNyo0

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 6, 2016  

5. Fiduciary rule. The Labor Department released the final version of its fiduciary rule, which is essentially Obamacare for financial planning. We will look at every legislative avenue to protect middle-class savers from government overreachFollow Reps. RoeRoskam, and Wagner for more. 6. Zika funding. The Obama administration has agreed to our request to use existing funds to move expeditiously on the Zika outbreak. Read more from Appropriations Committee leaders. 7. Confident America. In this 43-second video (and this 35-second video), the Speaker continues to promote the need for the specific policy agenda that we will present to the country:

8. Executive overreach. The Supreme Court granted the House time during oral arguments to argue that the president’s immigration actions violated his constitutional duty to faithfully execute—not unilaterally write—the laws. Read our brief in United States v. Texas.

This week, the House took legal action to defend Article 1 powers under the #Constitution. https://t.co/AxjEAVFHTi pic.twitter.com/ZvFuhkbbhY

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 5, 2016  

9. Fast and Furious. After years of stonewalling, the administration handed over thousands of documents related to our Fast and Furious investigation. Read more from Chairman Chaffetz on our push for the full range of documents.

10. Benghazi. Also after a sustained period of stonewalling, the State Department finally turned over some 1,100 documents central to our Benghazi investigation. Read more from Chairman Gowdy.

11. Heroin. Leader McCarthy announced that the House will take up legislation in May to combat the opioid epidemic facing our country. In our weekly address, Rep. Dold talked about the heroin problem that is plaguing the suburbs of Chicago. His message is worth watching, no matter how busy you are:

That should do it. If you like this list, try out this one too. If you like this email, sign up for these emails

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House Oversight Tallies 3 Big Breakthroughs

2016/04/10

Last night, years of House oversight efforts yielded three big breakthroughs. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened:  

  1. Executive Overreach: First, the Supreme Court granted the House time to make oral arguments in United States v. Texas—a case challenging the administration’s executive overreach on immigration. Earlier this month, the House voted to authorize Speaker Ryan to file an amicus brief defending Congress’s Article 1 powers under the Constitution to write laws. We want to make our case directly to the Court, and now we will have that chance. As Speaker Ryan said, “The Constitution is clear: Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does.” 
  2. Fast and Furious: Next, after years of stonewalling, the administration threw in the towel on withholding thousands of documents related to Congress’s investigation of Fast and Furious—the gun trafficking scandal that funneled arms into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Prior to the announcement on Friday evening, the House filed an appeal in the ongoing court case over these documents. It’s shameful that it took this long, and we will continue to push for the full range of documents, but this release will help us get closer to the truth about this disastrous operation.
  3. Benghazi: And lastly, in response to a November 2014 request from the House Select Committee on Benghazi, the State Department finally turned over 1,100 documents central to the investigation, including files of several senior officials from the Office of the Secretary. As Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said, “This investigation is about a terrorist attack that killed four Americans, and it could have been completed a lot sooner if the administration had not delayed and delayed and delayed at every turn."

We will continue our aggressive oversight to hold the Obama administration accountable and defend the Constitution. To learn more about these most recent breakthroughs, check out the articles below:  

The Hill: House Gets Time During Arguments on Supreme Court Immigration Case

The Supreme Court has agreed to give the House time during oral arguments this month on whether President Obama's executive actions on immigrations should be struck down.

In an order Friday, the court said the House of Representatives would get 15 of the 90 minutes reserved for oral arguments on April 18. 

The announcement comes after the House's legal counsel filed an amicus brief this week on behalf of the full chamber, arguing that Obama overstepped his authority in issuing new policies to delay deportations for millions of illegal immigrants.

Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) office previously said it would seek time during oral arguments to present the House's case.

The Speaker maintained that the amicus brief should be filed as an argument offered by the full House, instead of only Republicans, in order to bolster the argument that Obama superseded the authority granted to Congress to make new laws.

The House passed a resolution largely along party lines last month authorizing the Speaker to file the amicus brief.

The executive actions, issued shortly after the 2014 midterm elections, have been on hold for more than a year after a federal judge's ruling. Twenty-six states led by Texas sued the Obama administration shortly after the president issued the executive actions.

POLITICO: Obama Relents in Fight Over Fast and Furious Documents

Four years after asserting executive privilege to block Congress from obtaining documents relating to a controversial federal gun trafficking investigation, President Barack Obama relented Friday, turning over to lawmakers thousands of pages of records that led to unusual House votes holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in 2012

. . . . 

After getting word that the Justice Department was turning over records, Chaffetz updated his statement, indicating that the House plans to press its appeal to get records beyond the ones the administration is providing. 

"Today, under court order, DOJ turned over some of the subpoenaed documents. The Committee, however, is entitled to the full range of documents for which it brought this lawsuit. Accordingly, we have appealed the District Court’s ruling in order to secure those additional documents," Chaffetz said.

Fox News: State Department Releases More Than 1,100 Documents to Benghazi Committee

The State Department on Friday turned over more than 1,100 pages of records to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, over a year after the committee first requested them for their ongoing investigation into the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., also criticized the State Department’s delayed response to the request.

The records released included emails from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s then-chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and Clinton aides Jake Sullivan, Human Abedin, as well as then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, according to a statement from the Congressional committee.

Also included were files stored on computer networks used by senior employees within Clinton’s office.

 

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Ryan Delegation Completes Trip Focused on Engaging Allies in the Fight Against Extremism

2016/04/09

#Germany was the final stop in our talks w/ allies in the fight against #ISIS & extremism. https://t.co/JiJZDRSwCV

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 10, 2016  

BERLIN—A senior dele‎gation of House members led by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) traveled to Berlin, Germany on Friday for meetings with senior German government officials and the NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.  Germany was the final stop on Ryan's first overseas trip as Speaker, which has included visits to our allies and strategic partners in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. 

In Germany, the delegation met with Christoph Heusgen, national security adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The delegation emphasized the enduring importance of the trans-Atlantic alliance and explored ways to increase the strength of NATO's deterrent.

Later, the delegation continued to discuss this theme in a meeting with the commander of European Command, General Philip Breedlove. General Breedlove briefed the members on current and developing threats in the EUCOM area of responsibility including the challenge posed by Russian aggression. 

The delegation also met with the Speaker's counterpart, Norbert Lammert, the President of the Bundestag. Lammert and the delegation discussed the importance of making concrete progress on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which when completed will promote increased trade between economies constituting more than half of the world's economic output.

The overseas trip was focused on strengthening Congress's ties abroad and underlining the enduring, bipartisan continuity of American foreign policy. American leadership is needed more than ever, and Speaker Ryan and the delegation made clear the United States remains committed to its partnership with the international community. Members of Speaker Ryan's delegation included:

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), Member of the House Ways and Means CommitteeRep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), Member of the House Ways and Means CommitteeRep. Will Hurd (R-TX), Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security 

Related Stories:1In Israel, Ryan Delegation Meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speaker Edelstein to Discuss Strategic Alliance, Security Threats2. At Iron Dome, Ryan Delegation Views Critical U.S.-Supported Missile Defense System3. Ryan Delegation Reaches Jordan and Meets With King Abdullah4Continuing the Dialogue with Regional Security Partners, Ryan Delegation Travels to Riyadh5. Ryan Delegation Travels to Cairo to Continue Dialogue with Regional Partners

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Weekly Address: We Are Working to End the Opioid Epidemic

2016/04/08

WASHINGTON — In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) provides an update on steps Congress is taking to address the growing opioid epidemic that is plaguing the nation. He shares a personal story from his district about a family who tragically lost their son to addiction. As Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced this week, the House will act on legislation next month to combat this epidemic.

We will continue leading this fight at home and also in Washington, DC. Soon, the House will act to end the cycle of opioid abuse,” said Rep. Dold. He continued, “The Senate has already passed a good bipartisan bill to combat this epidemic. And the president has put forth his ideas as well.
" Rep. Dold concluded his address by saying there is "common ground for action."

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

Remarks of Representative Bob Dold of Illinois Weekly Republican Address Lincolnshire, IL April 9, 2016

In the suburbs of Chicago, somebody dies from using heroin every three days. And every single one of them leaves behind a family in grief.

I want to tell you about one in particular. His name was Alex Laliberte. He grew up in Buffalo Grove—just outside of Chicago. Alex graduated from Stevenson High School, played sports, got good grades, made a lot of friends—and had his whole life ahead of him. But then, during his sophomore year in college, he started getting sick. When he got sick, he would go to the hospital and he would get better—at least for a while. But then a few months later he would get sick, and be admitted once again. It was a vicious cycle. His family didn’t know it then, but Alex was addicted to prescription drugs and was suffering from withdrawal.

And then, in 2008, just a few days after his final exams, Alex overdosed and died. He was only 20 years old.

As a father, I can’t imagine the pain of losing one of my children to a drug overdose.

But sadly, too many families have experienced this loss. Heroin abuse has become an epidemic. Studies show us that people who abuse prescription drugs are much more likely to become addicted to heroin—especially teenagers, who can easily find these kinds of drugs lying around the house.

This type of abuse spans every demographic, financial situation and community. It can literally happen to anyone. That’s why the opioid epidemic demands a national response. We can’t let politics get in the way of giving people a second chance at recovery.

We’re doing all that we can to prevent overdoses and reduce addiction. I’ve worked with the Laliberte family, and many other groups, from doctors to community leaders, to not only raise awareness but to create actionable solutions.

One of the solutions that I’ve put forth is a bill called Lali’s Law, named in memory of Alex, that would increase access to an overdose antidote called naloxone. Naloxone has already saved more than 70 lives in the community of Lake County, Illinois, alone in just over one year. The World Health Organization says that increasing access to this medication could save an additional 20,000 lives every year. We’ve also partnered with private companies and organizations.   

We will continue leading this fight at home and also in Washington, DC. Soon, the House will act to end the cycle of opioid abuse. The Senate has already passed a good bipartisan bill to combat this epidemic. And the president has put forth his ideas as well.


So there is common ground for action. By working together, we can not only save young people like Alex Laliberte from falling victim to drug abuse, but also help those in our communities struggling to get their lives back on track.

Thank you. Have a great week.

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Rep. Bob Dold to Discuss Opioid Epidemic in Weekly Republican Address

2016/04/08

WASHINGTON — In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) will discuss Congress’s work to combat the growing opioid epidemic that is plaguing the country.

"As a co-chair of the Suburban Anti-Heroin Task Force in Illinois, I’ve seen firsthand the unimaginable suffering that heroin has brought onto families in our community and around the country," Rep. Dold said. "Heroin doesn’t discriminate by demographics, zip code, or partisanship, which is why we can’t let politics get in the way of helping people in our communities who are struggling with addiction find the treatment they need to get their lives back on track."

