Undoing years of military cuts was a top priority. We:— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) October 9, 2018
→ Gave our troops their biggest pay raise in 9 years
→ Fully funded the Pentagon
→ Addressed our military readiness crisis
Sec. Mattis is getting what he needs to build a more agile, lethal 21st-century fighting force. pic.twitter.com/qGGeQDykmr
Restoring Military ‘Primacy’: “I am very confident that what the Congress has now done, and the president is going to allocate to us in the budget, is what we need to bring us back to a position of primacy,” Secretary Mattis said earlier this year on defense funding.
2.6: The recent Defense funding bill gave U.S. troops a 2.6 percent raise—their biggest pay raise in nine years—recognizing the dedication of the more than 1.3 million active-duty troops.
Before: “Pentagon to cut spending by $78 billion, reduce troop strength” (The Washington Post, 1/7/11)
After: “After years of devastating cuts, we’re now rebuilding our military like never before,” President Trump noted as he signed a $716 billion defense funding bill. “Every day our military was fighting for us, and now we’re fighting for you.” (The Washington Times, 8/13/18) … “For The First Time In A Decade, The Department Of Defense Begins New Fiscal Year With Funding In Place” (WTKR, 10/1/18)
When They Come Home: When service members come home, it is our duty to serve them. That’s why this Congress has made it a priority to provide adequate funding for the Defense Health Program, supporting troops, military families, and retirees. It’s also why months of work went into a bill to implement true reforms throughout the Veterans Affairs health care system—reforms that will finally restore the care of veterans to the front and center of the VA’s mission. The VA MISSION Act is now law, moving one step closer to a system where veterans receive the high-quality, timely care they have more than earned.
A Better Way: Two years ago, Speaker Ryan and House Republican leaders promised to rebuild our military: “We offer a better way to give us the kind of military we need to do the job that we ask of our brave men and women serving in our military.” With the Defense Department fully funded on time for the first time in 10 years, and unprecedented resources dedicated to bolstering readiness, this is a promise delivered.
Better Off Now: “We did not just undo military cuts. We wanted to equip our armed forces with the resources they needed to address a devastating readiness crisis. We moved from aging equipment and undertrained troops to a historic defense buildup…Secretary Mattis is getting what he needs to build a more agile, lethal 21st-century fighting force.”
Better Off Now Guide
Part 1: The Booming Economy
Two years ago, @HouseGOP offered the country a unified, optimistic policy agenda—#ABetterWay. Today:— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) October 8, 2018
→ The unemployment rate is at 49-year low
→ Wages and benefits are up
→ 9/10 workers will see more take home pay
America’s economy and its workers are #BetterOffNow. pic.twitter.com/BdCW7tIEtK
Throughout this week on Speaker.gov, we will be highlighting ways Americans are better off now, as Speaker Ryan discussed in a recent speech at the National Press Club. First up, the economy.
The good times: “I view this as the strongest labor market in a generation. These really are the good times,” Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, said after the nation’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since 1969.
3 in 4: “Three in four voters rate both the national economy and their own local economy as very or somewhat good,” according to CBS News.
Before: “Seven Years Later, Recovery Remains the Weakest of the Post-World War II Era” (The Wall Street Journal, 7/29/16)
After: “The U.S. economy grew at a strong 4.2 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, the best showing in nearly four years. Growth stayed on track to produce its strongest gain in more than a decade. . .” (CBS/AP, 8/29/18)
What it’s all about: With broad and inclusive growth, more people are leaving their jobs voluntarily to find better ones. People with disabilities are finding more opportunities. Less experienced workers have their best shot at a job in years. “It makes me feel on top of the world,” said Jill Whitehead, who saw her summer job turn into a permanent one as part of the best job market in years.
Overcoming the ‘yeah, but’s. Throughout this year, this economic turnaround has continued to defy the skeptics. There was the “but wages still lag” phase. Well, now wages and benefits are growing at their fastest rate in 10 years. There was the “but productivity still lags” phase. Well, now productivity is rising at its fastest rate in three years.
A better way: Tax reform gets a lot of the attention, but we also delivered on financial reform to help unlock credit for small businesses and families, record regulatory relief to lift the tangle of red tape that was suffocating businesses, and long-overdue improvements to our nation’s infrastructure.
Better off now: “Today, our country is turning the corner. American families are better off now. The economy is growing. At more than twice the rate two years ago. Wages and benefits are up, growing at their fastest rate in 10 years. Job openings are at a record high. Consumer confidence is near a record high. Productivity. Manufacturing. Retail sales. Home sales. All of these things are up. And, the nation’s unemployment rate has just dropped to a 49-year low.” Watch the clip.
On his final visit overseas as Speaker of the House, Speaker Ryan spent time with our troops in Afghanistan to thank the men and women who continue to serve our country fighting the war against global terrorism. Joined by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), the speaker traveled to multiple bases located throughout the country. For Speaker Ryan, there is no greater honor than visiting our troops, saying: “These brave soldiers have served, many on repeat deployments, and America stands firmly behind them in our gratitude.”
Here are seven photos from Speaker Ryan’s visit to our troops stationed in Afghanistan:
1. Equipment Demonstration – Troops stationed at Camp Shorab in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan show Speaker Ryan how to operate a piece of equipment.
2. Base Tour – Chairman Thornberry and Speaker Ryan are led by U.S. military officials on a tour of Camp Morehead near the Afghan capital of Kabul.
3. Bird’s-eye View – Speaker Ryan learns about U.S. military operations at Camp Morehead.
4. A Lesson in Aerial Systems – Speaker Ryan and Chairman Thornberry speak with the Task Force Southwest Marines about Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) at Camp Shorab.
5. On Wisconsin – Speaker Ryan takes a photo with two soldiers (and Wisconsinites) stationed with the Task Force Southwest at Camp Shorab.
6. Military Vehicle – Speaker Ryan learns about the operations of a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) vehicle.
7. U.S. Special Forces – While visiting Camp Shorab, the speaker talks with a U.S. Special Forces Ranger.
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has concluded a two-day congressional delegation (CODEL) visit to Afghanistan. He was joined by House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX). While in country, Ryan and Thornberry met with U.S. troops to thank them for their continued service and sacrifice, met with military and State Department officials to assess progress following the implementation of the president’s South Asia strategy, and met with senior Afghan and coalition officials.
“For my last visit overseas as Speaker of the House and as a member of Congress, on behalf of our entire country, I wanted to thank the men and women who continue to sacrifice every day in the war against global terrorism,” Ryan said. “This conflict—the sacrifices being made—matter. These brave soldiers have served, many on repeat deployments, and America stands firmly behind them in our gratitude.
“In addition to thanking our troops, assessing the conflict on-the-ground was important in informing the legislative branch. The future of Afghanistan will be written by their security services and I was heartened to hear of the progress that Afghan special mission units, including the Commandos, have made in degrading the threat of terrorism in their own country. They have suffered significant casualties and continue to persevere against a determined enemy.
“After this visit, it is clear to me that the president’s South Asia strategy must be given an opportunity to succeed. Fighting terrorism in this region remains in our nation’s vital interest and it is clear the current momentum of our military campaign is underpinning our diplomatic efforts to set the conditions for reconciliation.”
The delegation traveled to several locations in Afghanistan including Camp Morehead near the capital of Kabul, Camp Gamberi in the east, and Camp Shorab in the south. Ryan and Thornberry met with U.S. Ambassador John Bass, General Austin S. Miller, and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, among other U.S. and Afghan senior officials.
Speaker Ryan’s visit comes just weeks after Congress passed, and the president signed into law, the first Department of Defense funding bill enacted on time in ten years. As part of a historic defense buildup, this legislation funds an increase in the size of our forces, upgrades our military infrastructure, and boosts our readiness capabilities.
WASHINGTON—Today, in a speech at the National Press Club, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) discussed how Americans are "Better Off Now," highlighting the positive results delivered by Republican policies in contrast to the Democrats' vision for America. Below are Speaker Ryan's full remarks, as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Andrea. It is great to be here this afternoon at the National Press Club.
“One of the most valuable things we have in a democracy is the spirited exchange of ideas.
“By celebrating the First Amendment, this organization plays a vital role in fostering civic dialogue—here and around the world.
“Ideas are what drew me to this line of work.
“I love taking an idea, putting it to paper, going through debate, tweaking and improving it, seeing it come to fruition—and most important of all—watching it improve people’s lives.
“As we now enter the height of a political season, it is a good time to step back from the noise and reflect on where we are.
“Two years ago, we faced a daunting challenge. Our nation was on the wrong path.
“Our economy was still muddling through the worst recovery since the Great Depression. Our military was in the throes of a severe readiness crisis. Big challenges were going unmet.
“So we as House Republicans offered the country a better way, an optimistic, detailed policy agenda.
“And, we have delivered on that agenda.
“Today, our country is turning the corner. American families are better off now.
“The economy is growing. At more than twice the rate two years ago.
“Wages and benefits are up, growing at their fastest rate in 10 years.
“Job openings are at a record high. Consumer confidence is near a record high.
“Productivity. Manufacturing. Retail sales. Home sales. All of these things are up.
“And, the nation’s unemployment rate has just dropped to a 49-year low.
“But there is more.
“Through tax reform alone, nine out of 10 workers will see more take home pay. At least six million workers have received raises, bonuses, and better benefits. And people in at least 49 states are seeing lower utility bills.
“Overall, 57 percent of Americans say things are going well in the country today.
“This is great progress, but we did not set out just to clean up the mess.
“We set out to build up the country’s resilience...to restore that sense of aspiration and opportunity that sets Americans apart. That is how we have delivered on big things.
“We did not just cut taxes. We went from having one of the most burdensome tax codes in the industrialized world to one of the most competitive.
“Through new opportunity zones, distressed areas will be able to draw in new investment for years, if not decades. With that investment comes revitalization and transformation for these communities.
“With an overhauled career and technical education system, it will be easier for students and workers to build their skills and find good jobs.
“We did not just undo military cuts. We wanted to equip our armed forces with the resources they needed to address a devastating readiness crisis. We moved from aging equipment and undertrained troops to a historic defense buildup.
“We recently gave the Pentagon a full year of higher military funding, on time for the first time in 10 years. And it comes with the biggest pay raise for our troops in nine years.
“Secretary Mattis is getting what he needs to build a more agile, lethal 21st-century fighting force.
“We did not just roll back red tape. We went from an administration that kept our resources under lock and key to putting America on a path to being a net energy exporter in the next five years. America is now the world’s leading oil producer too.
“All of these are great turnaround stories.
“We have also taken on the challenges that hit closest to home.
“Take human trafficking, one of the world’s fastest-growing crimes. This spring, Congress passed a law cracking down on websites that make it far, far too easy to sell women and children with impunity.
“Already, we are seeing results. Between April and July, there was a 62 percent reduction in advertising of this kind in North America.
“Websites are shutting down, posting fewer ads and attracting fewer buyers. This is a solid step in the right direction.
“We started implementing real reforms to the VA system, where not too long ago, patients—our veterans, our heroes—were dying while bureaucrats dithered. It was just sickening.
“So this Congress has passed landmark reforms to hold VA officials accountable. We have improved community care programs and modernized the appeals process, so veterans will get better care when they need it.
“And we have delivered a major expansion of the GI Bill. Veterans can now use their education benefits whenever they choose—no time limits.
“Here, too, there are signs of progress. The VA recently announced it has surpassed its goals for the year on delivering appeals decisions for disability claims. We have a long way to go, but we are on the right track.
“We have acted to make our schools safer, and we have stepped up the fight against MS-13, expanding resources for local law enforcement to curb gang activity.
“And Congress has just sent to the president’s desk legislation to address the tide of opioid addiction.
“This epidemic affects all of our communities, claiming the lives of roughly 115 people each day.
“But this is not just about the numbers, as staggering as they are. It is likely you know someone or a family going through this. So you know how it is leeching the life out of so many people.
“With this legislation, we are taking on the illicit and synthetic drugs making their way across our borders. We are expanding and creating new recovery centers, and improving access to treatment, putting our resources in the communities on the front lines.
“There is more work to do, but this is the most significant congressional effort in history to fight a single drug crisis. And, we hope, it will save lives.
“These are all big things we have delivered, big promises we have kept. And if you want to learn more about our record, I encourage you to visit better.gop.
“This is the better way we offered the country two years ago: going bold, staying focused on the things people actually care about, pursuing policies that will improve people’s lives.
“I know this approach seems fairly obvious, but it becomes more evident by the day that Democrats don’t see things this way.
“They have made it clear: their only response to the noise in Washington is more disorder, more chaos. Outrage has become their standard operating procedure.
“Instead of offering an alternative during the debate over tax reform, they said it would lead to ‘Armageddon.’
“Instead of welcoming or even acknowledging the benefits of tax reform, they dismissed it all as ‘crumbs.’
“We want to make tax cuts for individuals and families permanent. They want to repeal tax reform—and raise taxes on hardworking Americans.
“How much? That’s the thing, they won’t say. You have to wonder how that uncertainty feels for a family counting on an expanded child tax credit, or a small business finally getting some real relief.
“While we have worked to secure our borders, Democrats actually want to abolish the agency responsible for enforcing our laws and keeping us safe.
“And while we have worked to lower health care costs, Democrats propose to abolish our health care system as we know it. And it is the best representation of how far today’s Democratic Party has gone off the rails.