Friends, neighbors, relatives—many of us know someone who, at this very moment, is being affected by opioid addiction,” said Speaker Ryan. “Next month, the House will take up legislation that not only helps those suffering today, but works to prevent addiction before it begins. Bob Dold is hard at work to help fight this growing threat, and I look forward to his address.”

This week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that the House will take up additional legislation to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic next month. For a summary of actions the House and its committees have taken to date, click here.

---

Rep. Bob Dold is currently in his second term serving the people of Illinois’s 10th Congressional District. He first ran for Congress in 2010 and was elected that year to serve the 10th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. After a two-year break in service, Bob was again elected to represent Illinois's 10th District in Congress in November of 2014 and was sworn in as a member of the 114th Congress in January of 2015. He serves on the Committee on Ways and Means, which is the chief tax-writing committee of the United States Congress.

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

NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting tomorrow, April 9, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov.

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Ryan Delegation Travels to Cairo to Continue Dialogue with Regional Partners

2016/04/08

CAIRO, EGYPT—On Thursday, a bipartisan delegation of House members, led by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) arrived in Cairo, Egypt. The nation is the fourth stop of a trip focused on strengthening relationships and coordination with regional partners in the fight against ISIS and other terrorist threats. Egypt has experienced rapid and significant change in its government in recent years, and now faces an increasingly challenging security environment. 

After arriving in Cairo, the lawmakers traveled to the presidency for a meeting with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (above). There, Speaker Ryan reiterated the United States’ commitment to the strategic partnership with Egypt, and the delegation discussed the terrorist threat facing the country on multiple fronts, including from Libya and in the Sinai Peninsula. The members also initiated a dialogue about the important role that civil society can play in helping develop stable democracies. In addition, the delegation discussed the security of U.S. forces serving in the Multinational Force & Observers, an international organization in the Sinai created after the Camp David peace accords. 

In the afternoon, the delegation went to the Egyptian parliament for a meeting with its speaker Ali Abdel-al (above) and a diverse group of members of parliament. The current Egyptian parliament had its first elections last year, holding its first session just this February, and the Speaker congratulated them on the achievement and noted the incredible opportunity before them.  He also stressed that the United States wants to see a successful, secure, and stable Egypt that values democracy and freedom. The two delegations also discussed the generous security and development assistance provided by the United States. 

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Continuing the Dialogue with Regional Security Partners, Ryan Delegation Travels to Riyadh

2016/04/07

A delegation of lawmakers led by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) traveled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. The Saudis are a strategic partner of the United States in the fight against ISIS and other extremist groups in the region. Saudi Arabia is also a key partner in countering the aggressive actions of Iran in the region.

The delegation first met with King Salman (above). The King shared his perspective on the challenges the United States and Saudi Arabia together face from the Assad regime and the radical extremists in Syria. The delegation also discussed with the King, the steps that our countries can take together to reach a sustainable, negotiated resolution to the region’s conflicts.

Later, the group had meetings with Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Nayif (above), First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (below), Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Defense. In each meeting, the conversations focused on the common underpinnings of the relationship. The strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia is based on mutual interests and a longstanding commitment to facing our common threats together.

Wednesday’s visit renewed the Saudi-American partnership and underscored the enduring, bipartisan support for that unique relationship.

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Politics These Days

2016/04/07

Politics these days, amirite?

It's a common refrain, both in the news media and among Americans who are sick and tired of hearing politicians battle over insults rather than ideas. Imagine, for a moment, if politics was actually about uniting Americans, not dividing us.

That's the kind of America that House Republicans are working towards. It's a confident America, where people are empowered to reach their full potential.  

Speaker Ryan explains more in the 43-second video below.

"What really bothers me the most about politics these days is this notion of identity politics: that we’re going to win an election by dividing people, rather than inspiring people on our common humanity and our common ideals and our common culture on the things that should unify us. We all want to be prosperous. We all want to be healthy. We want everybody to succeed. We want people to reach their potential in their lives. 

"Now, liberals and conservatives are going to disagree with one another on that. No problem. That’s what this is all about. 

"So let’s have a battle of ideas. Let’s have a contest of whose ideas are better and why our ideas are better."

What really bothers me about politics these days… https://t.co/e1WwMhkrxmhttps://t.co/qXNJqLFhsH

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 7, 2016
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Ryan Delegation Reaches Jordan and Meets with King Abdullah

2016/04/07

AMMAN, JORDAN—On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and a delegation of senior House members arrived in Amman, Jordan.  The lawmakers are in the Middle East to visit allies and strategic partners in the fight against ISIS, and Jordan plays a critical role in efforts to bring stability to the region. The country is also confronting a significant refugee crisis as victims of radical extremism continue to cross its borders from Syria and Iraq. 

The day started with meetings with Prime Minister Abdullah Nsour (above) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh (below). With each leader, the delegation discussed the Syrian war, the roles of Russia and Iran in that fight, what is needed to bring greater stability and security to the Middle East, as well as the refugee crisis and the humanitarian and economic toll it is taking. The speaker reaffirmed that the United States values our relationship with Jordan and stressed that our strategic cooperation is more important now than ever. 

Later, the delegation met with His Majesty King Abdullah II (below), a longtime friend to the United States. King Abdullah shared his perspective on coalition efforts to defeat ISIS and developments related to Russia and Iran. Speaker Ryan thanked the king for the leadership role that Jordan has taken in the region and pledged continued support as our two nations work together to destroy our shared enemy. 

The delegation also visited a United Nations refugee-processing center in Amman. There, lawmakers were briefed on the latest developments in the ongoing humanitarian crisis. They also met with and heard stories from Iraqi Christians and Syrian Muslims who, in the face of ISIS barbarism, were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in Jordan.

Before leaving Jordan on Thursday, the delegation also met with the Chairman of Jordan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mashal Al-Zaben and the High Royal Highness Prince Faisal, the chief of Jordan’s Air Force.

Related:

  1. In Israel, Ryan Delegation Meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speaker Edelstein to Discuss Strategic Alliance, Security Threats
  2. Ryan Delegation Arrives in Israel
  3. At Iron Dome, Ryan Delegation Views Critical U.S.-Supported Missile Defense System
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Statement on Puerto Rico Draft Legislation

2016/04/06

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on draft legislation to address the fiscal crisis in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico:

“The legislative process is working as it should. I commend Chairman Bishop and the Natural Resources Committee for actively listening to stakeholder input as they make improvements to the draft legislation. The House is committed to a responsible path forward that tackles Puerto Rico’s structural fiscal problems while protecting American taxpayers from footing the bill.”  

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Statement on Release of Fiduciary Rule

2016/04/06

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

“Saving for the future is daunting enough without Washington trying to make it harder. That’s why House Republicans, led by Phil Roe, Peter Roskam, and Ann Wagner, have held the Obama administration accountable throughout the fiduciary rule process. While it is clear that public and congressional scrutiny are making a difference, we will continue to look at every avenue to protect middle-class families and small businesses from government overreach.”

Related Stories:

1.       Ignoring Consequences, Obama Administration to Finalize Fiduciary Rule

2.       Obamacare for financial planning

3.       A Dictionary Definition

4.       The bureaucrats bullied it through

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At Iron Dome, Ryan Delegation Views Critical U.S.-Supported Missile Defense System

2016/04/05

One of the greatest successes of the U.S.-#Israel security relationship is the Iron Dome. https://t.co/N4gYgEz0Ui pic.twitter.com/jlXQ0s5qxS

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 5, 2016

Israel faces threats on multiple fronts and from many sources, including under the ground and through the air. While terror tunnels are a growing concern, the threat of rocket fire has long plagued the Israeli people.

But the United States and Israel are working together to combat it. One of the greatest successes of the U.S.-Israel security relationship has been the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Iron Dome is capable of intercepting rockets and ballistic missiles launched from Gaza. The United States has played a critical role in the development of the system, which has saved thousands of lives.

And yet threats from the air are constantly evolving. That’s why, in addition to Iron Dome, the United States is contributing to the development of two other missile systems, Arrow 3 and David’s Sling.

After the Iron Dome visit, the Ryan delegation met with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. 

Related Stories:

  1. In Israel, Ryan Delegation Meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speaker Edelstein to Discuss Strategic Alliance, Security Threats
  2. Speaker Ryan on Hugh Hewitt: 'Israel Is One of Our Most Important Allies'
  3. Times of Israel: Israel 'our indispensable ally' in war on Islamic terror, says Paul Ryan on visit to Jerusalem
  4. Ryan Delegation Arrives in Israel
  5. Speaker Ryan's Remarks at 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference

Thanks @SpeakerRyan for visiting us at #IronDome and for your ongoing support of #Israel & the #IDF. pic.twitter.com/x9hIUu8eoT

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) April 4, 2016
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In Israel, Ryan Delegation Meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speaker Edelstein to Discuss Strategic Alliance, Security Threats

2016/04/05

The U.S. House of Representatives stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel, as our two nations face mutual security threats and work together to confront the rise of radical extremism, regionally and around the world. That was the message delivered on Monday by the Ryan delegation to begin a visit to Israel.

On the first full day of meetings, House Speaker Paul Ryan and a bipartisan delegation of senior House members held separate bilateral meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Yuli Edelstein.

At both bilateral meetings, the delegation discussed the war in Syria, the rise of ISIS, other terrorist groups, the Iran Deal, Israeli security, continued U.S. support for Israel’s defense capabilities, and other important regional issues. Speaker Ryan noted his pride in making Israel the first foreign nation he’s visited since assuming the speakership and stressed that bipartisan support of Israel runs deep in the U.S. Congress.

Prior to the start of the meeting at the Knesset, Speaker Ryan told his Israeli counterpart, “The first head of state I met with since becoming speaker was President Rivlin. This is also the first trip I took as speaker and it’s not by coincidence, it was by design.“

He continued, “These are very difficult times: the rise of ISIS, terrorism, Syrian civil war, Iran. We believe that our alliance, and our partnership, and our friendship is more important now than ever before… You’re an island of freedom in a very difficult, chaotic region.  And so that is why our partnership is all the more important. It’s more important for us to renew and extend our bilateral security agreement, to work together to improve missile defense – David’s Sling, the Arrow program. We’ve worked very hard in Congress on opposing any BDS efforts – boycott, divestment, and sanctions. That is something we take great pride in advancing, the kind of legislation we’ve already advanced this year in the House. And we pledge to stand shoulder to shoulder with you, and that is why we’re here today. And so it’s just an honor and privilege to be here with you.”

Following these meetings, the delegation was to explore further the nation’s military efforts with visits to components of the Israeli Defense Force.

Related Stories:

1.       Speaker Ryan on Hugh Hewitt: 'Israel Is One of Our Most Important Allies'

2.       Times of Israel: Israel 'our indispensable ally' in war on Islamic terror, says Paul Ryan on visit to Jerusalem

3.       Ryan Delegation Arrives in Israel

4.       Speaker Ryan's Remarks at 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference

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No Excuses for IRS Failures to Protect Taxpayer Data

2016/04/05

Tax season is already stressful enough. Complicated forms, delayed refunds, and long customer service wait times have become the norm for the IRS. But last week taxpayers learned that their most sensitive personal information remains vulnerable to hackers.

Far from reassuring taxpayers, the IRS said it would take a look at the GAO’s recommendations, and get back to Congress within 60 days. Speaker Ryan called on the agency to act immediately.  

The Chicago Sun-Times also weighed in: “We share Ryan’s skepticism about that 60 days. Why more delay? This is not a new problem. It is deeply unsettling to hundreds of millions of Americans that their most private tax return information may be at risk.”

Now, that same editorial quotes one Senate Democrat trying to provide cover for the IRS by attributing the problem to budget cuts. We are in fact committed to rooting out wasteful spending and redirecting resources to better serving taxpayers. Here’s why:

  • A Ways and Means Committee report released last year detailed various instances of egregious waste and reckless spending decisions at the IRS, including how the agency intentionally cut its own customer service budget.
  • Moreover, a separate independent study discovered that despite increased funding to protect taxpayer data, the IRS slashed its cybersecurity staff.
  • The most recent government funding bill granted additional resources—specifically at the agency’s request—to bolster cybersecurity.

The IRS’s problem isn’t funding—it’s a culture of impunity. The agency feels free to disregard its problems while taxpayers are left vulnerable.

House Republicans are determined to get this right for all hardworking taxpayers, and we continue to call on the IRS to do more to protect taxpayer data now.

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House Takes Legal Action Against Executive Overreach

2016/04/04

Today, the House took legal action to oppose the Obama administration's executive overreach. https://t.co/AxjEAVFHTi pic.twitter.com/9eFbtPBjPp

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 4, 2016

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives has filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Texas opposing the Obama administration's executive overreach. The brief, authorized by a vote of the full House, sets forth why only Congress—not the executive branch—is empowered to write the nation’s immigration laws.

“The Constitution is clear: Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does,” Speaker Ryan said. “This administration’s executive overreach must be stopped. We are taking this extraordinary action to protect the integrity of our Constitution, and return power to the people.”

Here is a key quote from the full brief, filed today by the House’s general counsel:

“Under our Constitution, Congress is entrusted with 'All legislative Powers,' including the 'Power To … establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.' The Executive may disagree with the laws Congress enacts and may try to persuade Congress to change them. But neither any immigration law now on the books nor the Constitution empowers the Executive to authorize— let alone facilitate—the prospective violation of those laws on a massive class-wide scale.” (p. 35)

Background

  • On January 19, 2016, the Supreme Court agreed to hear United States v. Texas, but added its own question to the case: Did the president’s actions violate his duties to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”?
  • On March 1, 2016, Speaker Ryan announced that the House, as an institution uniquely qualified to answer the Court’s question, would consider a resolution authorizing him to file a brief defending Congress's enumerated powers under Article I of the Constitution. “The president is not permitted to write law—only Congress is,” he said.
  • On March 17, 2016, the House adopted H. Res. 639, authorizing Speaker Ryan to file this brief. Shortly before the vote, he said, “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.”
  • The House is being represented pro bono in this matter. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on April 18.
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Speaker Ryan on Hugh Hewitt: ‘Israel Is One of Our Most Important Allies’

2016/04/04

Today, The Hugh Hewitt Show aired for the first time during the morning commute, and Speaker Ryan called in live from Israel, where he arrived on Sunday with a bipartisan delegation of senior House lawmakers. To listen to Speaker Ryan’s full interview with Hugh Hewitt, click here. Here are two key excerpts from the interview:  

Why Speaker Ryan chose Israel for his first trip overseas as speaker:“I decided that my first trip overseas as speaker of the House would be to Israel. And why? Because I think we need to show how important our ties and our alliance with Israel is. In this dangerous, chaotic part of the world, with terrorism all over the world, Israel is one of our most important allies. I just left a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I’m on my way out to an Iron Dome site to review their missile defenses, something that we cooperate with them on. They’ve had, since 2005, just from Gaza, about ten thousand—ten thousand—missiles and rockets sent into Israel, many of which, most of which, missile defense has been able to interdict, saving, you know, thousands of lives. So I’m here to show our support. I’m here to talk with our allies, and to see how we can better cooperate to win this war against radical Islamic terrorism.”

Topics of discussion, including the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign:“We’ve discussed the UN quite a bit and Israel, and UN resolutions, and any problems they propose. We discussed one called BDS, which is boycott, divest and sanction, which is in Europe, and the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. So yes, we have, we haven’t discussed the Brexit specifically, but there is a rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. Europe has been engaging in this ridiculous and counterproductive BDS shenanigan. We in the Congress have been very forceful about that. By the way, when you try to boycott, divest or sanction Israel, you’re hurting Palestinians as well. So we have discussed that.”

Want more updates from Speaker Ryan’s delegation in the Middle East? Be sure to check speaker.gov throughout the week for more coverage. 

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Ryan Delegation Arrives in Israel

2016/04/03

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and a bipartisan delegation of senior House lawmakers arrived in Israel, making it the first nation he has visited since becoming speaker. In Israel, the delegation will meet with senior government officials to discuss the important relationship between our two countries as well as security issues affecting the region and the world. Upon arrival, Speaker Ryan offered the following statement. 

“I’m proud that my first trip as speaker is a return to Israel. At this critical moment, it is essential that we reaffirm the historic alliance between our two nations and work together to address the mutual security threats that we face."

Members of the Speaker's Delegation:

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), Member of the House Ways and Means CommitteeRep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), Member of the House Ways and Means CommitteeRep. Will Hurd (R-TX), Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security 

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Ignoring Consequences, Obama Administration to Finalize Fiduciary Rule

2016/04/01

The new fiduciary rule has a new definition: It’s Obamacare for financial planning. https://t.co/lNx3RF7aPK

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 8, 2016

The Department of Labor's fiduciary rule is set to be released next Wednesday. The Obama administration has argued that this rule will help people trying to save for retirement, but that’s an April Fools-worthy joke. In reality, it’s going to make it harder for families and businesses—especially those with smaller bank accounts—get financial advice. Here’s a roundup of what you need to know:

1. It’s another one-size-fits-all regulation. What’s the result? It creates more paperwork and costly recordkeeping requirements for financial planners, restricting access to quality investment advice for upwards of 7 million Americans with IRAs. It results in higher costs for people seeking financial advice, disproportionately hurting families with smaller bank accounts.

2. The bureaucrats bullied it through. A report released in February showed the DOL’s utter—and seemingly willful—neglect of the consequences of this rule. It’s a story we’ve heard before: Nonpartisan, professional experts raise concerns, ask for deliberation in the rulemaking process, while politically-appointed bureaucrats bully their way through the process with one thing in mind: a finalized regulation to finish while the president is still in office.

3. It’s Obamacare for financial planning. The fiduciary rule is "an example of massive overkill by the federal government," Speaker Ryan said. "The intent of making sure people get sound advice and conflicts of interest (disclosures) is a good idea," Speaker Ryan continued. "This rule, however, is such overkill it is destined to put people out of business and making it harder for middle-class investors to get sound financial advice.”

House Republicans, led by Reps. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Phil Roe (R-TN), and Peter Roskam (R-IL), are working to protect families from the harmful fiduciary rule. Stay tuned for more Congressional action. 

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Statement on Iran’s Access to the Dollar

2016/03/31

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement in response to reports that the Obama administration may restore Iran’s access to the dollar in some business transactions:

“These reports are deeply concerning, to say the least. As Iran continues to undermine the spirit of its nuclear agreement with illicit ballistic missile tests, the Obama administration is going out of its way to help Tehran reopen for business. The president should abandon this idea.”

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9 Photos You (May Have) Missed from the Month of March

2016/03/31

1. The Boy Scouts

Every year, the Boy Scouts of America present the speaker of the House with their Report to the Nation.  And this year, they came with a question too: "What's up with the lights on the clocks around the U.S. Capitol?" Click here to find out Speaker Ryan's answer.

2. Speakers Selfie

In a historic event at the U.S. Capitol, former-Speaker Newt Gingrich hosted a live Facebook Q&A to talk with current-Speaker Paul Ryan about House Republican's Confident America agenda. The 35 minute discussion capped off with an epic #SpeakerSelfie with a group of 20 interns in attendance.

3. The Capitol Dome Restoration Project

When the Prime Minister of Ireland made his annual visit to the Capitol in celebration of St. Patrick's Day earlier this month, Speaker Ryan gave him an update on the progress of the dome restoration project.

4. St. Patrick's Day

This is how a speaker with Irish roots celebrates an Irish holiday.

5. A Special Bill Signing with Speaker Ryan's Children

It's not every day that you get to sign your own bill to send to the president's desk to become law, but that's exactly what Speaker Ryan did when he signed this anti-poverty legislation with his two oldest children by his sides.

6. In Support of Israel

The speaker is a strong supporter of America's ally, Israel. And when he spoke before an arena of 18,000 pro-Israel activists recently, he not only reaffirmed his opposition to the president's terrible deal with Iran, he also announced his that his first overseas trip as speaker of the House will be to return to Israel.

7. The Indy 500 Champion

Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 champion of the Indianapolis 500, stopped by the U.S. Capitol with the trophy in tow.

8.  Speech prep

Speaker Ryan has made it a mission of his speakership to raise Washington's gaze and aim for a brighter future. Here, he prepares for a speech to talk about what that future looks like.

9. The State of American Politics

In a speech before hundreds of millennials last week, Speaker Ryan reminded the leaders of tomorrow that politics can be a battle of ideas, not insultsClick here to watch or read the full speech, or if you're pressed for time, here's a 35 second version.

Related stories: 

  1. A Special Bill Signing with Speaker Ryan's Children
  2. Photos: Wisconsinites in Washington
  3. 8 (Bill-Signing) Photos from February
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Speaker Ryan: 'We need to raise our game'

2016/03/30

Exactly one week ago today, in a packed room of hundreds of millennials, Speaker Ryan delivered a speech on the state of American politics.  And while his prepared remarks were covered widely in the press, the majority of his time was actually spent answering questions directly from the audience. 