“Now Democrats call it ‘Medicare for All,’ because it sounds good, but in reality, it actually ends Medicare in its current form.
“It ends private insurance altogether, including for the roughly 180 million Americans who count on coverage through their employer.
“Everyone—no matter how much you like your plan—would have their plan taken away.
Instead, you will be put into a government-run plan where you will have no say in the cost or the coverage.
“Obamacare meant fewer choices. ‘Medicare for All’ means no choices, no competition.
“How much do you get charged for this?
“A nonpartisan study found that single-payer would cost the government a whopping $32.6 trillion over 10 years.
“Just to put that in perspective, we could double all federal taxes—yours, mine, families, businesses, everyone’s—and still not be able to pay for this.
“The only way to control costs would be to ration care, and restrict access to doctors and treatments. All of these decisions would be made in Washington.
“Even after the failures of Obamacare, this is the direction the Left wants to take our country.
“Taxpayers paying more to get less. Fewer choices, if any choices at all. Poorer quality of care. All while having the government control this huge part of our lives.
“A single-payer system is a singularly bad idea.
“It all brings to mind what Margaret Thatcher once described as the problem with socialism: ‘Eventually, you run out of other people’s money.’
“And it just shows how today’s Democratic Party has gone further left to the fringes, and further back to discredited ideas.
“We don’t do these jobs to be fashionable, or to be popular. No one understands that better than me.
“We do this to improve people’s lives. We do it by thinking about the long haul—not by making false promises, and pedaling shortcuts that are only dead ends.
“We don’t just try to clean up the mess, we set out to build something better.
“So we have planted the pillars of a confident America.
“An economy on the move again. The best military in the world. Workers back on the path of life, communities back on the rise.
“Improving people’s lives. That’s what it comes back to for me. That’s what it has always been about for me.
“Thank you for being here. I look forward to taking your questions.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement upon President Trump’s signing of bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration:
“The blueprint for a safer, more modern aviation system—something so important to everyone—is now law of the land. This legislation promotes America’s competitiveness from start to finish. It reforms the federal government’s disaster response to better help communities both prepare for and deal with natural disasters, and gives more resources to areas still rebuilding after recent storms. Through the BUILD Act, it also paves a new path for American investment in global infrastructure, countering China’s influence in global development. I am glad to see this legislation enshrined into law.”
WASHINGTON—Upon release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement:
“Unemployment has just hit its lowest point in nearly 50 years. It has been Republicans’ focus to help create an economic environment full of opportunities through pro-growth policies like tax reform—and now, we’re seeing more jobs available than people without one. This is yet another encouraging sign for those seeking a job today in America.”
NOTE: Speaker Ryan will be giving a speech Monday, October 8 at the National Press Club at 4 p.m. ET. He will highlight the positive results delivered by the Republican agenda during this Congress.
“Remarkably positive outlook”: That was Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell yesterday on the state of the American economy. He went on to say, “a wide range of data on jobs and prices supports a positive view,” and “many forecasters are predicting that these favorable conditions are likely to continue.”
Here are a few numbers from this week that show this positive economic momentum is continuing to reach workers and consumers:
Make no mistake: This type of economic growth—the kind that lifts industries out of a rut and reaches families—was at the front and center of House Republicans’ agenda over the past two years. These are the priorities that deliver results and help make Americans better off.
Underreported news→ Congress delivered several big, bipartisan wins this month that will make a real difference in people’s lives. It’s not the flashy stuff that makes the headlines, but during September, Congress funded 75% of domestic government by the end of the fiscal year—for the first time since 2007. This included fully funding our national security, the largest pay raise for our troops in nine years, historic resources to fight the opioid epidemic, resources for Hurricane Florence relief, and major upgrades to America’s aviation system. Additionally, the Music Modernization Act—a big win for songwriters, artists, and sound engineers—is off to the White House to become law.
Here are seven behind-the-scenes photos that capture some of the smaller moments from September:
1. Wiskonsan – Speaker Ryan shows constituents a map of Wisconsin from 1844 (when it was the territory of Wiskonsan) that hangs in his conference room while giving the group an office tour.
2. Growing Economy – With an audience full of Capitol Hill reporters, Speaker Ryan discusses the growing economy before fielding questions.
3. V(I)P Meeting – Vice President Pence stops by the office to meet with Speaker Ryan following meetings in the Senate.
4. Army Fellows – Each year, dozens of women and men from our military complete fellowships on Capitol Hill. Speaker Ryan meets with this year’s group of Army fellows serving in the House.
5. Reagan Institute – Speaker Ryan participates in a Q&A with National Review’s Editor Rich Lowry at an event marking the launch of The Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington, DC.
6. Budget Reforms – Speaker Ryan meets with House Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR) to discuss the work of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform. The select committee was formed to fix Congress’s broken budget and appropriations process.
7. Milwaukee Night – At an event highlighting the contributions of the Milwaukee Region to the strength of our economy, Speaker Ryan shares a Miller Lite with a fellow Wisconsinite.
WASHINGTON–House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after the Trump administration announced it had reached a new trilateral trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.
“The United States benefits when all three countries are held to the high standards laid out in Trade Promotion Authority. That’s why I’m pleased that the Trump administration succeeded in bringing Canada into the fold to reach a trilateral agreement. I look forward to reviewing the text of the agreement, particularly the dairy provisions, and engaging with members and stakeholders on the details.”
Can you believe that Congress just passed something unanimously? Music has a way of bringing people together.
If you have ever listened to music on services like Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music, then you can appreciate how much of a no-brainer the Music Modernization Act is. Now more than ever, we rely on the internet to discover new artists and listen to our favorite hits, but the way songwriters get paid has been stuck in the past because of a copyright system that has gone unchanged for decades. With the Music Modernization Act, songwriters, artists, and sound engineers will finally receive fair market value when their songs are played.
The Senate passed it. The House passed it. And now, with Speaker Ryan's signature, it heads to the White House to become law.
From today's headliners to the next generation of not-yet-discovered songwriters, it's a big deal for music creators. Soon they'll be back in charge of their own work and will get paid what they deserve. No matter your musical preferences, that is (quite literally) music to your ears.
To learn more about the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act from the man (and songwriter!) whose name is on the legislation, click here, or watch the video below.
Outdated music licensing laws may be preventing great music from ever being written
Hatch and @LamarAlexander, feat. @SenBobCorker, @ChrisCoons , @SenatorDurbin, @SenatorIsakson, @SenDougJones and @SenWhitehouse have a bill to ensure songwriters get PAID
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 24, 2018
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement upon the passage of the three bills comprising the Tax Reform 2.0 package:
“Tax reform is already an incredible success story. In little more than nine months, we have seen a resurgence of broad-based economic growth, lifting families, workers, and small business owners into optimism and opportunity. The results speak for themselves: The American economy and its workforce are thriving. The three bills passed this week will continue to propel this growth.
“On top of making lower rates for individuals and small businesses permanent, these bills create new savings options for families to plan for education and retirement. They also take the long overdue step of codifying a definition of life into the tax code, and allow penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans for birth and adoption expenses. And the package promotes innovation and entrepreneurship to help cultivate start-up companies—essential drivers of job creation.
“I thank the members of the Ways and Means Committee for making this legislation a priority. Their work will help ensure a more prosperous America for years to come.”
WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) came to the House floor to speak about the opioid crisis our communities are facing, and the landmark legislation Congress has passed to help expand treatment and support. His remarks, as prepared for delivery, are as follows:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about something close to all of our hearts.
“We’ve reached a point where opioid overdoses claim more than 100 lives a day.
“I really want us to think about that. One hundred lives each day.
“Mothers and fathers, burying sons and daughters. Or, in some cases, sons and daughters, burying mothers and fathers.
“I say this to impart the gravity of the situation, which makes our response all the more urgent.
“But while the situation is certainly grave, that does not mean we should ever lose hope.
“As we have worked on the legislation we’ll soon send to the president, we all had to gain an understanding of the facts of the issue.
“But I think, in the process, we all gained something far greater.
“Many of us have heard stories from the incredible souls who have known the unspeakable loneliness and struggle of drug addiction, and made it through to the other side.
“We met family members and friends who have known the pain and fear that accompanies loving someone wrestling with addiction.
“And we met those who will never again have the chance to see the ones they loved so much.
“Amid the overwhelming darkness, we’ve gotten to see their spark, their strength.
“From this pain has come something more powerful: Resolve, and a passion to make sure others have a safe place to turn.
“Witnessing such strength, such resilience, that’s what helped produce this legislation.
“Through these bills, we’re trying to ensure that anyone who needs help is not too isolated to receive it.
“We’re giving our communities the resources they need to provide stronger treatment networks and support systems.
“That is where the healing happens. That is where Americans are at our best.
“If this legislation can save one life, bring help to one person—that is what matters.
“So I want to thank all of those who were brave enough to share your stories with us.
“And for all those continuing to struggle in silence, I want you to know there is no shame in your trials. In our own ways, we all fall.
“In Catholic tradition, we look to St. Jude as the patron of “lost causes”—a keeper of those who some in society may have written off.
“To me, his guardianship is written into this legislation: There are no lost causes.
“It’s about offering a helping hand, and opening our hearts.
“I am very proud of this legislation. I am so thankful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who came together to put these families and communities first.
“I yield back.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today delivered opening remarks and offered a prayer at the annual ‘Washington A Man of Prayer’ event, held in National Statuary Hall.
Following are Speaker Ryan’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
It is my privilege to welcome all of you to the Capitol this evening.
Pastor Dan and Joann: thank you for bringing us together. Thank you for everything you do for our community.
I think this event is so important.
It reminds me of a small bronze plaque that President Kennedy kept on his desk in the Oval Office. The plaque had a prayer inscribed on it.
“God, thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small.”
Now that was a prayer for fisherman, but I think all of us, in our own way, are casting into the wind for something. All of us are trying to find some horizon.
Yet in a time of so much noise, so much vitriol, it can be harder and harder to discern our path.
We get so caught up in reaction; there is little time for reflection.
We get so guarded that we forget all of us are going through some struggle, none of us have it all figured out.
We forget that our brokenness can be a blessing.
Washington showed us the way. He was not just a man of prayer. He was a leader for prayer. A general for prayer.
He gave us, among many things, this beautiful tradition of servant leadership.
In his inaugural address, he spoke of his “fervent supplications to that Almighty Being.” In the prayer journal he kept, he wrote, “Frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son.”
“Frame me more and more.” This acknowledgement that each day calls us to recommit to God. We are all works in progress, always in need of His wisdom.
Washington instilled this in our national ethos.
So there are going to be those days when the boat feels awfully small, and the seas terrifyingly high.
But through prayer, through reflection, that his how we hear those clear notes of grace.
That is how we make ourselves more available to one another.
That is how we encounter God in our voyages.
I have to tell you, my prayer list is longer as of late.
Those of us here who are practicing Catholics, our church is going through a heart wrenching time.
So I humbly ask you to join me in praying for innocents who are in immense pain.
Heavenly Father, we pray for the victims of abuse. Protect and strengthen them so that they may find comfort and healing. Let them not lose their faith. Give their loved ones renewed strength. Lead us on the path of truth and justice as we seek your grace in abundance.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thank you all for being here. It means so much.
God bless you and your families.
Summary: At the weekly Republican leadership conference, Speaker Ryan spoke about two big things the House will complete this week to improve the lives of the American people. Today’s vote on a defense funding package underscores Congress’ commitment to national defense, and once signed, will mark the most productive appropriations process in two decades. Speaker Ryan also discussed the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, which strengthens our aviation system while promoting U.S. competitiveness and economic leadership.
Defense Funding Package
“First, I want to thank and all the members—especially [Rep.] Kay [Granger], who worked on this funding package.
“If you remember, when I became speaker three years ago, one of the great frustrations around here was our broken appropriations process.
“We were really doing a big disservice to the taxpayer. And we were funding our military in absolute fits and starts. It was really hamstringing our military.
“We’ve got some work to do, but this funding package, when this funding package gets enacted, it will be 22 years since we have finished this many appropriations bills before the start of the fiscal year.
“That goes back to before I was in Congress.
“I am proud that we have been able to get to this point. I am proud that we are completing these bills, and we will have completed 75 percent of discretionary spending on time. First time in 22 years.
“One main thing that this does is that this brings certainty to our Armed Forces.
“This is the first time in a decade that the Defense Department has not had to operate under a continuing resolution.
“In our conversations with our military leaders, one message comes really loud and clear. They tell us this every year: Our military cannot continue operating without a sense of stability, without being able to plan for the long term.
“With this bill, we are giving our military that certainty that they so desperately need.
“That, along with more resources for readiness, for our troops, this will ensure that our military remains the world’s leading fighting force.
“I urge my colleagues to support this bill and I’m excited about this coming to the floor.”
Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization
“Another big win this week, today on the floor, is the Federal Aviation [Administration] (FAA) reauthorization bill.
“This is just not your typical reauthorization bill. This helps us modernize the FAA and the air traffic control system, so that it is far more efficient, so that people can travel more efficiently.
“It also brings a new system, so that we can make sure that we are safer than ever before.
“This is an infrastructure bill.
“It also brings disaster relief funding to support those areas as they rebuild and for those areas that are now still suffering under the Hurricane Florence.
“The bill reforms and strengthens our aviation system. This bill brings infrastructure. And it is a key part of our Better Way agenda.