You can watch the full 20 minutes of Q&A here, but if you only have 35 seconds to spare, check out the video below, where Speaker Ryan calls upon political leaders to "raise our game," in order to preserve the American idea that our Founders created.

QUESTION:

Who is it incumbent upon to introduce civility in American politics?

SPEAKER RYAN'S ANSWER:

"The Founders created this new American idea. It's an amazing thing. Unprecedented. Never been done before. 

"Guess what? It's our job to preserve it.

"Sometimes today we see a politics that is degrading, a politics that's going to the basis of our emotions of what dis-unifies us, not what unifies us. 

"So here's our job: As leaders, we need to raise our gaze and raise our game and talk about ideas. Try to unite us, not prey on people's separations or their identities." 

Related stories:

  1. A Confident America
  2. The Full Speech: Speaker Ryan on the State of American Politics
  3. VIDEO: A Duty & Moral Obligation to Offer an Agenda
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The IRS Should Immediately Adopt Reforms to Protect Taxpayers

2016/03/30

Right now, as you’re sending the IRS just about everything there is to know about you, it remains highly vulnerable to hackers and cyberattacks. And the agency has no intention of doing anything about it.

A new report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the IRS has “has not effectively implemented elements of its information security program.” As a result, these deficiencies will leave the sensitive personal and financial data of millions of taxpayers “unnecessarily vulnerable to inappropriate and undetected use, modification, or disclosure.”

The GAO issued 43 detailed recommendations for the IRS to patch these vulnerabilities and protect taxpayers. The IRS’s response? The usual excuses and evasions. ‘We’ll think about it’ isn’t good enough. The agency should immediately take steps to implement these recommendations and report back to Congress with its progress.

Republicans have put in place a series of reforms to prevent IRS targeting and increase the agency’s transparency. This includes everything from making political targeting a firing offense to preventing IRS employees from using their personal email addresses to conduct official business. These reforms will make a difference, but it’s up to the IRS to show good faith and demonstrate a commitment to change its culture of impunity. Here, the agency won’t even own up to its problems—again.

That’s why we will continue to exercise vigorous oversight to help ensure the IRS adopts all 43 GAO recommendations. Hardworking taxpayers need assurances that the IRS will do everything possible to protect their personal information—and we are committed to giving Americans that peace of mind.

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Ryan to the IRS: You Work for the Taxpayer

A reminder for the IRS → you work for the taxpayer, not the other way around.

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, March 31, 2016
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This is not a real plan to defeat ISIS

2016/03/29

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This administration is phoning it in on radical Islamic terrorism. They’re not doing anything near what we need to do....

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On the eve of Easter weekend, the Obama administration quietly released its whopping seven-page, one-month-late “plan” to counter violent extremism and defeat ISIS. No fanfare. No announcement from the president. No campaign to sell this strategy to Congress and the American people. Why? Because this is not a real plan.

Congress mandated this report to compel the administration to finally present a comprehensive plan to eliminate ISIS. There is little mention of how we’ll work alongside our allies in this fight, or which groups will help us counter violent extremism, or how we’ll develop a capable ground force in Iraq and Syria following disastrous attempts to train and equip vetted factions in both countries.

This morning, Speaker Ryan discussed the issue further on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio show:

“We are not doing what we need to do to get ISIS. The president we required in law [to] deliver a plan to Congress to defeat ISIS—he was a couple months late in delivering that plan. He just gave it to us a couple of days ago. And I guess you could say that that’s a good thing that he finally gave us a plan. But what was more disheartening and just shocking about it was it was just a recitation of the status quo of what they’re doing—which is even more disturbing to me because it shows me that they are just phoning it in on the war on terror, they’re phoning it on radical Islamic terrorism, and they’re not doing anything near what we need to do. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m going over to the Middle East to talk with our allies who are combating this.”

As the speaker mentioned, he will travel to the Middle East to discuss the threat posed by ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism with several key allies. House Republicans are serious about strengthening our alliances and confronting these threats. That’s why our Task Force on National Security is working on a specific policy agenda to build a stronger, safer, and more Confident America.

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Speaker Ryan Appears on Morning in America during Show’s Final Week

2016/03/29

Over the past several years, Speaker Ryan has called in to friend and mentor Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio show to discuss a range of topics, making it one of his first radio appearances as speaker of the House and offering a timely conversation to break down Congress’s spending bill for the American people back in December. Today, as Dr. Bennett wraps up his final week on air and looks to what his future holds, Speaker Ryan appeared for one final conversation to discuss a similar topic—what protecting benefits for today’s and tomorrow's retirees looks like, ultimately leading to a more #ConfidentAmerica.

What will it take to protect benefits for retirees? I really see the next presidency as the make-or-break presidency. . . . Because, the way I see it is, we start [having] a trillion-dollar deficit starting in about 2018 and on. We go from 40 million retirees to 77 million retirees, and far fewer people following them into the workforce, paying the taxes to pay for their benefits. And then comes the debt crisis. The Federal Reserve will be, more or less, out of bullets. The kind of budget surgery that will have to be done to stop a debt crisis will require cutting benefits for people in retirement after they’ve retired in real time, creating absolute social chaosand we can prevent that from happening. And I do believe given just the budget trajectory and demographics that we basically have one more presidency to get it right, to do it on our terms, to fix these budget problems in a perspective way so they don’t affect benefits of people in or near retirement. So that that promise that was made to them, that they’ve organized their lives around, [is] still kept.” Do we need a Republican president to get this done? “I am convinced the answer is yes to that. I know that sounds pretty petty and partisan, but the reason why I say that is, we’ve tried for a while to get a budget deal with President Obama. . . . The progressives [have] no interest in doing this. The progressives will not do this, I am convinced. Why? Because the status quo gets us to a really big government. The status quo gets us to government equalizing results of people’s lives. The status quo gets us to a much, much larger government, and then the inevitable will be to raise taxes on everybody. And I think progressives are OK with that. I think that’s kind of part of their idea. So I do believe you need a Republican president that’s willing to do this kind of heavy lifting.” So, there’s nothing we can do now? “If we do it now, it’s not heavy lifting. It’s actually the kind of reform that gets us faster economic growth, more opportunity, and intact promises kept to our nation’s seniors. But I do think it takes a Republican president because I do not think, because the liberals, the progressives control their party . . . I just think there’s no way they’re willing to do it. They don’t want to keep government limited, they want it to be unlimited.” Until next time—thank you, Dr. Bennett! “I just want to thank you. You’ve been a mentor to me since I was 23 years old, teaching me about life, about conservatism, about political philosophy, about how to do the right thing, about how to see around corners, about how to try and get things right, about how to stick to your principles, how to try and be an effective conservative. And that’s one thing I’ve learned from you and other mentors, which is: It’s one thing to think conservative things, to try and be a conservative person, to understand and grapple with conservative principles. But it is an entirely different thing to try and put those principles into action, to see the force through the trees, to try and be effective and be prudent, and take incremental steps sometimes and big steps other times. But to be able to be effect conservatism and not just yell conservatism, speak conservatism, but to try and make it actually happen and put it into effect . . . you of all people have taught me that. And I just want to say thank you for that, for what you’ve done for your listeners and for me personally.”

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Statement from Speaker Ryan on Puerto Rico Draft Legislation

2016/03/29

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement in response to the release of draft legislation on Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems:

“Puerto Rico’s impending fiscal crisis would have deep ramifications for the United States, and I applaud Chairman Bishop and the entire Natural Resources Committee for meeting their first quarter deadline. This draft is thoughtful, comprehensive legislation that gives the U.S. territory the tools it needs to deal with its systemic fiscal and budgeting problems—without a taxpayer bailout. I look forward to working with the committee so we can get Puerto Rico on a path to fiscal health.”

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Statement from Speaker Ryan

2016/03/28

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement in response to the incident at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center today:

“Today we are reminded of the courage and daily sacrifice of the United States Capitol Police. The Capitol is our greatest symbol of democracy, and these officers serve to protect not just those who work there but also the millions of visitors from all around the world who travel each year to see it. This evening our thoughts and prayers are with all those who faced danger today. While the investigation of the incident continues, I want to express my deep gratitude, on behalf of the whole House, to the men and women in uniform who keep us safe."  

 

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Today we are reminded of the courage and daily sacrifice of the United States Capitol Police. The Capitol is our...

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday, March 28, 2016
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We are the Easter people

2016/03/27

Today is Easter Sunday, a joyful day of redemption, but when we look at the state of the world, there is reason for fear and anxiety.

On Tuesday, ISIS, the radical Islamic terrorist group, committed harrowing acts of terror, killing dozens of innocent people in Brussels at the very heart of Western Europe.

In Iraq and Syria, ISIS has been committing systematic, targeted attacks against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities. Last week, our government finally called these atrocities what they are: a genocide.

As the United States and our allies are confronted with evil, let us heed the words of former Pope John Paul II, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

We will not give up. We will stand with our allies. We will defeat terror. 

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Weekly Republican Address: Expanding Opportunity for All Americans

2016/03/26

OKLAHOMA CITY — In this week’s Republican address, Oklahoma State Rep. Lisa Johnson-Billy shares some of her life story and discusses the importance of expanding opportunity for all Americans. “Republicans are calling for a confident America—where hard work, honesty, thrift, education are all rewarded,” said Rep. Johnson-Billy. “We believe in giving people a hand up, a step up—in empowering them to live out their dreams.” NOTE: The audio of the weekly address is available here, and the video will be available on speaker.gov.

Remarks of State Representative Lisa Johnson-Billy of Oklahoma Weekly Republican Address Oklahoma City, OK March 26, 2016

Chokma, I’m Lisa Johnson-Billy. I’m a member of the Oklahoma state house, where I serve as the floor leader. I’m also a proud member of the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes. In fact, I am the first Native American, the first woman, and the first Republican to represent my district.

I know I may not be a familiar face in Washington. But our leaders need to hear from people outside of Washington—the people who make this country run, who grow our food and pay the taxes and raise the families. These are the people I know and represent.

I was born in Purcell, Oklahoma. I grew up on a small farm, where every day I learned the value of hard work. When we woke up in the morning, it didn’t matter if it was cold outside. It didn’t matter if you were tired or a little under the weather. There was work to do, and we had to do it. That’s how it is in the real world, and that’s what my parents and neighbors taught me.