“I also want to say that this bill has an economic leadership BUILD Act in it. That’s very important for us.
“This is a very important piece of legislation that will help America give our allies—and especially those nations in the developing world—alternatives to the One Belt, One Road strategy that China is trying to bring through.
“So this is a very, very important accomplishment.”
America’s aviation system is headed for an upgrade. Today, the House will be voting on a bipartisan, bicameral package to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is another important bipartisan achievement for this Congress.
The bill includes a number of reforms to improve aviation infrastructure, strengthen travel safety, and ensure American companies remain at the forefront of aviation industry manufacturing. Among the highlights:
Florence Relief and Disaster Recovery Reform
This bill directs $1.68 billion specifically toward aid for the region recently hit by Hurricane Florence. On top of that, the defense and health funding bill the House is acting on today makes an additional $8.8 billion available to help families and communities affected by the storm.
Importantly, this bill also includes the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, which provides a significant overhaul to federal disaster programs so that they can better help areas in the times leading up to and following disasters.
These reforms to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emphasize preparation on the front end to lessen the drastic impact wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters can have on our communities. This investment on the front end provides for safer passage through these events and enables communities to recover more quickly. It also makes more effective use of the taxpayer dollars that support these efforts.
Infrastructure and Competitiveness
In addition to promoting U.S. competitiveness in aviation, the package includes the BUILD Act to reassert America as an economic leader on the world stage. This is especially important at a time when China is using infrastructure to exert more control in developing areas. The bill creates a consolidated agency to boost U.S. investment in global infrastructure projects, expanding our influence into regions bursting with economic potential.
On Wednesday, the House will consider a defense and health funding bill that delivers on a number of important priorities. The Senate passed this conference report last week by a vote of 93 to 7. If signed into law, this will mark the most spending bills enacted on time in 22 years. That’s one reason this bill is so critical. Here are eight more:
The rebuilding of our military. This bill boosts base funding for the military by $17 billion as part of our efforts to rebuild our national defense. It addresses our military readiness crisis by making significant investments in training, maintenance, and modernization, including $22.9 billion to get our troops ready to deploy, $45.3 billion to get our planes back in the air, and $38.2 billion to get our ships back to sea.
An increase in troop strength and new equipment. This bill funds an increase of 16,400 in our total troop end strength, and the procurement of new equipment, including 13 Navy ships, 93 F-35 aircraft, 18 C-130J aircraft, 58 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, 13 V-22 aircraft, and the upgrade of 135 Abrams tanks.
The biggest pay raise for our troops in nine years. This bill fully funds a 2.6 percent pay raise for our troops—the largest in nine years. It provides funding to support service members’ care through cancer research, traumatic brain injury research, and sexual assault prevention.
Defense funding on time for the first time in a decade. If enacted, the Defense Department won’t have to operate under a continuing resolution for the first time in 10 years. This gives the Pentagon much-needed stability and predictability after years of stopgap funding.
Resources to fight the opioid epidemic. This bill provides a historic level of funding—$3.8 billion—to fight the opioid epidemic, which claims the lives of more than 100 people in our country every day. These resources will go directly to helping treat addiction and expand access to mental health services in communities across the country.
Hurricane Florence relief. This bill makes an additional $8.8 billion available for Hurricane Florence relief. Note that the FAA reauthorization measure the House will take up this week includes $1.68 billion in supplemental funding for recovery efforts.
Better and safer schools. This bill boosts funding for special education and charter schools. It increases funding for grants that support school safety activities, including student mental health services and bullying prevention.
Workforce development. With a record 6.94 million job openings right now, this bill increases funding for career and technical education programs by nearly $95 million. It is another step toward making it easier for students to get the skills and training they need for good jobs.
The death toll for Hurricane Florence has climbed to 37. Many are still in harm’s way. At least 16 major rivers are at flood stage. More than 343,000 North Carolinians are still without power.
Already, Congress has begun to take action to provide relief for the families and communities affected.
Earlier this week, the Senate passed the funding bill containing this relief with 93 votes, and the House is set to act on the measure in the coming days. The Appropriations Committee will continue to work closely with the administration to determine any need for additional relief funding.
Here are three more things you need to know about this legislation:
Statement on the Senate’s 93-7 Vote for the Defense Funding Bill
An End to a Decade of Continuing Resolutions for the Military
Coming Soon: Rebuilding Our Military and Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
At an event to mark the launch of The Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington, D.C., Speaker Ryan gave an address titled “Advancing American Leadership.” While laying out a bold vision for the future of American leadership in the world, he spoke about the importance of military primacy, free trade, pro-growth economic reforms, and moral leadership.
If you didn’t have a chance to watch the speaker’s address, we’ve got you covered. Below are his remarks, in five tweets:
President Reagan Inspired America
One of my first political memories is from a night in February of 1981. I remember watching President Reagan on TV in his first address to Congress, where he told the country: “There is nothing wrong with America that together we can’t fix.” pic.twitter.com/QvFMQ1QhAb— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 13, 2018
America’s Big Test
China has a communist system based on centralized power, despite the veneer of 21st-century capitalism. We must be clear: the China model poses a direct challenge to democratic capitalism as we know it. pic.twitter.com/DcImrbfERN— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 13, 2018
Rebuilding America's Military
For most of this decade, our military was forced to operate under a budget that hollowed out our forces. Aging equipment and maintenance lapses cost us lives. We put a stop to it. We are now fully funding our national defense and rebuilding our military. pic.twitter.com/7mJJZO4OEH— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 13, 2018
The Heart of a Free Economy
For the first time since President Reagan in 1986, we came together to overhaul our tax code. We went from having one of the worst tax codes in the industrialized world to one that can compete with anyone. pic.twitter.com/TVt3ivRkSY— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 13, 2018
President Reagan’s Legacy
President Reagan charted the right course—it’s peace through strength, pro-growth economy, clear moral leadership. It is not a new formula. What we need is a new willingness to think big and go bold. pic.twitter.com/THJIjDaJkf— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 13, 2018
Following his address, Speaker Ryan participated in a Q&A with National Review Editor Rich Lowry. Catch the full address and Q&A below:
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after the Senate, by a vote of 93 to 7, adopted the conference report for the Defense and Labor-HHS appropriations bills:
“The bill the Senate overwhelmingly passed today fully funds our national defense and the rebuilding of our military. It provides for the biggest pay raise for our troops in nine years, an increase in total troop end strength, and the procurement of new ships, aircraft, helicopters, and tanks. Our military is now set to receive its full funding on time for the first time in 10 years, meaning much-needed certainty after years of cuts and readiness shortfalls.
“For our communities, this bill provides a historic level of funding to fight the opioid epidemic, which takes the lives of more than 100 people in the U.S. every day. These resources will go directly to help treat substance abuse and expand access to mental health services.
“These are top priorities for the country, and we are ready to get this bill into law soon.”
Last week, Speaker Ryan joined WisPolitics President Jeff Mayers in the Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol for a conversation on tax reform, his tenure as speaker, and the state of civil society. You can watch the full discussion here, or catch some highlights from the the event below:
On tax reform:
“It’s what I worked on for 18 years on the Ways and Means Committee, and it’s something I've been working on since before I was a member of Congress. I’ve long believed we needed to overhaul the U.S. tax system if we’re going to get faster economic growth—if we’re going to be globally competitive. We did that, and exactly what we were hoping would happen is happening: much faster economic growth, faster wage growth, jobless rate at a 49-year [low], the lowest Latino unemployment rate in history, we had great wage data just come out the other day, and more importantly: internationally, there’s no reason not to be an American company anymore because of our tax laws.
On his time as speaker:
“I am really honored to have had this job. I am honored to have been able to get our team to put together an agenda, to take it to the country, then to have unified government, and the opportunity to put this agenda in place…We got tax reform done, we got regulatory relief done, we rebuilt the military, we overhauled the VA, we got career and technical education done, we got the poverty stuff I’ve been working for years on, like opportunity zones and social impact bonds, done. We’re this close on opioids, we’re this close on our infrastructure bills, so I really feel like we’ve had an enormously productive legislature, and it’s making an enormously positive difference in people’s lives, which is why we have these jobs."
On the state of civil society:
“The deinstitutionalization of critical, core institutions of civil society are under duress right now, not just government. As people, we have to do more on our own, with our families, and our communities, and our churches, and our governments, and every other institution to build up those institutions and teach our kids how important these institutions are. As a conservative, I believe we need to do more to free up space for civil society to reassert itself in its rightful place in that big expansive space between ourselves and our government, which is where we lead our lives. Go to Janesville. I can tell you the Rotarians, the Optimists, the Kiwanis, the Key Club, the Golden Key guys, all the groups—that’s civil society— and these things are shrinking, they’re deinstitutionalizing, and we need to do more as a society and a culture to breathe life back into those things…as a limited government conservative, I want to make sure that I preserve that space so the government doesn’t try and encroach upon it and push it out and deinstitutionalize it. But also as a conservative, we need to stand up for things we believe in and make sure that we are civil with one another as we engage in a public debate. That identity politics and tribalism is an affront to that.”
Note: In July, Speaker Ryan discussed this issue at length with Jonah Goldberg at the American Enterprise Institute. You can watch that discussion here.
For the Pentagon, stability and predictability are critical. Yet for years now, our military has been subject to stopgap funding and a string of continuing resolutions. This budget uncertainty exacerbated a staggering readiness crisis.
It is good news, then, that Congress is nearing action on a full-year defense funding bill. It provides the resources to continue the rebuilding of our military—a $17 billion increase that is consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act. And if enacted, this would be the first time in 10 years that the Defense Department won’t operate under a continuing resolution.
Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) has endorsed the measure, saying in a statement: “That decade of continuing resolutions and thoughtless cuts has sapped our strength and emboldened our enemies. This agreement breaks that cycle, shows Congress doing its job, and keeps faith with the men and women in uniform.”
Biggest Troop Pay Raise in Nine Years
Here are more things this bill does to rebuild our armed forces and support our service members:
WASHINGTON—In June, the House passed H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act—sweeping legislation to address America’s opioid crisis. Today, the Senate passed a similar bipartisan measure, the Opioid Crisis Response Act. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement:
“Helping people suffering at the hands of an opioid addiction has been one of the great causes of this Congress, and I’m glad to see the Senate do its part to get us closer to the finish line. The House and Senate measures share the same goals. We direct federal agencies to create and expand community programs to increase access to treatment. We authorize grants to support recovery centers. And we prioritize stopping the flow of synthetic opioids into the country by closing shipping loopholes in the United States Postal Service. Ultimately, we have to attack the root cause of this crisis, which are the opioids themselves—but these are important steps to take toward that goal. I’m proud of the progress Congress has made on this urgent legislation, and I look forward to working with the Senate to get a final bill to the president’s desk soon.”
For the first time since 2007, Congress has sent multiple appropriations bills to the president’s desk on time, prior to the end of the fiscal year. It includes critical resources for veterans and national security.
Soon, the House will consider another minibus measure that funds the Defense Department as well as the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. (Read the bill.) This minibus makes good on big commitments this Congress has made, including rebuilding our military and fighting the opioid epidemic.
Rebuilding Our Military
This measure boosts base funding for our military by $17 billion, consistent with the recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act. It replenishes our military might with $148 billion for equipment procurement, including $24.2 billion for 13 Navy ships. These resources will also help boost our troop levels, meeting the requested 16,400 end-strength increase in our forces.
And this minibus provides the previously authorized 2.6 percent pay raise for our service members—the biggest in nine years.
What’s more, if enacted, this will be the first time in 10 years that the Defense Department won’t have to start the fiscal year operating under a continuing resolution. For the Pentagon, stability and predictability are critical, and years of being subject to continuing resolutions contributed to a staggering readiness crisis. Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said in a statement, “This agreement breaks that cycle, shows Congress doing its job, and keeps faith with the men and women in uniform.”
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
This minibus provides $3.8 billion in funding dedicated to fighting the opioid epidemic, an increase of $206 million. It includes resources for the State Opioid Response Grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. This comes as Congress is nearing completion of landmark legislation to address the epidemic.
We are also increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health by $2 billion, boosting resources for several research initiatives, including Alzheimer’s research, research to develop a universal flu vaccine, and the Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program.
Safer and Better Schools
This minibus boosts funding for special education, charter schools, and Pell Grants. It increases funding for grants that support school safety activities, including student mental health services and bullying prevention. And we are increasing funding for career and technical education programs by nearly $95 million, another step in our efforts to make it easier for students to get the skills and training they need to enter good-paying jobs.
For more background on this legislation, visit the Appropriations Committee site.
WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave an address to mark the launch of The Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington, D.C. His speech, entitled “Advancing American Leadership,” laid out a bold vision for the future of American leadership in the world. In his remarks, he spoke about the importance of military primacy, free trade, pro-growth economic policies, and moral leadership.
His remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:
Thank you, Fred.
Before I begin, I know that we are all thinking about the families and communities in the path of Hurricane Florence. Our prayers go out to them.
I just want people in the affected areas to know that Congress stands ready to assist in any way we can.
It is an honor to be here today, and to help welcome the Reagan Institute to Washington.
Roger came by the office last week, and gave me an overview of all the plans for the Institute. It is truly impressive.
If I may offer one suggestion. It would be that you replicate the Irish pub from the Museum. We could always use more of those in Washington.
The chance to be part of this means a great deal to me.