Another thing they taught me was to be grateful for the country we lived in. The reason my parents could make a second income on that farm is that this is a country where taking responsibility is rewarded. We had a government that kept the streets safe, protected what we earned, and fostered opportunity for all. We had a government that understood there’s nothing more fulfilling than when you can provide for your family—and feel that sense of accomplishment.

That was the country I lived in. And that is the country I want my children to live in. So from a young age, I took an interest in public service. I served two terms in the Chickasaw Nation Legislature—alongside my dad—before I was elected to the state house. And today, I work with legislators of both parties to make sure we’re passing on a confident America to our children.

I’m a wife of a military veteran and a mother of three children, the oldest being a member of the United States Army, so this is not some abstraction for me. I know that a lot of Americans don’t feel confident about the future. But as we know in Oklahoma, what inspires confidence is performance. When government fulfills its responsibilities, that’s what allows the people to create opportunity—the opportunity to learn more, to find a job, to start a business. And what opportunity ignites is hope. That’s what pushes people through difficult times.

That’s why Republicans are calling for a confident America—where hard work, honesty, thrift, education are all rewarded. We believe in giving people a hand up, a step up—in empowering them to live out their dreams. That’s the confident America we believe in—and the one we believe we can build together. Thank you.

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Oklahoma Rep. Lisa Johnson-Billy to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2016/03/25

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today announced that Oklahoma State Representative Lisa Johnson-Billy will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, March 26. In the address, coming near the end of Women's History Month, Rep. Johnson-Billy will share some of her life story and talk about the importance of expanding opportunity for all Americans.

“As the first Native American, woman, and Republican to represent the 42nd district of Oklahoma, I know firsthand what it feels like to beat the odds and break down barriers that otherwise may seem impossible,” Rep. Johnson-Billy said. “I’m honored to have this chance to talk with my fellow citizens about why it’s so important that we create the opportunity for everyone to succeed and reach their full potential, on their own terms.”

“Lisa Johnson-Billy is a strong leader with a great belief in the power of opportunity,” Speaker Ryan said. “Women’s History Month is as much about the future as it is the past, and Lisa's story represents the potential of the American Idea. We're fortunate to have her delivering our weekly address to the American people.

Rep. Johnson-Billy was born in Purcell, OK, and was elected to the state legislature in 2004 to represent the 42nd district, making her the first Native American, woman, and Republican to do so. Currently, she serves as the floor leader of the Oklahoma House. Learn more about Rep. Johnson-Billy here.

NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting Saturday, March 26, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov.

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‘Politics can be a battle of ideas, not insults’

2016/03/24

Yesterday, Speaker Ryan delivered an address on the state of American politics to group of House interns from both sides of the aisle. He argued that politics must be about uniting people around principles and specific ideas—not impugning motives and playing to anxieties and fear. This is why House Republicans are working on a bold, conservative agenda to restore a Confident America and give the American people a clear choice in 2016.

Check out some more clips recapping the speech below:

“This sunny message from Ryan is hardly new. He’s been delivering shining city-on-a-hill speeches and accompanying policy papers for some time. It started out with his budget a half-dozen years ago. Now, it’s his ‘Confident America’ push, a policy program aimed at giving the House Republicans a new identity. In the spring, Ryan hopes to release a detailed agenda so the voters can compare and contrast the Republican and Democratic parties.” (POLITICO)

“Ryan’s 15-minute address—he took questions afterward—was a high-minded speech from a high-minded speaker. He spoke eloquently and optimistically about why he got into public service, the nation’s founding ideals, his mentor Jack Kemp, and ‘what politics can be.’” (The Atlantic)

“Speaking to a millennial audience, the generation of Americans that puts a special value on authenticity; Ryan admitted he was not always correct in his views. . . . But Ryan, who took over as speaker in November, clearly sought to not only inspire the young people who were in attendance Wednesday but also to promote his brand of Republican politics for the future.” (NBC News)

“Ryan called for elevating the national political discourse in a year when the Republican presidential campaign fight has often descended into bitter personal feuds. . . . He has sought to position House Republicans—and himself—above the fray of the presidential campaign, saying the chamber should instead focus on advancing bold policy proposals.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Ryan is the ideal of the Republican ‘happy warrior’ in Congress. He is friendly and well-liked on Capitol Hill, despite policy differences, and has always been happier talking budget numbers and intricate federal policy than politics.” (Vice News).

“Trying to distinguish House Republicans from the politics of the presidential race, Ryan is driving an effort in the House to unveil a policy agenda later this year that will provide a platform for his members to run on in November.” (NPR)

“Ryan told the audience of college-aged interns for various House of Representatives offices that his father used to tell him, ‘if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.’ Then he outlined what he believes America can be. . . .But Ryan cautioned against the angry dialogue currently seen in America politics by saying that individuals with opposing views should not be shunned or hated.” (IJ Review)

“Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday denounced the ‘ugliness’ of a 2016 presidential race marked by personal insults and violent protests and called on candidates to elevate their campaign rhetoric. . . .  The 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee instead traded the doom-and-gloom rhetoric from the campaign trail for a more inspirational, upbeat message, arguing that politics can unite people and be a force for good.” (The Hill)

“[H]e’s tried to lead by example on civility, acknowledging his own failings Wednesday. He said he used to deride those stuck in the cycle of poverty as “takers,” who were a drain on the government. But he said after talking with some of those in that position, he realized many of them are trying to raise themselves out of the cycle, but feel trapped.” (Washington Times)

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What Speaker Ryan Gave Up for Lent

2016/03/24

For Catholics, the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday marks a season of sacrifice and reflection, known as Lent. Just as Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert before he began his ministry, many Christians today choose to give up certain types of food. Speaker Ryan acknowledged that he's taken that approach in the past, but this year, he says he chose to give up something else for Lent. Watch the 48-second video to find out what it is. 

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A Special Bill Signing with Speaker Ryan's Children

2016/03/23

It's not every day that you get to sign your own bill to send to the president's desk to become law, but that's exactly what Speaker Ryan did this week when he signed H.R. 1831, an anti-poverty bill he authored with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

As Speaker Ryan explained to his kids, after Congress passes a bill, the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate both sign it before sending it to the White House for the president's final signature into law.

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Two of my children joined me for a very special bill signing. I wrote this bipartisan legislation to help combat poverty nearly two years ago, and now it heads to the president's desk to become law.

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

 

 

If we are ever going to move the needle on poverty in America, we have to change the way that we think about this problem. Instead of putting the focus on effort, we need to focus on results. This bill will help us address how we better treat the root causes, not the symptoms of poverty. Addressing poverty will be a big part of our policy agenda that we will present to the country in the coming months. This is a good first step.” -Speaker Ryan ---

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  1. 8 (Bill-Signing) Photos from February
  2. For Officer Williams
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Read More

FULL TEXT: Speaker Ryan on the State of American Politics

2016/03/23

WASHINGTON — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered an address on the state of American politics to a bipartisan group of House interns. Click here to watch the address in full. Below are Speaker Ryan's full remarks as prepared for delivery:

"I want to thank you all for coming. I want to thank Chairman Brady and the Ways and Means Committee for hosting us here. I had the privilege of joining this committee my second term in Congress. It’s the perfect setting for what I want to talk with you about today. Because it is here, in this committee, that we debate some of the biggest, most consequential issues. Our tax code, health care, trade, entitlement programs, welfare reform. t’s a big deal to be on this committee. And understanding the privilege and the responsibility that came along with it, we took our job seriously.

"And we always held ourselves to a higher standard of decorum. We treated each other with respect.  We disagreed—often fiercely so—but we disagreed without being disagreeable. I speak of this in the past tense only because I no longer serve here. But it almost sounds like I’m speaking of another time, doesn’t it? It sounds like a scene unfamiliar to your generation.

"Looking around at what’s taking place in politics today, it is easy to get disheartened. How many of you find yourself just shaking your head at what you see from both sides? You know, I see myself in each of you. I came here as a curious college intern. Trying to get a sense of everything. Trying to figure out where to take my life. I would always ask older, more experienced people: what do you know that you wished you knew when you were my age?

"This is my answer to that. Here is what I know now that I want you to know—that you cannot see yourself today. And that is not just a lesson for young minds, but a message for all Americans. Our political discourse—both the kind we see on TV and the kind we experience among each other—did not use to be this bad and it does not have to be this way. Now, a little skepticism is healthy. But when people distrust politics, they come to distrust institutions. They lose faith in their government, and the future too. We can acknowledge this. But we don’t have to accept it. And we cannot enable it either.  

"My dad used to say, if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem. So I have made it a mission of my Speakership to raise our gaze and aim for a brighter horizon. Instead of talking about what politics is today, I want to talk about what politics can be. I want to talk about what our country can be…about what our Founders envisioned it to be. America is the only nation founded an idea—not an identity. That idea is the notion that the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life. Our rights are natural. They come from God, not government.

"While it was a beautiful idea, it had never been tried before. Early on, as our founders struggled to establish a suitable order, they decided that we would not maintain this idea by force. In the first Federalist paper, Alexander Hamilton wrote that “in politics,” it is “absurd to aim at making” converts “by fire and sword.” Instead, we would govern ourselves, with the people’s consent. Again, there was no manual for how to do this. That’s why they call it the American experiment.

"So they made each other—and those who came after—take an oath to uphold the Constitution. And every generation since has inherited this responsibility. Leaders with different visions and ideas have come and gone; parties have risen and fallen; majorities and White Houses won and lost. But the way we govern endures: through debate, not disorder. This is one thing about our country that makes it the greatest on earth.

"I must admit, I didn’t always find this idea so exciting…As I said, I came to Washington unsure of what I was going to do with my life. And then I ended up working for a guy named Jack Kemp. Jack once played quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. He went on to represent the people of Western New York in the House in the 1970s and 80s. He served in the Cabinet under President George H.W. Bush. And, like me, he was once our party’s nominee for vice president. 

"But I first met Jack exactly where you’d expect…at Tortilla Coast. It’s true…I was waiting on his table. I didn’t bother him that day, but I told a friend I’d love to have the chance to work for him. And, as luck would have it, such an opening soon arose. The thing about Jack was, he was an optimist all the way. He refused to accept that any part of America–or the American Idea–could be written off. Here was a conservative willing—no, eager—to go to America’s bleakest communities and talk about how free enterprise could lift people out of poverty. These were areas that hadn’t seen a Republican leader come through in years, if ever.

"I had the chance to accompany Jack on some of these visits. I saw how people took to him. I saw how he listened, and took new lessons from each experience. He found common cause with poverty fighters on the ground. Instead of a sense of drift, I began to feel a sense of purpose. Jack inspired me to devote my professional life to public policy. It became a vocation.