You see, I grew up in a fairly apolitical household in Janesville, Wisconsin.
My parents voted, but they didn’t talk much about politics or politicians. It just wasn’t their thing.
There was, however, one exception. My dad was taken with the story of an Irish guy who grew up on the shores of the Rock River, just downstream from where we lived.
He admired how President Reagan came from modest means to become president. Whenever Reagan appeared on the news, my dad would nod approvingly—a high compliment from him.
One of my first political memories, in fact, is from a night in February 1981. After dinner, my dad turned on the television and had us watch Reagan’s first address to Congress.
I remember vividly how President Reagan smiled, even as he laid out all that we were up against. One passage in particular toward the end has always stuck with me. He said:
“Together, we can embark on this road, not to make things easy, but to make things better. . . . There is nothing wrong with America that together we can’t fix.”
It is just so motivating to me.
President Reagan never let us forget how special America is. He called on us to cherish the timeless principles that make us special: freedom, free enterprise, self-determination.
And he embraced the hard work it takes to preserve these things.
He knew we had it in us. And he knew it could be done.
That speaks to what I think is one of the most important things we can do as leaders.
Most days, we tend to lurch from crisis to crisis, whether real or manufactured. But we need to have the ability to look around the corner, and plan for what’s ahead.
In that spirit, today I want to talk about how President Reagan’s legacy can guide us in advancing American leadership in the world.
Democracy has really been taking it on the chin lately. There is no question about that.
All that triumphalism after the Cold War, all that talk about ‘the end of history’—it feels like ancient history at this point.
But we have been here before.
If there was ever a moment when we needed the clarity of President Reagan’s vision and example, it is now. We need to renew, relearn, relitigate the principles he advanced, and apply them to the problems of the day.
Foreign policy, as you know, is rarely if ever black and white. But we are at our best when we are clear about what we are for, and clear-eyed about what we face.
We have illiberal regimes, Russia among them, testing us with thuggery and aggression.
And we have Islamist extremists, including al-Qaeda and a depleted but still operational ISIS, plotting attacks on Western capitals.
But amid all of this, we need to pay more attention to the direct challenge that the China model poses to democratic capitalism.
I see this as the big test, the generational-defining challenge for us as a country.
China has a communist system based on centralized power, but it manages to give off this hint, this veneer, of 21st-century capitalism, even as it resorts to repression of its people and intellectual theft from its competitors.
It pushes these designs beyond its borders with infrastructure investments in Africa and Asia. It is in the midst of a military buildup that has already begun to shift the balance of power in the Pacific.
And now China has made its ambitions clear. It offers itself to the world as a new model of efficiency. It actively seeks to replace our system of democratic capitalism as the best operating system for society. A “new era,” President Xi calls it.
We know our system can be inefficient and slow to respond, with all the intervening politics and turbulence. You get that with self-government.
This is what China hopes to exploit. And yes, it is easier to plan from era to era when you consolidate power indefinitely.
The choice here is rather straightforward.
We can allow China to overtake us—not just in the global economy, but in the world order—and see more countries slide in the direction of the autocrats.
Or we can do as President Reagan did. We can choose to lead. We can together embark on the road that’s not easy. This means showing that our way of doing things still has juice—that it is still the best way to lift people up and keep the peace. In fact, China has already enjoyed many benefits from this system.
So the task for us, and what I have made the mission of my time as speaker, is building up our country’s resilience, our antibodies. We want our institutions—economic, military, and political—to be sturdy enough to adapt to change, and withstand the inevitable ups and downs.
It is my hope that a strong and confident America may convince China that their best path is to peacefully rise with us—even though history suggests otherwise.
That is to say, that global affairs, like life, does not need to be a zero-sum game.
An America, standing up to illiberal regimes with the one hand, while extending an open invitation with the other to join our path to freedom is more likely to succeed when we are strong and secure.
The good news is, we are already taking steps in this direction.
Earlier this year, the administration’s National Defense Strategy declared its ‘most far-reaching objective’ to be addressing China’s ascendance.
For most of this decade, our military was forced to operate under a budget sequester that hollowed out our forces. It did not take long until we were confronted with a staggering readiness crisis.
Now you know the old adage: if you want peace, prepare for war. Our military primacy is essential to deterring our adversaries and protecting our interests.
But these cuts had us falling so far behind, we could barely protect our own troops. Stories proliferated of aging equipment and maintenance lapses.
This crisis cost us lives: In 2017, we lost four times as many service members in training accidents and incidents as we did in combat.
Earlier in the year, we finally put a stop to these cuts. With a new budget agreement, we are now fully funding our national defense at the levels requested by Secretary Mattis, and for a military redesigned by our National Defense Authorization Act.
It is the biggest increase in defense spending in 15 years.
As part of this strategic buildup, we are increasing the size and lethality of our forces, streamlining the acquisition process to make it leaner and more efficient, and modernizing our nuclear deterrent. We are investing in new capabilities to address cyber threats.
And we are expanding our security cooperation in the region. These are commitments we can make more confidently now that we are rebuilding our military.
This is only a start. A buildup has to last for it to be effective.
But we have gone from a politics-driven to a mission-driven military budget. This will bolster our national defense for years, if not decades to come.
Now, we too often think about peace through strength only in terms of military might.
This discounts the value of our economic partnerships with allies. I mean those built on a foundation of free trade.
I am an unapologetic free-trader. I believe tearing down trade barriers produces economic benefit to both us and our trading partners.
But lost in the economic debate is how free trade agreements also promote stability and order.
They allow us to expand our spheres of influence. They boost our allies. And they counter our adversaries.
Nowhere is this more relevant today than in the Asia-Pacific region.
This is yet another place where China, and nations like it, are trying to assert their version of economics. Anti-capitalist and fueled by cronyism.
I’ve said before and will say again. The TPP agreement that the previous administration negotiated was a flawed one, but the broader goal was correct: to assert U.S. economic leadership in a rapidly developing region and make sure the United States, not China, is the driving force.
Right now, many countries are making a choice about how to bring their developing economies into the new century. And if they follow our lead, the growth of freedom and free enterprise will continue.
I believe our friends want to side with us in a free-market, liberalized system. They just need to know that the U.S. will be there for the long haul.
We must understand: The rules of the road for the 21st century economy are being written right now.
Privacy, intellectual property, the way capital moves across borders today–these are all critical issues for the coming decades.
So the question is: Will we set the tone or will it be others who don’t share our values or ideals?
Strong trade agreements and economic partnerships set a high standard and bring our allies into the fold—and they make us more secure.
In short, free trade must be always be an active instrument of American leadership.
America’s ability to lead also depends on having a dynamic economy that can be a global force.
For the first time since President Reagan in 1986, we came together to overhaul our tax code. We went from having one of the worst tax codes in the industrialized world to one that can compete with anyone.
Now we see capital trapped overseas finally coming back to our shores. Confidence is surging to record levels. Small businesses are expanding. Manufacturing activity is booming.
We are making our workforce more competitive, too, most recently by overhauling our career and technical education system.
This is going to make it easier for people to get the skills and training they need to fill in-demand jobs.
It is one of those less-heralded reforms that doesn’t get much press attention, but will pay dividends years down the road.
We have also worked to ensure our energy independence, including lifting our decades-long ban on oil experts.
America is now the world’s largest oil producer, and we are set to be a net energy exporter within the next five years.
All of this is about revitalizing the growth and upward mobility at the heart of a free economy, and we are back on that path now.
There is one other big thing we need to get right. And this is an area where the Institute can make a great impact.
It goes back to how President Reagan handled his visit to China in the spring of 1984.
At the close of a six-day visit, he spoke to students at Fudan University in Shanghai about the values of freedom and democracy.
Yet in some quarters, Reagan was actually criticized for going to a communist country and extolling free markets and his faith in God, what he called “my own values.”
In response to those critics, Secretary Shultz, as only he could, said that the president “is the same man whether he’s in Washington, Peking, London or wherever he is, and personally, I like it that way.”
Ladies and gentlemen: We have to be ambassadors for what we believe, wherever we are, without equivocation.
A set of policies is not what convinces people to side with us—it is the idea of America that draws them to us. It is the idea of a country where the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life. That is where our true power lies.
I think back to earlier this year, when I was in Prague to commemorate the 100th anniversary of U.S.-Czech relations.
I noticed that the street right in front of the ambassador’s residence is named after Ronald Reagan.
One of many such tributes to him in the region, of course.
But there is real affection behind it. The people there—especially those who remember what it was like before—talk about his leadership, his rhetoric, how he stood up for them.
They speak of him with reverence, yes, but also with such warmth, almost as if they knew him personally.
It is an intimate bond that comes from the common humanity that freedom brings out in us. We are connected by our aspirations, by our potential.
That is why Congress maintains bipartisan commitments to supporting liberty and democracy around the world, particularly through organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute.
We work together across party lines to promote human rights, fight global trafficking, and support economic development.
We advance global health initiatives such as PEPFAR, which now supports more than 14 million people with HIV treatment. This work is done mostly out of the spotlight, but is absolutely vital to U.S. interests.
As you know, my time in public service is running short.
I look forward to thinking more about these issues. And this Institute is sure to play a vital role in the discussion.
People need to be reminded that we have it in us, that we know what has to be done.
President Reagan charted the right course—it’s peace through strength, pro-growth economy, clear moral leadership. It is not a new or magic formula.
What is needed is a new willingness to think big, go bold, and see things through. To show the largeness of spirit that this moment requires.
It will take that belief in ourselves that President Reagan instilled in the hearts of so many fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, watching at home on television, glimpsing the future.
It is this article of faith which we celebrate as we bring his vision to our capital city once more.
Thank you all for having me here today.
Summary: During the weekly Republican leadership press conference, Speaker Ryan urged support for the first minibus appropriations package, which the House will consider this afternoon. He emphasized the critical House priorities included in the bill, emphasizing the resources it provides to Veterans Affairs and the vital funding it puts toward bolstering national security.
“First off, I want to say that we’re thinking of the people in Hurricane Florence’s wake, the people in the Carolinas.
“I know coastal folks don’t need mainlanders telling them how to handle a storm like this, but I would be remiss if I did not tell folks: Please listen to your local officials. Please encourage people to follow all local emergency orders.
“Our thoughts and our prayers are with the people in the path of this hurricane.
“We’re going to keep monitoring this storm, and Congress stands ready to assist the people who will be in these affected areas in any way that we can.
“Now, we’re here because we’re doing some really important things on the floor today.
“This minibus conference report is a national security bill. It is a veterans bill.
“It provides critical funding to rebuild our military infrastructure, it strengthens our electrical grid, and it supports our nuclear weapons programs.
“It puts historic resources behind the reforms that we’ve made to improve health care at the VA.
“That is a critical part of our Better Way agenda that is getting executed and implemented today.
“And—I cannot stress this enough—this represents a return to our most basic responsibility around here: passing appropriations bills.
“Since we are doing this, this is the first time since 2007 that the House and the Senate will send multiple appropriations measures to the president’s desk on time.
“So we are actually seeing a restoration of regular order, which is something that is extremely important to make the House and the Senate work well.
“This is how it should always be done. But it hasn’t been this way for a long time. So it really is a big step in the right direction, and we are going to build on this.
“Lastly, this has been another good week—a great week—for economic news.
“Yesterday, we got news that median household income has increased to a record high.
“This comes on the heels of Friday’s report showing wages had their biggest increases since 2009.
“The bottom line is this: Americans are earning more. Their finances are improving. People are better off.
“This is what matters. We can do a lot of work here in Washington, but what really counts is how these policies improve people’s lives.
“And here we see yet another sign that we are on the right track. That the policies we have put in place in this Congress are indeed improving people’s lives.
“You can learn more about this by going to better.gop.”
In a few short hours, Speaker Ryan will discuss the need for a secure and confident America, the importance of military primacy, free trade, pro-growth economic reforms, and moral leadership with a speech titled “Advancing American Leadership.” Live at 2:00 p.m. E.T., this address will mark the launch of The Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington, D.C.
Here’s how you can follow along:
- Watch the full speech on speaker.gov/live
- Get real-time updates and video highlights of the address by following @SpeakerRyan on Twitter
- Visit speaker.gov for a recap
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today announced that Tommy Andrews, his director of members services, will be leaving the speaker’s office at the end of this week. Andrews, a veteran of two speakerships, has accepted a role in legislative affairs at the White House.
“One of the best things John Boehner did for me was leave behind a Cincinnati guy from his staff named Tommy Andrews. Tommy helped with a seamless transition and has become a critical part of my team. While he served two speakers with distinction, members of the conference know that he truly worked for all of them. Generous, warm, and unfailingly kind, Tommy has a servant’s heart. Beloved by members and staff alike, he has time for everyone and never encountered a problem he couldn’t solve. Tommy has been a ubiquitous part of this Republican majority, and he’s simply made the House a better place. Tommy’s one of the good guys. The House will miss him, but I am grateful for his time here and know that he will continue to serve this country well.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the passage of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act:
“Every community depends on water infrastructure. America’s water infrastructure not only facilitates commerce within our borders, but it connects U.S. producers and consumers with the international marketplace. With this bill, the ports, dams, and waterways that keep America running will receive the improvements they need.
“Through the Water Resources Development Act, we are authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies to undertake projects to upgrade water infrastructure. This legislation backs local decision-making with federal resources to ensure communities are best served. And it removes hurdles to project completion to cut down on delays and promote efficiency. This is yet another piece of the House’s agenda to make sure our nation’s infrastructure streamlines transportation, supports our dynamic workforce, and promotes our competitiveness worldwide. I commend Chairman Shuster and the members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Chairman Walden and the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee for their work on this bipartisan measure.”
Week after week, indicators continue to show the economy is thriving. And it’s making a real impact on Americans. Just today, the U.S. Census Bureau announced median household income climbed to a record $61,372 in 2017, "as the strong economy lifted the fortunes of more Americans." The report also showed the U.S. poverty rate declining.
Here are a few more positive stories from this week:
Small Business Optimism
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released its Small Business Optimism Index, which reached historic heights. “U.S. small business optimism surged to a record in August as the tax cuts and deregulation efforts of President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress led to more sales, hiring and investment,” noted CNBC.
In the report, small businesses expressed positive plans for hiring, capital spending, and business expansion as well.
Improving Job Market
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, out yesterday, showed a spike in job openings, sending the number soaring to 6.94 million open jobs across the country. In July, the gap also increased between job seekers and open positions to 650,000.
According to the Wall Street Journal, since 2000, the number of open jobs had never exceeded the number of unemployed people—that is, until March of this year. It’s been that way every month since.
Another positive nugget tucked away in this survey: The number of Americans voluntarily quitting their jobs reached its highest level on record. This often means people feel better positioned to search for new opportunities: “The tight labor market is quickly causing workers to gain the confidence they need to quit their jobs,” said JPMorgan Chase economist Jesse Edgerton.
Looking Ahead: Tax Reform 2.0
The House is still working to keep this momentum going. Tomorrow, the House Ways and Means Committee will take up Tax Reform 2.0—a package of bills to build on the strong economic foundation established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. These bills have three key parts: they make the TCJA’s individual and small business tax cuts permanent; they make changes to help Americans save for retirement; and they make it easier for start-up businesses to flourish.
The committee found that the first provision will create more than 1.5 million new jobs—continuing the job creation gains we’ve seen in the months since the first tax reform package became law. As Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said this week, “Under our new system, we’re seeing incredible job growth, bigger paychecks, and a tax code that works on behalf of families and American businesses. Now it’s the time to ensure we never let our tax code become so outdated again.”
There’s no shortage of reasons to back the minibus measure the Appropriations Committee released on Monday. Two key House committee chairs yesterday announced their strong support for this funding package. Take a look:
Both of these statements speak to the importance of following through on the commitments Congress has made. Whether it’s the reforms in the VA MISSION Act or the rebuilding of our military, this minibus puts in place critical funding to help see these things through.
In honor of today’s Apple Event, there’s One More Thing:
This is the first time since 2007—2007!—that we will send multiple appropriations bills to the president’s desk prior to the end of the fiscal year. So it’s a significant milestone, a return to the ‘regular order’ we have been seeking for years. And the Appropriations Committees have set conference committee meetings in the coming days to take up the next two minibus measures. But it all begins with this one, so let’s get it done.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement on the introduction of the first Minibus Conference Report:
“This bipartisan legislation will help America's veterans and bolster our national security. It provides for the largest dollar amount in the history of the VA, including the resources to implement critical reforms that will improve care. And it provides vital resources to support the infrastructure projects that form the foundation of our national security. We prioritize rebuilding military infrastructure, strengthening nuclear weapons and cyber security programs, and research and development funding to further our energy independence.
“This final bill also represents the revitalization of our appropriations process. Funding the government is one of Congress’s most basic responsibilities, and this conference report is a strong first act. We look forward to sending it to the president's desk soon.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today named the following lawmakers from the House Appropriations Committee to serve on the House-Senate conference committee for H.R. 6147, the Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act:
Earlier this week, Speaker Ryan named conferees to the conference committee for the Department of Defense Appropriations Act.
Summary: At his weekly press conference, Speaker Ryan spoke about how the growing economy has produced a job market full of opportunities, and discussed the work the House is doing to help job seekers gain the skills needed to fill the millions of available jobs.
On The Right Economic Track
“You know, I don’t know how many of you were around back at the end of the 1960s…maybe [John] Bresnahan, but…
“Is he even here?
“That’s the last time the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was this low. Forty-nine years ago.
“This is the best job market we have had in decades.
“And here’s something else that’s very encouraging.
“Workers in what are traditionally considered lower-wage jobs—the baristas, the bank tellers, the maintenance workers—they are seeing some of the biggest pay increases right now. And we expect this trend to continue.
“So we’re on track here.
“Tax reform is working. Families are better off. Businesses are hiring, businesses are expanding.
“Manufacturing is booming. You should have just seen the ISM index come out the other day.
“We’re finally seeing the kind of broad-based economic growth in our economy that we were gunning for.”
The Work Ahead
“Do we have more to do? We absolutely have more to do.
“We still have millions of jobs that are unfilled.
“That story is playing out across the country, where businesses are trying to find workers with the right skills.
“This is why we just recently overhauled our career and technical education system, so that it’s easier to match people with the training that they need.
“And with the farm bill, we want to get more people from welfare to work, so that they too can get on their path of life.
“So I know there’s a lot of intrigue y’all want to ask me about.
“But from the start, this is what we here in the House have been focused on: jobs, the economy, things that affect people in their daily lives.
“And it’s great to see these positive results from these policies—all of which you can learn more by going to better.gop.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement on the passage of H.R. 1635, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act:
“College should be an opportunity for all those who want it. But with a complex federal financial aid system that provides little guidance to students, it’s often out of reach or leads to high student debt. Instead of this status quo, we should support students as they make decisions about how to finance their education and begin to repay their loans.
“That’s what this does. With this bill, students and parents enrolled in federal loan programs will receive yearly counseling tailored to their needs. The bill also extends these counseling services to recipients of Pell Grants. I thank Chairwoman Foxx, Rep. Guthrie, and the members of the Education and the Workforce Committee for their work on this important bill. This is about helping families find peace of mind and clarity as they plan for the future.”
Summary: At today’s weekly Republican leadership press conference, Speaker Ryan looked ahead to the work the House will take up over the next several weeks, including a federal financial aid counseling bill and conference on the farm bill. He also shared some economic highlights demonstrating how the U.S. economy is better off now.
“Look, let me just say this: We’ve got a really good opportunity over the next several weeks to get some really big things done.
“There are some things that we are going to get done for the American people.
“And we have a good bill on the floor today, for starters.
“It will provide better financial literacy counseling to students receiving [federal] financial aid.
“It is an important change to support students through this very complicated system.
“And it’s another thing we are doing to reduce roadblocks to opportunities.
“We’re making progress on a number of critical areas: opioids, appropriations, the farm bill.
“We see this farm bill as a chance to make common-sense reforms to shift our federal benefits system to one that incentivizes work.
“There could not be a better time to be doing this, with all the momentum driving our economy.
“Worker satisfaction is at its highest level in 12 years.
“Consumer confidence is at its highest level in 18 years.
“Just yesterday, an index showed manufacturing activity is at its highest level in 14 years.
“This is an economy brimming with confidence. This is an economy brimming with opportunities.
“The American people really are better off now.
“And we have a chance to make things even better.
“And if you want to learn more about this—and I’m sure you’re covering this constantly—go to better.gop.
“And you will see that we have made good on our promises.
“We have made good on our policies. We have put these policies into law, and they are making a positive difference in people’s lives in this country.
“That’s why we’re here, and we’re very gratified and we have more work to do.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today named the following members of the House Appropriations Committee to the conference committee for H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act:
1) Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
2) Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY)
3) Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
4) Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)
5) Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
6) Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
7) Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR)
8) Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL)
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after House passage of H.R. 4318, the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act:
“It is great to finally get this done. American manufacturers can compete with anyone, but it’s much tougher when they face costly, needless taxes on key materials that can’t be found in the United States. So in 2016, we created a transparent process to review these kinds of tariffs, which allows us to deliver this relief. This means a more level playing field, and it keeps costs down, which is good news for workers and consumers. I commend Chairman Brady and the members of the Ways and Means Committee for their leadership in making this happen.”
As the weather was heating up this summer, so was our economy. After economic growth surged in the first quarter of the year, several encouraging signs over the summer months showed that momentum was not slowing down.
Much of this momentum was spurred by House Republican policies that laid the foundation for an economy that breeds opportunity. And it’s working in a number of ways: Workers are beginning to feel better, confidence is reaching new heights, businesses are reinvesting in the economy. The American people are better off now.
Here are some recent highlights that may have slipped through the cracks:
John McCain was a patriot who served his country—a Senator, Navy man, family man, and above all, a man of conviction. And today members of the public and the U.S. government were able to pay their respects as he lay in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. May God bless John McCain, and may God bless the country he so dearly loved.
1. Speaker Ryan writes a personal note of condolence to Mrs. Cindy McCain and the rest McCain family.
2. The Armed Forces Body Bearers carry the casket of Senator (and Navy Captain) John McCain into the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
3. Members of Congress, the Cabinet, and military leaders came to pay their respects to the late Senator McCain.
4. Vice President and Second Lady Pence, Speaker and Mrs. Ryan, and Leader McConnell and Secretary Chao say their final goodbyes to their friend and former colleague.
5. Following the official service, thousands of Americans came to the Capitol to pay tribute to the life and sacrifice of John McCain.
To see the full ceremony from the Capitol, watch the video below.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) made the following remarks at today’s service in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda honoring the late Sen. John McCain:
John McCain was one of the bravest souls our country ever produced. He deserves to be remembered as he wished: A patriot who served his country well. A man of state. God bless John McCain. pic.twitter.com/LuA7gj3v0C
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 31, 2018
On behalf of a grateful nation and Congress, I want to begin by giving thanks to the McCain family, for your many years of service to the country.
We share your anguish in losing this great man.
Rarely does this glorious Rotunda fall silent at this hour.
On a day like this, John would usually be bounding right through here, visitors turning to each other asking if that’s who they think it is.
But in this quiet hour, we are left to ponder how his life speaks to us.
John McCain deserves to be remembered as he wished to be remembered.
A patriot who served his country.
A man of yes, the Senate, but also of the House.
A Navy man. A family man.
A man who made an enormous difference in the lives of countless people.
A man of conviction.
A man of state.
There is a line from his farewell statement that really just grabbed me:
“Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.”
How fitting. How true.
What stands out about John McCain is what he stood for:
The rich blessings that only freedom can bestow.
The sense of purpose that a battle joined can bring.
The common humanity that burns in our hearts.
Hemingway once wrote:
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
No one was stronger at the broken places than John McCain.
The brokenness was his ballast. He never lost the joy that time can dull or the edge that political life so often sands away.
I myself was—from time to time—on the receiving end of John’s distinct brand of candor.
And happily so.
I remember thinking more than once, “Yeah, he really does talk like a sailor.”
But you see, with John, it was never feigned disagreement. The man didn’t feign anything.
He just relished the fight.
He showed us that in the arena, in the honest back and forth…that’s where the cause gets bigger.
That’s where the triumph is all the sweeter.
We get stronger at the broken places.
Though the highest office eluded him, he attained what is far more enduring: the abiding affection of his fellow citizens, and an example down the generations.
So I think ahead now.
I think ahead to the day when I—like so many—will bring my own children, and perhaps their children, to that hallowed lawn in Annapolis.
I think about that. I think about what I might say to them:
This is one of the bravest souls our country ever produced.
However you choose to do your part, I hope you do it in the way he did: with energy and urgency; playing for keeps, never back on your heels; never letting principle yield to expedience; resisting the false allure of the fleeting, and battening down the hatches when things get rough; and always, always having a good story to tell.
Today our nation bows in grief. But here—under the work of Brumidi and the gaze of the greats, where soldiers known and unknown have laid before—we have this beautiful thing: the chance to do for this man what he did for us.
To stand up. To stand up, and to embrace the cause of his life.
No one of us can fulfill this charge, but all of us sure can try
Because all of this—all of this—is worth the fighting for.
God bless John McCain.
God bless the country he so dearly loved.
The late Sen. John Sidney McCain III will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda today. At 11:00 a.m. ET, his family, members of Congress, and the vice president will all gather for a service to pay their respects. Starting at 1:00 p.m. ET, the Rotunda will be opened to the public for a viewing line.
Here are three ways you can watch the Capitol service live, beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET:
WASHINGTON—On Thursday, September 13, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will deliver a speech to mark the launch of The Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington, D.C. Following his address, Speaker Ryan will participate in a Q&A with National Review’s Editor in Chief Rich Lowry. The event will be held at the Willard Hotel and will begin at 2:00 p.m.
Speaker Ryan to Deliver Reagan Institute’s Inaugural Address
Thursday, September 13 at 2 p.m. ET
The Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C.
MEDIA: This event is open press. All media who wish to attend must RSVP to Margeaux Van Horn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Media who RSVP will receive additional logistical information closer to the event.
WATCH LIVE: Tune in for Speaker Ryan’s remarks and conversation with Rich Lowry on speaker.gov/live.
NOTE: The Ronald Reagan Institute is the Washington, DC office of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute located in Simi Valley, CA. The Ronald Reagan Institute promotes President Reagan’s ideals, vision, and leadership example through substantive, issue-driven forums, academic and young professional programming, and scholarly work.