"Ideas, passionately promoted and put to the test—that’s what politics can be.That’s what our country can be. It can be a confident America, where we have a basic faith in politics and leaders. It can be a place where we’ve earned that faith. All of us as leaders can hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity and decency. Instead of playing to your anxieties, we can appeal to your aspirations. Instead of playing the identity politics of “our base” and “their base,” we unite people around ideas and principles. And instead of being timid, we go bold. 

"We don’t resort to scaring you, we dare to inspire you. We don’t just oppose someone or something. We propose a clear and compelling alternative. And when we do that, we don’t just win the argument. We don’t just win your support. We win your enthusiasm. We win hearts and minds. We win a mandate to do what needs to be done to protect the American Idea.

"In a confident America, we also have a basic faith in one another. We question each other’s ideas—vigorously—but we don’t question each other’s motives. If someone has a bad idea, we don’t think they’re a bad person. We just think they have a bad idea. People with different ideas are not traitors. They are not our enemies. They are our neighbors, our coworkers, our fellow citizens. Sometimes they’re our friends. Sometimes they’re even our own flesh and blood, right? We all know someone we love who disagrees with us politically, or votes differently.

"But in a confident America, we aren’t afraid to disagree with each other. We don’t lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold. We don’t shut down on people—and we don’t shut people down. If someone has a bad idea, we tell them why our idea is better. We don’t insult them into agreeing with us. We try to persuade them. We test their assumptions. And while we’re at it, we test our own assumptions too. 

"I’m certainly not going to stand here and tell you I have always met this standard. There was a time when I would talk about a difference between “makers” and “takers” in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong. “Takers” wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don't want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.

"So I stopped thinking about it that way—and talking about it that way. But I didn’t come out and say all this to be politically correct. I was just wrong. And of course, there are still going to be times when I say things I wish I hadn’t.  There are still going to be times when I follow the wrong impulse. 

"Governing ourselves was never meant to be easy. This has always been a tough business. And when passions flair, ugliness is sometimes inevitable. But we shouldn’t accept ugliness as the norm. We should demand better from ourselves and from one another. We should think about the great leaders that have bestowed upon us the opportunity to live the American Idea. We should honor their legacy. We should build that more confident America.

"This, as much as anything, is what makes me an optimist. It is knowing that ideas can inspire a country and help people. Long before I worked for him, Jack Kemp had a tax plan that he was incredibly passionate about. He wasn’t even on the Ways and Means Committee and Republicans were deep in the minority back then. So the odds of it going anywhere seemed awfully low. But he was like a dog with a bone. He took that plan to any audience he could get in front of. He pushed it so hard that he eventually inspired our party’s nominee for president—Ronald Reagan—to adopt it as his own. And in 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work.

"All it took was someone willing to put policy on paper and promote it passionately. This is the basic concept behind the policy agenda that House Republicans are building right now. As leaders, we have an obligation to put our best ideas forward—no matter the consequences. With so much at stake, the American people deserve a clear picture of what we believe. Personalities come and go, but principles endure. Ideas endure, ready to inspire generations yet to be born.

"That’s the thing about politics. We think of it in terms of this vote or that election. But it can be so much more than that. Politics can be a battle of ideas, not insults. It can be about solutions. It can be about making a difference. It can be about always striving to do better. That’s what it can be and what it should be. This is the system our Founders envisioned. It’s messy. It’s complicated. It’s infuriating at times. And it’s a beautiful thing too. Thank you all for being here today."

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Speaker Ryan Applauds Rules Committee for Leading on Open Government

2016/03/23

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the House Rules Committee publishing text of the House Rules and Manual in XML format:

“This step is another example of the House creating a more open and accountable government. By making this data more readily accessible, we take down barriers, enhance transparency, and put the people in charge. I applaud the work of Chairman Sessions, the Rules Committee, the House parliamentarians, and the clerk of the House for their hard work in making these reforms.”  

NOTE: Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a machine-readable format, which will allow for greater functionality in indexing, referencing, and analysis of legislative data.

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A Confident America Stands by Its Allies

2016/03/22

A #ConfidentAmerica stands by its allies, especially the state of #Israel. https://t.co/BgLkX4RzgH #AIPAC2016 pic.twitter.com/26seAlzxaK

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 22, 2016

Yesterday, Speaker Ryan addressed nearly 18,000 pro-Israel activists at the 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference. His speech focused on the importance of maintaining solidarity with our allies, especially Israel; the dangers of the Iran deal; and the need to push back against efforts to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. Speaker Ryan, who announced that his first overseas trip as speaker will be to Israel, argued that restoring a Confident America requires defending our allies and standing up to our enemies. 

Check out some of the latest coverage of Speaker Ryan’s remarks below:

House Speaker: Iran Deal Legitimized Nuclear Program “House Speaker Paul Ryan hammered the Obama administration on Monday for the nuclear deal with Iran, telling America's leading pro-Israel group that the agreement legitimized Iran's nuclear program instead of dismantling it.” (Associated Press)

Speaker Ryan Offers AIPAC Policy Pledges, Announces Trip to Israel “Ryan called for expanding bilateral security arrangements with Israel to put more emphasis on missile defense and for continuing to help Israel with the cooperative missile programs known as Arrow 3 and David’s Sling. He also called for pushing back against Iranian 'aggression in Lebanon, Yemen and Syria' and any attempts to 'boycott, divest from or sanction Israel.' (Washington Post)

Iran Deal 'Terrible,' Says House Speaker Ryan U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Monday at the AIPAC conference that Israel has ‘no greater friend than America,’ after railing against the Iran deal and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement to large applause from the audience. Criticizing the Iran deal as ‘terrible,’ Ryan said, ‘we all wanted the talks to succeed, but we were supposed to get something out of it. It's not a coincidence that every few months we see a new missile test.’ He said the deal had in fact ‘legitimized Iran's nuclear program.’" (Jerusalem Post)

Ryan to Travel to Israel Over Easter Recess “Paul Ryan will announce at the AIPAC policy conference Monday evening that he will travel to Israel in the next few weeks for his first trip abroad as speaker of the House, according to a source familiar with his remarks. The Wisconsin Republican will head to Israel during the upcoming Easter recess, the source said. . . . ‘That is why my first overseas trip as speaker will be to return to Israel,’ Ryan will continue.” (POLITICO)

House Speaker Paul Ryan to AIPAC: ‘Instead of Dismantling Iran’s Nuclear Program, We Legitimized It’ “'I don’t think it’s an accident that every few months we hear of Iran launching yet another ballistic missile,' Ryan told AIPAC delegates at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. 'Instead of dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, we legitimized it.'” (Algemeiner)

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Speaker Ryan: ‘I Stand in Support of the Little Sisters'

2016/03/22

WASHINGTON — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke on the House floor in support of the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have asked the Supreme Court for protection from the Affordable Care Act's HHS mandate through which the government is forcing them to violate their religious beliefs. The arguments in the case—Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell—will be heard tomorrow at the Supreme Court. Below are Speaker Ryan’s full remarks as delivered:

“Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. And today, I stand in support of the Little Sisters.

“Mr. Speaker, this is an order of Catholic nuns who serve the elderly poor in 31 countries. We talk a lot about public service up here. Well, these are the people who live it. They are the definition of public service.

“In fact, I had the honor of hosting two of the sisters at the State of the Union Address this January. And I was amazed to hear of all the good work that they do. So the last thing the federal government should do is make their jobs harder. But that, unfortunately, is exactly what this administration is doing.

“Under the health-care law, the Department of Health and Human Services is insisting on a regulation that requires the sisters to offer benefits that violate their religious beliefs. The administration claims to have offered them an ‘accommodation.’ But it is just a fig leaf. So this is the choice that they are facing: Either violate your faith or pay up to $70 million a year in fines. “Mr. Speaker, there is no good reason for any of this. A full one third of the American people are exempt from this regulation. So why insist that the sisters—of all people—follow it? There are other ways to protect people’s health—that do not violate people’s faith.

“And Mr. Speaker, it is clear to anyone with eyes to see that this regulation is a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. A broad, bipartisan majority in Congress voted for that law. And what Congress said was this: The burden is not on your faith to obey government mandates. The burden is on the government to respect your faith.

“Mr. Speaker, that is the very meaning of religious liberty. That is one of our founding principles. That is why we should do everything we can to let people live out their faith. That is why many colleagues of mine and I have joined an amicus brief asking the Court to grant the sisters the relief that they deserve.

"And that is why I am here today—to stand in defense of the sisters, to stand in defense of the law, and to stand in defense of religious liberty. Thank you.”

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Speaker Ryan: ‘Our Prayers Are with Brussels, as Is Our Solidarity’

2016/03/22

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Our Prayers Are With Brussels

We stand in solidarity with the people of Brussels, and pray for the victims of this horrendous act of terror.

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

WASHINGTON — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) made the following statement in response to the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium: “I want to express the condolences of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Belgian people. I know we’re all watching this right now, and this scene is just so horrific.

“One minute, people are going about their day. The next minute, people are running for their lives. This is a terrorist attack in the heart of Europe.

“As our countries have always done, we must confront this threat together. We must defend democracy, and defeat terror.

“Our prayers are with Brussels, as is our solidarity.”

We stand in solidarity with the people of #Brussels, and pray for the victims of this horrendous act of terror.

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 22, 2016
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FULL TEXT: Speaker Ryan's Remarks at 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference

2016/03/21

WASHINGTON  Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) addressed the 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC, to discuss the importance of taking action to defend and strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. To watch the address in full, click here. Below are Speaker Ryan’s full remarks as prepared for delivery: "Thank you very much. Howard Kohr, Bob Cohen, Lillian Pinkus—thank you so much for inviting me. I’m honored to be here and to see all of you. And I know that you heard from a lot of people today. So I will get right to the point:

"It is always a good thing when America’s leaders declare their support for Israel. But it is not enough. The speeches, the statements—all the words in the world mean nothing if you don’t back them up with action.

"That is why, two years ago, when the rockets were falling on Tel Aviv, the House approved emergency support for the Iron Dome.

"That is why, within just two months of my becoming speaker, we voted to fund every penny of our security assistance commitment.

"That is why my first overseas trip as speaker will be to return to Israel.

"And that is why I can pledge to you tonight that as long as I am speaker, I will not allow any legislation that divides our countries to come to the House floor.

"It is action and deeds that builds trust. And our friendship is too important—the dangers we face are too real—to let there be any misgivings between us.