Tomorrow, the late Sen. John Sidney McCain III will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Members of the public and the U.S. government will be able to pay their respects. Sen. McCain dedicated his life to serving our country. Upon news of his passing, Speaker Ryan said, “John McCain was a giant of our time—not just for the things he achieved, but for who he was and what he fought for all his life…He will always be listed among freedom’s most gallant and faithful servants.”
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Sen. McCain served as a Naval aviator for 22 years. He spent five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam’s “Hanoi Hilton” and amassed service honors including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Upon his retirement from the Navy, Sen. McCain served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983-1987 representing the First District of Arizona. In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, serving as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee at the time of his passing. Sen. McCain was the Republican party’s 2008 nominee for president.
Lying in state at the U.S. Capitol is a rare honor by which Congress, and the country, pay tribute to the most distinguished Americans. Traditionally reserved for military officers or elected public officials, 26 individuals have lain in state, in addition to three instances where Congress honored the unknown soldiers of World War I, World War II and the Korean War, and of the Vietnam Era. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii was the last person lain in state following his passing in 2012.
Authorized by congressional leadership, Sen. McCain’s casket will arrive at the Capitol tomorrow, August 31. The Capitol service, which will include remarks and the laying of wreaths by the vice president and congressional leadership, will begin at 11:00 a.m. ET. Starting at 1:00 p.m., the Rotunda will be open to the public. The Capitol service and public viewing will be streamed on speaker.gov/live.
Nearly anywhere you look right now, all signs point to a thriving economy. Stagnation has given way to real growth. Uncertainty has been replaced with expansion. And most encouraging: A lack of confidence in the country’s economic direction has turned into optimism at levels we haven’t seen in years.
Yet amid all this positivity, there are areas that are still recovering, that still have yet to be reached by economic growth. These places are beginning to see the potential of the opportunity zones provision included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which provides incentives for attracting private capital to distressed areas. This provision helps make economic growth less uneven, so neighborhoods in need of revitalization have a better path to prosperity, and helps keep that growth going long-term.
Since zones throughout all 50 states and D.C. were approved in April, stories of their emerging impact have encouraged local leaders. Here are a few recent snapshots:
Read more on how things are looking up around the country:
Each week brings a wave of small business and manufacturing success stories—bright signs of economic resurgence in communities all across the country. After years of being stifled by overtaxation and overregulation under an administration that forgot about them, these industries are reinvigorated and driving the economy once again.
It’s no coincidence. Over the last two years, Republicans have focused on recharging these engines of growth. Piece by piece, we overhauled our tax code and implemented a regulatory agenda that would return our economy to one that works for its workers. Here are some recent snapshots that tell this comeback story:
Read more: Snapshots of How Workers Are Better Off Now
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement this evening:
“This is a sad day for the United States. Our country has lost a decorated war hero and statesman. John McCain was a giant of our time—not just for the things he achieved, but for who he was and what he fought for all his life. John put principle before politics. He put country before self. He was one of the most courageous men of the century. He will always be listed among freedom’s most gallant and faithful servants. Our hearts are with his wife, Cindy, his children, and his grandchildren. This Congress, this country mourn with them.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement:
“The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious. The Ethics Committee deferred its investigation at the request of the Justice Department. Now that he has been indicted, Rep. Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments pending the resolution of this matter.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement after the Trump administration announced a new Affordable Clean Energy rule:
“Affordable energy is so critical to our everyday lives, and it’s also vital to our long-term economic growth. But for years, the Obama administration waged a war on American energy with devastating consequences for workers and manufacturers. The ‘Clean Power Plan’ was just an absolute nightmare for coal country. Today, the Trump administration has laid out a path to responsible energy production that is good for jobs and household budgets. This sets us up to be competitive for years to come. Congress will continue to work with the administration to connect America’s energy boom to consumers and communities.”
When I first came to Congress, I came in the 1998 election. And I remember back in those days I would tell a lot of family and friends and constituents in Wisconsin: There are a lot of be-ers and doers in Congress.
Be-ers are people who come to be somebody—to be called Congressman, to have a title, to have a lapel pin, and to be important and be in the press. To be, not to do.
And then there are doers—people who actually believe in principles, ideas, and want to fight for those ideas no matter the consequences.
What we have now—the men and women here in this Congress—we have doers. We have people who are here who want to do the right thing for the right reasons, who believe in principles and ideas and getting things done, and they're willing to lose their seat over it. The most important thing for people here is not to get re-elected; it's to get something done. That's the kind of people we need in Congress, and that is why I feel like we are really a Majority of doers so much more than we ever have been before.
Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute (GEI) released some electrifying findings: As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, “electricity customers across the United States will save billions [of dollars]…while the broader economy will create tens of thousands of jobs and see billions more in economic activity.” That's some powerful stuff.
This news is the latest indicator of how tax reform has ignited a spark in our economy. While these findings may come as a shock to Washington Democrats, who’ve doubled down on the doom-and-gloom economic rhetoric, utility companies in 48 out of 50 states and DC have taken action to pass their federal tax savings on to more than 87 million customers—so far.
GEI found that “direct customer savings over a five-year period are significant—ranging from $101 million in Maine to more than $3.2 billion in California. Democratic leaders may still call this kind of money “crumbs,” but watt we know is this: These are real savings for hardworking families across the country.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued this statement following President Trump’s signing of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act:
“This bill is a promise kept to our men and women who serve. To address the military readiness crisis we’ve faced for years, we are implementing this historic funding increase to boost training and upgrade equipment. This legislation reforms the Pentagon to make our military more agile, provides resources to ensure our Armed Forces have the tools needed for modern warfare, and extends funding for global counterterrorism efforts. Importantly, it takes care of service members and their families, with their biggest pay raise in nine years, and funding for the Defense Health Program. Because of the dedication of our service members, America’s might is unmatched around the world.
“It is fitting that the president signed this bill at Fort Drum, which is represented by Elise Stefanik, whose hard work on the Armed Services Committee has helped make this rebuilding of our military possible. With this bill now becoming law, our military knows that Congress is committed to giving them the resources needed to fulfill their missions.”
“By nearly every standard measure, the American economy is doing well — and better than it was a year and a half ago. . .” (The New York Times, 8/10/18)
Tax reform stories keep coming. With the economy booming, historic tax reform continues to deliver on its promises, directly improving the lives of America’s workers and families:
‘Armageddon’ update! All this good news is a far, far cry from the ‘Armageddon’ Democratic leaders predicted. Speaking of which, just this week Leader Pelosi came out and “enthusiastically” doubled down on that doom-and-gloom prognostication. She did this even while conceding that “they say that the economy by all indicators is doing well.” Ah, okay.
“The biggest indicator,” she says, “is the size of the paycheck.” So then it’s good news that so many people are indeed seeing bigger paychecks after tax reform. In fact, worker pay and benefits are rising at their highest rate in 10 years.
Better off now. Some good news features you may have missed this week:
Two years ago, House Republicans unveiled a positive, unified agenda—a better way. We went to the American people and said: If you are tired of our nation going down the wrong path, we have ideas—real solutions—to address some of the biggest challenges we face.
What a difference those two years have made. America is stronger at home and abroad with a booming economy, safer communities, and a stronger military. We put in place a new tax code to help working families; job seekers are entering one of the best job markets in decades; businesses are expanding; we’re strengthening treatment for people struggling with opioid addiction; we’re overhauling our career and technical education system to properly equip students and workers with the skills they need. Below are seven graphics to offer a quick glimpse of how our country is better off now. You can read more at better.gop.
1. Lower Utility Rates for Customers in 48/50 States
2. 4.1% Second-Quarter GDP Growth
3. Projected Job Creation in 2018 Thanks to Tax Reform
4. Unemployment Levels Near Historic Lows
5. Worker Pay Rate Rising
6. Historic Congressional Effort to Combat the Opioid Crisis
7. Increased Support for Our Military
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has issued the following statement:
“While his guilt or innocence is a question for the courts to settle, the allegations against Rep. Collins demand a prompt and thorough investigation by the House Ethics Committee. Insider trading is a clear violation of the public trust. Until this matter is settled, Rep. Collins will not be serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”
Out this morning: Two more indications that confidence is back for American businesses and workers. First, the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index registered record high optimism among small business owners, buoyed by high cash flow and positive views of current finances. Especially noteworthy, “35% of owners expect that the number of jobs at their business will increase over the next year, the second-highest reading on this measure in the history of the index.”
Additionally, the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Department of Labor showed open jobs hitting 6.662 million in June. The quits rate, a measure of workers voluntarily leaving jobs for new opportunities, “held at the highest in this expansion which shows the confidence that job hoppers have in finding both a new job and higher wages elsewhere,” an investment officer noted.
Editorials we’ve been reading: In the past week, several papers have editorialized on the undeniable economic strength we’re seeing—strength ushered in by Republican policies.
Here are a few excerpts from around the country:
Chicago Tribune: This Is What a Booming Economy Feels Like
“Jobs mean everything to the nation’s sense of well-being. Opportunity offers fulfillment; paychecks create prosperity. Do you feel better about your prospects? You should. The economy is booming.
“But why can’t the growth continue, and accelerate? During much of the 2009-to-present expansion, with President Barack Obama in office, growth trundled along at about 2 percent. President Donald Trump took office saying he wanted to goose the sustained growth rate to 3 percent. He and the Republican-led Congress cut taxes to put money in the pockets of consumers and give businesses an incentive to invest and hire. Both are happening. The Trump administration also is focused on reducing regulatory red tape as an additional inducement to companies to bet on their future.
“Businesses are reacting to those policy changes: Their confidence leads to more investment, which adds jobs and spurs gross domestic product growth. On and on may it go.”
Full piece here.
Boston Herald: So Far So Good on Economy
“Americans are spending their tax cuts and businesses are unrestrained by the burdensome regulations that hindered their growth potential for years. The president is pro-business to the core. There is no doubt about that and it is fair to speculate that his enthusiasm gooses the morale of those in business and finance.”
Full piece here.
Carteret County News-Times: The Economy Rolls
“We dismiss the feeling that we should feel sorry for Democrats who simply can’t accept reality—really good economic news—because they won’t admit that the guy they didn’t vote for is getting something right.”
Full piece here.
Investor’s Business Daily: Trump’s Supply-Side Tax Cuts, Deregulation Vindicated by Big GDP Jump
“And remember this: Business investment grew at a 7.3% annual pace for the quarter, in large part due to corporate tax cuts that have made it profitable for businesses to invest in the U.S. again. Consumer spending, likewise, rose 4% as consumers also had more money in their pockets from tax cuts.”
Full piece here.
After years of being left behind, more Americans are getting a good job, especially those who have had the toughest time finding work. With low unemployment and a resurgence of confidence, more workers are looking for better jobs, and more people are coming off the sidelines. This is what broad and inclusive growth looks like. Here are some snapshots of how more people are climbing the ladder of opportunity:
Better off now. We’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time, whether it’s from December when Democrats said tax reform would mean ‘the end of the world,’ or from two years ago when our economy was stuck, with too many workers and too much capital on the sidelines. Now our economy is seeing real growth again, and more people are getting a chance to work and do what they love. Learn more at better.gop.
After years of struggling to get ahead, the American people are seeing jobs, opportunity, and confidence come roaring back. Look at just the last week, and you’ll see how the economy is taking off, and Americans are better off now:
Let’s go back to last Friday, when the government reported that the economy is growing at its fastest pace in four years. It’s the kind of growth that progressive economists said we couldn’t achieve anymore.
Wednesday brought word that consumer spending continued to increase, and the Federal Reserve emphasized—several times over—the strength of the economy.
On Thursday morning, new data showed unemployment claims continue to remain near their lowest level in 45 years.
And today, the jobs report shows that unemployment is back down under 4 percent, near its lowest level in 18 years.
When’s the last time we had such a great week of economic news like this? It's been too long. And to think that Democrats want to take us backwards. We should be building on this progress—not taking all of it away.
Indeed, more work remains, but this economy is soaring, and Republican policies are helping improve people's lives and making it easier for families to get ahead. Learn more at better.gop.
Republicans in Congress have worked hard to deliver real results, and Americans are better off now. As we enter the final stretch of summer, there's a little more time to reflect on all the good things happening.
In that spirit, here is a handful recent good reads highlighting the economic prosperity and positive change lifting up communities across the country:
Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and The Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James: Tax Cuts Only Help the Wealthy, Right? American Paychecks Show Otherwise
“For the first time in American history, there are more jobs available than people looking for them. Rather than sitting on the sidelines, more workers are eagerly looking for work—which is readily available. A majority of the uptick in new job seekers is fueled by women, individuals with disabilities, and minorities, looking for their first job or reentering the workforce after a poor economy pushed them out many years ago.”
Read the full piece here.
Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL): Americans Are Better Off Now
“One of my biggest concerns during the Obama Administration was the hollowing out of our military. We had planes that couldn’t fly and ships that couldn’t sail. We were not making the continuous critical investment in our military necessary to keep up with our adversaries. Thankfully, those days are over.”
Read the full piece here.
Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer (R-MO): Continuing Working Toward a ‘Better Way’
“To ensure farmers, teachers, small business owners and all Americans can take advantage of our growing economy, we have delivered on our promise to provide regulatory relief that will support investment in our communities. The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act allows community banks to get back to the business of banking, increasing the availability of financial products and ensuring everyone has access to credit.”
Read the full piece here.
Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA): For Tax Reform, the Best Is Yet to Come
“At an incredible, veteran-owned company in Savannah, I learned that, because of tax reform, the company is able to give their employees more, and it’s the difference between being able to buy Christmas presents for their children or not. At another small business in Homerville, I learned that the new tax law has allowed them to purchase new equipment to grow their company at a substantial rate.”
Read the full piece here.
Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Joni Ernst (R-IA): Why We Believe so Strongly in the Power of ‘Opportunity Zones’
“Perhaps our favorite part of the Opportunity Zones program is that it is powered from the ground up, not the federal government in Washington, D.C….Zones were nominated by mayors and governors, because folks here at home in Iowa know where help is needed the most. Unlike other programs attempting to help those in need in the past, there is no federal bureaucracy created by Opportunity Zones, meaning red tape will not get in the way.”
Read the full piece here.
In the 31 days of July, we took 3,293 photos documenting the speaker’s daily schedule. Now, this is a photo round-up. So, we’ve selected just seven photos from the seventh month to give a behind-the-scenes look at the happenings of July.
Here are some of our favorite moments:
1. Tax Reform 2.0 – In just over six short months, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has kicked our economy into high gear. Speaker Ryan meet with Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) to discuss next steps for Tax Cuts 2.0, coming this fall.
2. Wardrobe (Un)Coordination – Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) share a laugh after showing up for work wearing identical patriotic ties.
3. A Timely Discussion – In an age of tribalism and identity politics, it’s important that our society upholds its constitutional principles and mediating institutions. Speaker Ryan and author Jonah Goldberg sit down to discuss these topics at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.
4. A Voice for the Voiceless – Every day, North Koreans are subject to brutal persecution by the Kim regime. The North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act renews measures to promote human rights and shine a light on what’s happening to the people of North Korea. Speaker Ryan congratulates the law’s author, retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)—a true voice for the voiceless.
5. Room Rededication – Speaker Ryan greets Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) at the rededication ceremony for his namesake hearing room. The Sam Johnson Room was recently updated to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and redone in an Air Force blue and silver color scheme.
6. A Conversation with Interns – Speaker Ryan sits down with his second group of summer interns to hear about their experiences working in the office and learn more about their career goals.
7. Discovering Family Roots – While taping an episode of PBS's Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., Speaker Ryan learns that he is three percent Ashkenazi Jewish.
July also brought about the unveiling of House Republicans’ “Better Off Now” campaign—that with a booming economy, safer communities, and a stronger military, Americans are better off now. Speaker Ryan spoke about our booming economy an event hosted by The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. With the Better Off Now campaign also comes new pamphlets, and everyone knows the speaker loves a good pamphlet.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement on President Trump’s signing of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act:
“As this bill becomes law of the land, we are moving closer to a workforce equipped for our 21st century economy. By transforming our career and technical education system into one that provides appropriate training, I am hopeful that we can close the skills gap and get more workers prepared to enter fulfilling jobs. This will empower more American job seekers as they work to get ahead. I commend Chairwoman Virginia Foxx and Rep. G.T. Thompson for putting together a thoughtful bill that will open real opportunities for people.”
NOTE: Last week, Speaker Ryan signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act at his weekly press conference.
They said it couldn’t be done. ‘They,’ in this case, are progressive economists, and ‘it’ is strong economic growth.
Where we were: Friday’s news that our economy is growing at its fastest rate since 2014 shows just how far we’ve come in a relatively short time. Remember that growth during the Obama administration was so slow for so long that it was called the ‘new normal.’ Progressive economists peddled the notion of ‘secular stagnation,’ that this was as good as things would get, and we should get used to it. Larry Summers described it as “a kind of long term and sustained slow-down in economic growth.”
Path of growth: We are putting those days behind us. Earlier this month, Speaker Ryan talked about how we’ve put our economy back on a path of healthy growth in a speech to The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.:
“We were drifting toward a low-wage, low-growth future. As growth slowed, an economist at Northwestern wrote a paper titled, ‘Is Economic Growth Over?’ That path—which many so-called experts were saying was the best we could hope to achieve—was leading us straight to stagnation . . .
“After years of stagnation, our economy is finally on the rise. By just about any economic measure, the American people are better off now.
“Remember how, not too long ago, we were being told to just get used to stagnation, get used to the new normal. Well, that narrative’s sell-by date has now come and gone.” Watch the speech.
After Friday’s report, this turnaround was hammered home in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:
“Throughout the Obama years, progressive economists said Americans had become too old, lazy and complacent to achieve the growth that was regular before 2009. But somehow American workers overcame all of these supposed weaknesses when Mr. Trump changed federal policy. The problem was not our people but our government. Stagnation is not fate but a political choice.”
Better off now: We’ve chosen to put America back on a path of growth, and the American people are better off now. Unemployment is down, wages are rising, confidence is returning, growth is back. Learn more at better.gop.
“Second-quarter GDP jumps 4.1% for best pace in nearly four years. Gross domestic product grew at a solid 4.1 percent pace in the second quarter. . .That's the fastest rate of the growth since the third quarter of 2014 and the third-best growth rate since the Great Recession. In addition to the strong second quarter, the Commerce Department revised its first-quarter reading up from 2 percent 2.2 percent.” (CNBC)
“The U.S. economy had a blockbuster second quarter, with growth surging to a 4.1 percent pace, the Commerce Department said Friday. That was nearly double the first quarter rate of 2.2 percent and the strongest pace in nearly four years.” (NPR)
“The sweeping Republican tax cuts that took effect in January were likely a major contributing factor, permanently slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and increasing many workers' take-home pay.” (Fox News)
“Consumer spending propelled U.S. economic growth to a 4.1 percent pace in the second quarter, the fastest since 2014. . . In addition to lower taxes, consumers' purchasing power is benefiting from steady hiring, an unemployment rate that's near the lowest since 1969, improving finances, relatively low borrowing costs and contained inflation.” (Bloomberg)
“The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly four years in the second quarter. . . .Consumer spending is being driven by the lower taxes and a robust labor market, which created an average of 215,000 jobs per month in the first half of this year.” (Reuters)
“It was the strongest quarter of growth since 2014. . . . ‘The bottom line is that the economy is doing better,’ said Diane Swonk, chief economist for the accounting firm Grant Thornton.” (The New York Times)
“Economic growth depends a lot on how consumers and businesses feel about the economy. When individuals are positive about their finances they are more likely to spend, and the same goes for businesses. Tax reform was meant to boost both individuals and businesses, lowering the corporate tax rates to increase the money businesses have to invest in growth while also increasing take home pay for many Americans. The latest GDP reading suggests that this strategy is working.” (Fox Business)
“By many metrics, the United States economy is in excellent shape: Unemployment is near an 18-year low, factories are seeing more orders, and exports are surging.” (CNNMoney)
Learn more about how Americans are Better Off Now.
Great news: The nation’s economy grew by 4.1 percent in the second quarter. It’s the fastest rate of growth in nearly four years.
“The bottom line is that the economy is doing better,” one economist told The New York Times.
This is yet another indication that our economy is surging, and Americans are better off now.
As Bloomberg noted, “In addition to lower taxes, consumers' purchasing power is benefiting from steady hiring, an unemployment rate that's near the lowest since 1969, improving finances, relatively low borrowing costs and contained inflation.”
This is no accident. House Republicans have delivered on an agenda to get America’s economy back on a path to growth, and get more Americans on to the ladder of opportunity:
And we’re taking steps to bring more workers into the fold. Just this week, Congress passed a complete overhaul of our career and technical education system to help match more people with the jobs available in our modern economy.
We have come a long way from the gloom and stagnation of recent years. Just days after the last election, Paul Krugman predicted, “So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.
Americans have proven the cynics wrong once again. We are making people’s lives better. Americans are better off now.
Summary: At his weekly press conference, Speaker Ryan enrolled a bipartisan bill to overhaul our career and technical education system, helping close the skills gap and match more job seekers with employment opportunities. He also spoke about how the House Republican Better Way agenda has made Americans’ daily lives better.
Overhauling Career and Technical Education
“I am about to sign H.R. 2353, so that we can send it to the president’s desk. I am really excited about this bill. This is a big piece of our Better Way agenda.
“This provides for a complete overhaul of our career and our technical education system.
“I see [Rep.] G.T. Thompson is here, the author of the bill. So I’m very, very, very proud of this effort that he, and all of our colleagues, have put together.
“One obstacle that workers across the country are facing today is that there’s a job that they want, but they don’t have quite the right skills to take that job.
“We call this the skills gap.
“It is a big reason why, right now, we actually have more job openings in America than we have people looking for work.
“That’s a big piece of the skills gap.
“So the demand for skilled workers keeps growing, but Washington has badly been behind the curve on this. We have not properly equipped our education system.
“This changes that. This closes the skills gap.
“Students and workers are now going to have a much clearer path to all of the great career and technical education programs that are out there. We have a bunch of these in Southern Wisconsin.
“I see it all the time where I come from. Great careers, great jobs are being offered, people need work, but they don’t have the skills to get these careers and jobs. This closes that gap.
“There could not be a better time to do this, with the economy back on track, and businesses expanding and hiring again.
“So we’re very excited about this.
“Now, this didn’t get a lot of headlines. This did not get a big, splashy news story. This wasn’t the ticker on the TV. This was not on the front page.
“But this matters.
“It will make people better off. It will make it easier for people to provide for their families.
“This is the kind of thing that I’m in this job for. This is the kind of thing that [Rep.] G.T. Thompson’s in this job for.
“It’s why I’m here. It’s why we come to these jobs: to improve people’s lives. To take good ideas, and turn them into real results that will make a lasting difference for people.”
“Just look at some of the things that we’ve gotten done in just the last few months alone. We are producing.
“Better care for our veterans. Better access to credit for small businesses. Hope for the terminally ill. More tools to fight transnational gangs like MS-13. More resources to fight opioids, the biggest congressional effort of its kind in history.
“And today—right now, you can see the vote on the floor—the national defense bill to rebuild our military.
“Things like this—things like these—they may not make the cut against the palace intrigue and all the countdown clocks, but we are getting things done to improve people’s lives.
“And, of course, I want to encourage you, I get to do this again, I really enjoy this, I want to encourage you to go to better.gop to see that we’ve been making good on our promises. To see that we’ve been making good on executing our agenda.
“And as a result of our Better Way agenda getting into place, becoming law, people are better off now.
“So go to better.gop to learn more about all of these things.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement on the passage of the conference report for the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act:
“This is a major step forward in rebuilding our military. This bill invests in our service members, through both a pay raise for our troops and funding for updated equipment and training. It provides resources to ensure our armed forces are equipped to face the emerging challenges of modern warfare, includes strategic priorities for supporting our allies, and helps defend against hostility from countries like Russia and China. And it provides continued support for our military in the fight against global terrorism.
“Our men and women in uniform deserve the assurance that Congress is committed to giving them the tools they need. This is the earliest we have finished the national defense bill since 1977, reflecting the urgency of this legislation and underscoring our commitment to our service members. I commend Chairman Mac Thornberry, the members of the Armed Services Committee, and all of the conferees for their tireless work.”
WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released this statement on the passage of the bipartisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act:
“One of our best assets in realizing the American Idea is having an education system that helps people reach their potential and fulfill their aspirations. That’s why this bill is so important. It is a complete overhaul of our country’s career and technical education system. In this economy, with millions of open jobs, there is no reason Americans seeking employment should lack the training to find it. This will help more people acquire the right skills to fill a good-paying job.
“Here are some things that this bill does. It promotes career and technical education at the state level, providing funding and flexibility for programs. It refocuses programs on student outcomes to ensure students receive the most effective training possible, truly preparing them to enter the workforce. And it brings technical education into the 21st century by enhancing skills training to better match the jobs available in a modern economy. These are exciting steps, and I want to thank Chairwoman Foxx, Rep. Thompson, and all the members of the Education and the Workforce Committee who have been working on this for years.
“We are pleased to deliver on another key plank of our Better Way agenda. This will help more Americans get on the path of life, and we can’t wait to see all the good it will do for our economy and countless families. We look forward to sending this to the president’s desk to become law of the land.”
NOTE: For more information about the House’s efforts to improve career and technical education, click here.
As we speak, the House has begun debating bipartisan legislation to overhaul our nation’s career and technical education system. It will help more Americans get into good-paying jobs and careers by acquiring the right skills to compete in the workforce.
Right now, the economy is doing well, to the point that we have more job openings in America than we do job-seekers. The challenge is finding workers with the right skills to fill these in-demand jobs. This bill, a critical piece of our Better Way agenda, will help close that skills gap.
The Education and the Workforce Committee has all the background you need on the bill. Here’s a little timeline from us:
June 7, 2016: As part of the Better Way plan to fight poverty and promote upward mobility, Republicans call for improving career and technical education. “Federal policy must seize the opportunity to help Americans—young and old—develop the skills that lead to high-paying jobs,” the report says.
June 22, 2017: The House passes the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. At a press conference earlier in the week, Speaker Ryan calls for expanding CTE: “We have to close this skills gap. This is huge in the Midwest. It’s something I hear about every single time I tour a business.”
September 18, 2017: Speaker Ryan visits a career and technical education program in New Berlin, WI, where they help students explore specific areas of interest. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, “’Preparing students like New Berlin does, as well as helping students develop in other ways like become ‘lifelong learners,’ is exactly what others should also be doing,’ Ryan said. ‘What you’re doing here is exactly what we’re hoping to see all over the place.’”