"Like my House colleagues, I understand that America is not safer when we back away from Israel. America is safer when we stand with Israel. So if there’s one thing I want you to take away from tonight, it is this:

"My colleagues and I will do everything we can to strengthen our friendship—not just with words but with concrete achievements. No taking friends for granted. No leaving them in the lurch. A friend is a priority. And America’s leaders should act like it.

"Now, that’s what I think most Americans believe—on both sides of the aisle. But I do hear people raising doubts every now and then. They say things like: 'The Middle East is a mess. It’s none of our business. Why are we involved? Why are we picking sides?'

"They say our alliance is not an asset, but a liability. They say that it hamstrings America—that it cuts against our interests. And in my experience, it does us no good to airily wave off our opponents—or to dismiss them as narrow-minded. That doesn’t bridge the divide. That deepens it.

"Instead, we should confront their argument head-on. Have a real conversation. And I would say to them that I firmly believe the friendship between our two countries is not just in Israel’s interests, but in America’s.

"It is good for Israel. It is good for America. And it is good for the world. "To me, it is a lesson of history. For many years, we avoided what Thomas Jefferson called 'entangling alliances,' We were not as strong a country back then. And the great powers wanted to use us for their own purposes.

"There was no reason for us to play the pawn in their chess game. So we stayed out.

"That all changed in World War II. We learned the hard way that even if you don’t go looking for trouble, it has a way of finding you. "The day that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, we realized that two oceans could not protect us anymore. We had grown too strong for our enemies to ignore us. Our interests now reached across the world—and so did the threats.

"We couldn’t beat back Nazi panzers in North Africa, and liberate the islands of the South Pacific, and climb the cliffs of Normandy all on our own.

"We had to work with other countries who shared our objectives. We had to lead a global alliance.

"After the war was over, a new threat emerged: an aggressive and expansionist Soviet Union. The Soviets were setting up puppet regimes in Eastern Europe. They were aiming missiles at our friends in Western Europe. They were on the march in Asia and Africa and South America.

"And so we faced a choice. Either we could withdraw from the world, arm ourselves to the teeth, and make ourselves into a garrison state. Or we could pursue a forward-leaning defense. Create a community of free nations. Keep open the lanes of commerce. Build institutions that would foster cooperation. And that’s exactly what we did.

"These were the years that we created NATO and GATT and the International Monetary Fund. And of course in 1948 we were the very first country to recognize the state of Israel—just minutes after she declared independence. Both the world war and the Cold War taught us that free countries are safer when we work with each other, when we stand by each other, when we trust each other—because then, when a threat arises, we can confront it together.

"The threats are very different now. North Korea thumbs its nose at the world as it plays with its nuclear weapons. Iran openly backs tyrants and funds terrorist groups as it jockeys for dominance in the Middle East. An emboldened Russia is only too happy to try to reclaim its neighbors as client states. And with the rise of ISIS, an even deadlier strain of Islamist extremism has taken hold.

"Once again we face an aggressive militant ideology—with an assist from a gang of rogue states.

"And why is our relationship with Israel so important? Because in the fight against terrorism and proliferation, our interests are one and the same. For the terrorists, Israel is the first target, and we are the ultimate one. That’s because we share the same values.

"Israel, like us, is a liberal democracy in a sea of authoritarian regimes. So when America helps Israel, both countries become stronger. Both countries are protecting our way of life.

"Just remember: Israel does not fund terrorism in other countries. But it does help the New York Police Department fight terrorism in our country.   "And this is the crux of the matter: I think the current administration understands that we need our allies. But it doesn’t understand what our allies need.

"They need more than vague assurances that we’ve got their back. They need to see with their own eyes the measure of our commitment.

"And I don’t say this to castigate or lay blame. I say this to bring clarity to the situation we are in. I think this is the fundamental misunderstanding that has undermined our security.

"Exhibit A is the Iran deal. I think it was a terrible deal—and because of it, our friends in the Middle East are losing faith in us—or at least in our judgment. Iran got billions of dollars in sanctions relief, and in exchange for what? For taking apart some—not all, just some—of its nuclear program. And then in 10 or 15 years, all these limits will expire.

"In other words, they got something for essentially nothing. It was a steal. And that’s if they don’t cheat. We all wanted the negotiations to succeed. But we were supposed to get something out of it. And it is fine to negotiate with our enemies—but not at our friends’ expense. That doesn’t make any of us any safer.

"I don’t think it’s an accident that every few months we hear of Iran launching yet more ballistic missiles. Instead of dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, we legitimized it. This is a huge threat to Israel. And it is a threat to our country too.

"But whatever you think about the Iran deal, I want to make something clear: Whether you opposed it or supported it, whether you are optimistic or skeptical, it is your right to petition your government on any issue . . . at any time. And if anybody questions that right, I just want you to know that we stand with you.

"So at this point, I think we’ve got to do everything we can to shore up our alliance. We have to hold Iran accountable for its violations. We have to push back against Iranian aggression in Lebanon, Yemen, and Syria. We have to extend our bilateral security agreement with Israel and expand it to include missile defense. We have to continue helping Israel develop the Arrow 3 and David’s Sling. And yes, we have to push back—with clarity and firmness—against any attempt by other countries to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel.

"What all these things will do is send a signal: that America has no greater friend than Israel, and that we will stand by her through thick and thin.

"Along these lines, in the House, I have appointed several of our members to a task force on national security. Their goal is to develop a strategy for a confident America. And near the top of their to-do list is how to strengthen our allies like Israel.

"To sum up our approach, I would use the words of General James Mattis: We need to ‘take our own side in the fight.’

"And as we put together an agenda for the next president, we are going to need the help of AIPAC and everyone here today—especially the thousands of young people. The decisions we make today will determine what kind of world you will inherit. And just seeing you here—and knowing that you want to take part—gives me a lot of hope for our future. Because with your help, I know we can do this.

"And so I want to leave you with this: I think we need to build a confident America. And the way I see it, a confident America does not shirk our commitments or shunt aside our allies.

"A confident America does not distance itself from Israel or cozy up to Iran. A confident America keeps its word. It stands by our allies. It stands by Israel. Because that is what will keep the peace. That is what will keep us safe. That is what both of our countries need to thrive.

"I know I just threw a lot at you. And you probably are thinking, 'What does a guy from Janesville, Wisconsin care about Israel?' But before I leave, I just wanted to say that there’s actually a vibrant Jewish community in my state. And it’s one that I’m very proud of. "I should say that there’s also a huge, pro-Israel community—full of people from both parties, many different faiths, and all walks of life. In fact, when my wife Janna and I go to visit houses of worship—of all denominations—one of the most frequent questions I get is about my stand on Israel. So the pro-Israel community is not just some constituency to me. They are my friends and family and neighbors.

"I know what the pro-Israel community has done for Wisconsin—and for the world. And you will always have my deepest gratitude.

"And so I want to thank you again for having me tonight. And I want to thank you in advance for all the work that you will do to help us strengthen that essential friendship between Israel and America. Thank you."

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House Action on the Opioid Epidemic

2016/03/21

“This is one of those times when we all may know—we certainly do in my family—we all may know other families who’ve been affected by this growing epidemic, this problem ... We need to make addressing this opioid epidemic a priority, and that is exactly what the House will do.” -- Speaker Ryan, March 15

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has announced that the House will take up legislation in May to combat the nation's opioid epidemic.

Here is a summary of legislation that the full House has passed:

Here is a summary of action by House committees:

Education & the Workforce

  • H.R. 4843, by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), which will require the Department of Health and Human Services to better ensure states are meeting current child welfare requirements, particularly protections for infants born with illegal substance exposure.

Energy & Commerce

  • H.R. 4641, by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA), which will help develop the best practices for the use of prescription opioids to prevent lawful prescription use from becoming addictive.
  • H.R. 3250, by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), which will ban the sale of drugs containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to those under 18, reducing the risk of youth opioid addiction.
  • H.R. 4978, by Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), which will require the Comptroller General of the United States to issue a report on neonatal abstinence system to determine how effectively current programs are helping babies suffering withdrawal.
  • H.R. 3680, by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), which will authorize grants for co-prescribing opioid reversal drugs to those patients with a high risk of overdose, saving lives by improving our ability to stop opioid overdoses.
  • H.R. 3691, by Rep. Ben Lujan (D-NM), which will authorize a pilot program for state substance abuse agencies to flexibly use funding to help pregnant and postpartum women with a substance abuse disorders, helping women and their infant children who face the hardship of addiction.
  • H.R. 4599, by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), which will allow prescriptions to only be partially fulfilled by a pharmacist—at the request of the doctor—to limit the number of prescription opioids available.
  • H.R. 1818, by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), which will streamline the procedures for veterans with emergency medical training to become civilian emergency medical technicians, increasing the number of medical first responders to help those at risk of overdose.
  • H.R. 4586, by Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), which will improve the dispensation of opioid overdose reversal medication.
  • H.R. 4969,  by Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), which will improve information and materials available to teenagers and adolescents injured in sports who are at risk opioid addiction.
  • H.R. 4976, by Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), which will task the FDA to make an action plan on how to deal with the opioid epidemic.

Judiciary

  • H.R. 3394, by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), which will allow the blocked assets of foreign terrorist drug dealers to be used to compensate victims of terrorist attacks that they perpetrated.
  • H.R. 5046, by Rep. Jim Sensbrenner (R-WI), which will establish a streamlined, comprehensive opioid abuse grant program that encompasses a variety of new and existing programs, such as vital training and resources for first responders and law enforcement, criminal investigations for the unlawful distribution of opioids, drug courts, and residential substance abuse treatment.
  • H.R. 5048, by Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH), require the Government Accountability Office to study state and local Good Samaritan laws that protect caregivers, law enforcement personnel, and first responders who administer opioid overdose reversal drugs or devices from criminal liability, as well as those who contact emergency service providers in response to an overdose.
  • H.R. 5052, by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), which will increase the transparency and accountability of the comprehensive opioid abuse grant program.

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Grassroots Momentum Builds for DC School Choice

2016/03/21

Grassroots momentum continues to build for renewing the DC school choice program, which makes K-12 education more affordable and accessible for children across our nation’s capital. In letters to congressional leaders, two key organizations have joined a growing coalition supporting the SOAR Act (H.R. 10):

  • The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the leading organization supporting historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs): “There are two TMCF member schools in the Washington, D.C. area: Howard University and University of the District of Columbia. While our primary focus is higher education, we cannot ignore the direct impact that a quality K-12 education has on student achievement in college. The SOAR Act makes quality education options more affordable and accessible for low-income students, especially students of color in our nation’s capital. . . . We support this legislation and would like to work with you and your colleagues to see it become law.”
  • U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education: “H.R. 10 will reauthorize and strengthen this highly successful program that benefits all families who have students in public, charter, and private schools in DC. 2016 marks the twelfth year for this impactful program, which has been an educational lifeline for nearly 6,400 children from low-income DC families since it began in the 2004-2005 school year. … The OSP has demonstrably improved educational outcomes for children in low-income families.   

Earlier this month, the SOAR Act—which was introduced by former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)—picked up the support of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and a majority of the DC city council, who wrote: “We urge you to ensure that the SOAR Reauthorization Act becomes law before the end of this Congress.”

And last week, the Washington Post editorial board called for the program’s renewal, arguing that The scholarships provide a lifeline to low-income and underserved families, giving them the school choice that more affluent families take as a given. And because the program results in more federal money for D.C. public education and not less — another myth advanced by opponents — it’s time for Congress to act.”

As Speaker Ryan said, “This initiative embodies the American Idea—the notion that the condition of your birth doesn’t determine the outcome of your life.” That’s exactly why we must act to help ensure our children receive the quality education they deserve.

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The Constitution Is Clear: Presidents Don't Write Laws. Congress Does.

2016/03/19

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This president's gross abuse of executive power must be stopped. Yesterday, the House of Representatives took an...

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday, March 18, 2016
 
This week, the House of Representatives took an unprecedented step to defend our Constitution against this president’s gross abuse of executive power.   In response to the president’s executive amnesty, the House voted to authorize me to file an amicus brief on behalf of the House in the upcoming U.S. v. Texas Supreme Court case.   This is bigger than any one policy—this about protecting our Article I powers. The Constitution is clear: Presidents don't write laws. Congress does. Congress writes the laws, and presidents enforce the laws.   This president’s pattern of executive overreach has strengthened a fourth branch of government—unelected bureaucrats—that operates with little to no transparency and undermines Congress.   As I argued on the House floor prior to this vote, we must defend the principles of self-determination, self-government, and government by consent of the governed. That’s why we are moving forward with legal action to return power to the American people.   Sincerely,     (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

The Constitution is clear. Article I: Congress writes laws. Article II: presidents faithfully execute those...

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, March 17, 2016
 

 

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Speaker Ryan: President Is Still Bound by the U.S. Trade Embargo on Castro’s Cuba

2016/03/18

Yesterday morning at his weekly press briefing, Speaker Ryan addressed the president’s upcoming trip to Cuba and made the point that the trade embargo with the Communist nation is still intact and enforceable. As Speaker Ryan stated, “That is the law of the land.” Below are his full comments:

“In a few days, the president will be traveling to Cuba. Before he does, let’s not forget something: Let’s not forget that the Castro regime has been guilty of countless human rights abuses.

“To this day, this is a regime that provides safe harbor to terrorists and to fugitives. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that the president will bring up the need for reform during his visit.

“Instead, he is set to announce new commercial deals between U.S. companies and the Cuban regime—deals that will legitimize and strengthen the communist government.

“However, our trade embargo on Castro’s Cuba—passed by Congress in 1959—is still intact and enforceable. Despite the president’s attempts to undermine this embargo by executive action, he is ultimately bound by it.

“That is the law of the land.” 

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An Extraordinary Step to Defend Our Article I Powers

2016/03/18

Yesterday, the House voted to authorize Speaker Ryan to file an amicus brief on behalf of the House in the upcoming U.S. v. Texas Supreme Court case. This is an extraordinary step necessary to defend Congress's Article I powers under the Constitution. As Speaker Ryan said on the House floor prior to this vote, “This is not a question of whether or not we are for or against any certain policy. . . . It is about the integrity of our Constitution.”

Check out some of the latest clips highlighting this critical vote:

“Ryan argued that the unprecedented move to weigh in on the case — U.S. v. Texas et al — on behalf of the entire House of Representatives was more about preserving the position of the legislative branch of government than advocating his party's position on immigration.” (CNN)

“Republicans were largely in agreement on Thursday that the House should defend the right of Congress to make laws, and that the president overstepped his constitutional authority in 2014 when he ordered authorities to defer the deportation of thousands of people now living here illegally.” (Washington Examiner)

“Republicans who hold a commanding majority cast the issue as Obama exceeding his constitutional authority in unilaterally expanding programs for immigrants. They prevailed on a 234-186 vote that authorizes Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to file a friend-of-the-court brief in the case of United States v. Texas.”(Fox News)

“The House passed a resolution Thursday that sets the stage for the chamber to file a brief in a Supreme Court case where Republicans argue President Barack Obama overstepped his authority with an executive order on immigration.” (POLITICO)

“The unprecedented move will insert the House into one of the most hotly contested Supreme Court cases in the middle of the presidential campaign. . . . Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said it was critical for the House to submit an opinion as an entire body in order to bolster the argument that only Congress should have the authority to overhaul existing laws.” (The Hill)

“Most Republicans have been vocal critics of the White House’s plan to defer deportation for millions of illegal immigrants. Lower courts have blocked his plan from going forward, and the Supreme Court in April is expected to hear oral arguments on the issue in a legal challenge brought by more than two dozen mostly Republican-led states.” (Wall Street Journal)

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Gold Medal Ceremony: Congress to Honor 65th Infantry Regiment, the Borinqueneers

2016/03/18

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, April 13, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will present a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers, for its pioneering military service, devotion to duty, and many acts of valor in the face of adversity.

The 65th Infantry is a Puerto Rican regiment of the United States Army that bravely fought and served the U.S. during times of combat, including World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. For its extraordinary service to the nation in the Korean War, the soldiers of the Regiment earned one Medal of Honor, nine Distinguished Service Crosses, approximately 250 Silver Stars, over 600 Bronze Stars, and more than 2,700 Purple Hearts.

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

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow. In accordance with Public Law No: 113-120, a single gold medal has been struck to honor the 65th Infantry Regiment, the Borinqueneers for its valor, determination, and bravery displayed during the Korean War. For a behind-the-scenes look at the history of the Congressional Gold Medal, click here.

The ceremony will take place on April 13, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. ET in Emancipation Hall and will be live-streamed on speaker.gov/live

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A Duty & Moral Obligation to Offer an Agenda

2016/03/18

At his weekly press briefing, Speaker Ryan was asked about what he will speak out about in 2016. Here was part of his answer: 

“Look, I am who I am. I'm a conservative who believes in specific principles and specific policies, and I'm going to speak out on those all the time.

“Here's what I can control, and here's what I'm going to do. I, as Speaker of the House, am going to lead an effort for all of our members of the House Republican caucus to offer an agenda to the country so that we can take an agenda to the men and women of America to show them how we get America back on track.

“More than two-thirds of the people in this country think America is headed in the wrong direction. That's not just Republicans. We, as the other party, have a moral obligation and a duty to offer a very bold and specific alternative course, so that if we win this election, then we have an obligation and a mandate given to us from the citizens of this country to go on that course, to put those reforms in place, to get this country back on the right track.

“That's something I can control. That's something I can be involved in. That's something I can help deliver. That's what I'm focused on.”

To learn more about this agenda, visit speaker.gov/ConfidentAmerica.

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One more and he fouls out

2016/03/18

It’s only day two of March Madness, but the president has already racked up a few fouls when it comes to energy policy this month.

1. Offshore double-cross: This week, the Obama administration announced it is withdrawing its proposed oil and natural gas lease sales off the southeast Atlantic coast, which the administration had promised the states in a draft plan last year. As Speaker Ryan stated, “President Obama is so intent on solidifying his radical climate legacy that he has backed out of his commitment to a large, bipartisan coalition of state leaders. These states simply want to explore their own energy potential, but the president’s reversal has disenfranchised them of this chance.”

2. More methane regulations: Last week, President Obama announced that its EPA will begin developing regulations from existing sources of methane emissions from oil and gas sources. Note that these are different from the regulations that the EPA has already levied on new sources of methane emission from oil and gas development. At a time when America’s oil and natural gas industry is struggling, it’s revealing that the president would choose to side with OPEC to batter this American industry when it’s down.

3. Keystone, where art thou? At the meeting with new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Obama announced a series of other energy issues that the U.S. and Canadian governments will be collaborating together on. What was noticeably absent from the list? The Keystone XL pipeline, which would have created good-paying jobs and boosted trade between the two countries. Congress passed legislation on a major bipartisan basis to build the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline last January, which the president vetoed in November.

4. Cutting off the Arctic: A new policy that was announced last week is the new U.S.—Canada partnership to “protect more Arctic marine areas and to establishing a new conservation target for the Arctic based on the best available climate science.” While conservation of the Arctic is something everyone supports, the reality is that for this administration, conservation has become synonymous to cutting off economic development and even recreational access. The state of Alaska has suffered greatly at the hands of this administration. As Charlotte Bower, mayor of the North Slope explained, "While the latest U.S.-Canada joint statement touts support of strong Arctic communities, the policies outlined will only exacerbate the problems these communities face by adding yet another barrier to economic and community development in the Arctic.”

Just one more this month and the president will have fouled out. We’re not holding our breath, but we’re not standing by the sidelines either. Why? Because it’s the American people—particularly the poor—who lose when the president screws up our nation’s energy policy and the cost of energy soars.

As this president tries to make development more difficult and energy more expensive, House Republicans have a different vision. Promoting American energy is key to our Confident America agenda project. As the agenda’s Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens mission statement outlines, House Republicans want to “make it easier to invest, produce and build in America with a modern and transparent regulatory system that relieves the burden on small businesses and other job creators and encourages financial independence, while balancing environmental stewardship, public safety, and consumer interests.”

We will be taking this pro-growth agenda to the American people so we can implement these policies with a Republican president in 2017. In the meantime, Congress will continue to work double-time to protect Americans against this administration’s energy fouls. Just this week, the House passed the Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment (SENSE) Act, which demonstrates that energy innovation and environmental protection can, and do, go hand in hand. 

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How an Irish Speaker Celebrates St. Patrick's Day

2016/03/17

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, March 17, 2016

Speaker Ryan takes special pride in his Irish roots. So when it came time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, he managed to stretch out the festivities for nearly an entire week, in many of the traditional ways you might expect, including:

  1. Wearing green  ✓
  2. Drinking Guinness  ✓
  3. Making bad Irish jokes  ✓

BONUS: Hanging out with the Prime Minister of Ireland (shown below) ✓

This year, for the first time ever, the annual Friends of Ireland tradition—which began with Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill—was open to the press and livestreamed to the public. Click here or the video below to watch Speaker Ryan's six minute speech.

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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.