March 2018: Congress passes a critical funding bill to boost funding for workforce development in high-growth job fields, including a $75 million increase for career and technical education programs.
July 12, 2018: Speaker Ryan continues his push for strengthening career and technical education in a speech to The Economic Club of Washington, DC: “We need to recognize that the competitiveness of our economy is inextricably linked to the competitiveness of our workforce. … We have boosted resources for workforce development programs in high-growth fields. And the House has passed a great bipartisan bill to expand career and technical education.”
July 25, 2018: The House takes up the final version of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. One of the bill’s authors, Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), and Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) tout “making better career and technical education options a reality for millions of Americans.”
WASHINGTON—In an address to the Congressional Summer Intern Lecture Series, hosted by the Committee on House Administration and the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke about rediscovering our common humanity to restore civility and strengthen civil society. His remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:
I love that we do this. I love that we bring together young people from both sides of the aisle.
I was an intern, once upon a time. I started out in the mailroom in Russell on the Senate side. Eventually I figured out that the House side was a lot better.
In between, I spent most nights waiting tables over at Tortilla Coast. At closing time, I would grab a bottle of Pacifico and hang out with the busboys.
These days, when my shift ends, it might be a Miller Lite with a colleague, followed by a call with my family. But in many respects, not much has changed for me.
One of my daily prayers is to keep my sense of self: my enthusiasm for ideas, my passion for policy…my sense of things that brought me here.
So I see myself in you, to say the least. I see that drive and curiosity. The challenge is to sustain that energy, to keep that faith in the future.
This is a challenge for all of us right now, isn’t it?
Curiosity can often seem no match for cynicism. Disillusionment is fast becoming our default state.
On the Fourth of July, Gallup reported an alarming drop in American patriotism. Only 47 percent of adults now say they are ‘extremely proud’ to be Americans. This is a record low.
Here is the way I see this: it is no longer just that our passions are getting the best of us. More and more, our politics is enabling the worst in us.
We no longer see our opponents as ‘the other side,’ but simply as ‘the others,’ as targets. As someone not fundamentally like us.
The more politics preys on our divisions, the more we become defined by them.
It leads to a view of life and society as a zero-sum game where one group has to win at the expense of the other.
All of this is slipping further into our daily lives. We too easily retreat to the comfort, and conformity, of our tribes.
This blinds us to the perspectives that others bring to the table. In turn, we ourselves don’t reach out, don’t offer our time and energy.
And social media just amplifies all of these trends. It is an industry where you can make money feeding fear and resentment.
We are caught in this paradox where we are more connected than ever, but we could not feel more disconnected or more alienated.
That’s why, for all of the big challenges out there, the one that keeps me so concerned is what’s going on in our civic life.
So, the question is: what do we do about it?
Well, always remember that our country is this beautiful idea, this awesome experiment.
It gives us the chance to be free, and to be happy.
It also gives us the space to resolve our differences, and work together to advance a vision of liberty and justice for all.
Guess what? It is our job to preserve all this. And it is a job. It is real work, but it is certainly worth the effort.
After all, the American Idea has made us the most free, the most flourishing, the most generous country on Earth.
We can never take this for granted.
And we won’t so long as we remember our common humanity.
We just cannot let our divisions overtake our basic respect for another.
We need to recognize that we are all less-than-perfect. We all fall short, we all struggle. We all want to be heard, and to be needed.
Our humanity spurs us to find perspective, to listen, and to lend a hand.
This is without question the greatest antidote, the greatest antibody, we have against the forces of alienation.
By rediscovering our common humanity, we can take the oxygen out of tribalism and identity politics.
One way we can do this is through a resurgence of ideas. Of substance. Of reason. By actually engaging on the merits.
The first, maybe best, advice I ever received here came, believe it or not, from a liberal Massachusetts Democrat. During my freshman orientation, I had breakfast with Barney Frank.
He told me that what he loved about the House is how it is a genuine meritocracy. You get ahead based on the power of your ideas, and your ability to make a persuasive case for them.
These days, we don’t even really set out to persuade anymore. We just hit each over the head until the music stops.
For all the provocation, there isn’t much that’s actually thought-provoking. We rarely skim below the surface.
We shouldn’t derive our meaning from building a brand around ourselves. We should derive our meaning from our commitment to our ideas, our convictions.
Rather than just searching for the nearest echo chamber, putting our ideas to the test makes us strengthen and improve them.
It makes us better, and gives us more perspective, too.
We can also rediscover our common humanity by improving the tone, and raising the level, of our debates.
It is well-trodden ground to note that we need to disagree without being disagreeable.
But this is not just about good manners; it is about the manner of how we govern. It is about our ability to solve problems.
Civility is a civic imperative. A healthy discourse allows us to navigate our disagreements in the search for common ground. To accept good ideas, even if our side didn’t come up with them.
Too often right now, if one side is for it, the other is against it. No questions asked.
At this point, we have reduced our debates to a stream of hot takes and tweets.
But our discourse, at its most vibrant, is not just a visceral show of hands. It is a show of heart, a place where we come together for thoughtful discussion.
We deconstruct each other’s arguments, instead of just impugning each other’s motives.
Sometimes things get a little heated. Just search my mentions on Twitter, and you will see exactly what I mean.
That’s okay. I can’t control that. But what I can do is control my own actions. So I choose not to respond in kind, but to respond with kindness. Just let people get stuff off of their chest, and move on.
I know that snark sells, but it doesn’t stick. It doesn’t last. It doesn’t unite people around a bigger idea or a greater cause.
Personal engagement takes work, it takes patience. It takes following my mother’s advice to use two ears, and one mouth, in that proportion.
We need to revitalize the battle of ideas, and be grateful for the chance to do this every day.
One big thing we can do to rediscover our common humanity is to strengthen the very institutions that promote togetherness and connect us to one another.
This may sound heavy, but it’s important.
We call these the mediating institutions in civil society. But it’s all really just a way of describing the community. It’s the churches and charities, the PTAs and Little Leagues, the food banks and shelters.
Think of how you have come to know different people, and how you have benefited from their perspective. That is the value of mediating institutions, and civil society.
Many of you have studied Alexis deTocqueville. Well, he thought this was actually the genius of our democracy, how we are constantly uniting every day in some way.
It’s true, and refreshing, especially compared to what often goes on this bubble.
But now, as politics increasingly overtakes our daily lives, it breeds a narrow vision of society where there are only two actors: the individual and the government.
This diminishes what goes on in the space between. It crowds out civil society, where the stuff of life happens.
It is where we form our passions, and learn different perspectives.
If we want to rediscover our common humanity, we need to expand the space for civil society. We need to give these institutions the maximum freedom to help people.
Over the years, I have met incredible leaders changing lives in our communities.
One of them is Shirley Holloway.
Shirley runs a shelter a few miles from here, in Anacostia. It is called House of Help, City of Hope. They have served thousands of people struggling with addiction and helplessness.
Shirley doesn’t just get people off the streets, she gets them back on the path of life.
Her motto is: “We don’t see the problem; we see the person.”
These are good words to live by, and they really sum up my message today: see the person, not the problem.
This is where the road back to our common humanity starts: with engaging each other more, with engaging in the community more.
It’s about keeping your cool, and keeping your sense of self.
To boil it all down, here is the choice you will need to make. It is a choice I always tell our new members that they need to make.
Did you come here just to be something, just to build a brand?
Or are you here to do your part, to make a real difference?
If you are, we need you. We need doers. We need leaders.
So as you go back to your campuses and communities, think about ways you can engage people more, on policy and the problems of the day.
Start there. Take that first step. Think about how you can apply what you’ve learned here.
Remember, we don’t have to be trapped by cynicism.
We don’t have to lower our sights. We should always raise our gaze.
Thank you for listening. I look forward to taking your questions.
Two years ago, House Republicans laid out a bold policy agenda called ‘A Better Way’ to get America back on track. This morning, Speaker Ryan joined Fox & Friends to discuss how we have delivered on those promises and Americans are ‘Better Off Now.’ Watch the full interview here and check out the excerpts below.
‘We kept our promises’
Speaker Ryan: “Two years ago House Republicans ran on a platform called ‘The Better Way’ and then along with the newly elected President Trump guess what we did? We did what we said we were going to do, we kept our promises and we enacted a very promising agenda that is now occurring and what's the result? We are stronger at home and abroad, we are rebuilding our military, we are confronting the opioids crisis, we’re ending human trafficking, we are fixing things so that we improve people's lives and so take a look, we now are showing that we are ‘Better Off Now.’ You can go to better.gov to see all the accomplishments that we, along with the President, have put into place to dramatically improve people's lives.”
‘We have a great contrast’
Speaker Ryan: “We have 4% unemployment. More job openings than people looking for work in America today. Wages are up, the economy is soaring. These are good things and great results to run on…What do democrats want to do? They want to abolish ICE, a government guaranteed job, they want to get rid of private health insurance and have a government takeover of the health care system. They are going so far left. So I think we have a great contrast, a really good track record and good story to tell and that's what we’re going to be telling this fall.”
‘We have a lot to do’
Speaker Ryan: “Just this week we are going to finish our bill to rebuild the military, the Defense Authorization Bill. We will finish today our Career in Technical Education Bill, a complete overhaul of career and technical education…that's already out of the Senate now, we passed it out of the House, it's going to go into law…This is our goal to focus on closing skills gap, to get people the skills they need to get good careers and then when we come back, we’re going to work on making the tax cuts permanent, we’ve got appropriation bills we’re going to be passing. We don't want to have some big omnibus at end of the day. We want to pass these separate appropriation bills, so we have a plan to do that. And then we have all these infrastructure bills that we are working through the system. This is the President's infrastructure agenda that we have been talking about and we are very excited about getting these infrastructure bills done as well.”
Shortly, Speaker Ryan will be speaking to a group of Capitol Hill interns about rediscovering our common humanity as a way to restore civil discourse and strengthen civil society. Following his remarks, Speaker Ryan will field questions. But to get the conversation started, we had the speaker read a sampling of some recent tweets directed his way. (The ones we could safely publish anyway.) Click here to watch the video. And watch the event live at 10:45 a.m. ET.
Today, the Capitol Hill community marked the 20th anniversary of the deaths of Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson, Capitol Police who bravely gave their lives defending the United States Capitol from an armed attacker in 1998. Speaker Ryan and Congressional Leaders gathered with the families of the fallen officers at the Memorial Door, where a plaque hangs in their memory.
In honoring their sacrifice, we express our gratitude for the service of all Capitol Police, as well as every man and woman who wears the badge in communities all across the United States.
Summary: At today’s House Republican Leadership press conference, Speaker Ryan discussed how policies passed during this Congress have given Americans reason to be optimistic. With safer communities, an improved veterans’ health care system, and growing economic opportunities, Americans are now headed toward a more prosperous future.
“I was actually in the first grade the last time we passed a defense authorization bill this fast.
“First, as a country, we have a lot of reasons to be optimistic right now.
“Two years ago, we were on a very, very different path. That’s why we proposed a positive agenda that we called the 'Better Way.'
“What a difference those two years have made. The American people are better off now.
“Let me just show you something. You remember this? [Jake] Sherman, don’t shake your head, come on.
“The American people are better off now because of our Better Way agenda that we passed and put into place.
“This is improving people’s lives. This is making a difference in this country.
“We have a veterans’ health care system being reformed for the better.
“We have safer communities. We have stronger prevention and we have a treatment network that is going into place for opioid addiction.
“We’ve unraveled regulations that are ensnaring small businesses and banks.
“We have a new tax code that supports working families rather than holding them back.
“And our economy is thriving.
“This is no coincidence. This is because of our relentless work.
“This is because we took our principles—the classic, timeless principles that built this country—put them into policies to make a difference in people’s lives, and we are now seeing those policies bear fruit and improve people’s lives.
“Job seekers are now entering one of the best job markets in decades.
“Businesses are clamoring for more workers to meet rising demand.
“Confidence is climbing—even among Americans who have a harder time getting ahead. This is so important.
“French [Hill] just talked about opportunity zones. Those are just now being rolled out so we can get people out of poverty, onto the ladder of opportunity.
“Confidence is climbing even among those Americans.
“Wages are rising. Capital spending is growing.
“Businesses are expanding again. This all means more hiring and creating new opportunities for people within their communities.
“All of this has returned us to a path of growth and a path of prosperity.
“But that path could be altered for the worse—and that’s exactly what Democrats have said that they’ll do if given the chance.
“They have scoffed at Americans who benefited from more money in their paychecks. They’re determined to erase this progress.
“Even more, they want to take this country to a dramatically different place, to the far left: They want to abolish ICE, they want single-payer, government-run health care, guaranteed [government] jobs, massive tax increases.
“So, of course, we have more work to do.
“But rolling back all of this progress we have made is the last thing that hard-working taxpayers want to see happen.
“There are still Americans who need to be encouraged to get in the fold. There are still Americans who want to get off the sidelines, into the job market, getting their skills.
“That’s why we’re excited about bringing career and technical education to the floor again this week.
“This is an exciting development for the American people, because we’re going to get more people on the ladder of opportunity, on the path of life.
“The American people are better off now.
“And just go to better.gop to learn more.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement on President Trump’s workforce development executive order:
“We need to prepare more Americans for jobs in the modern economy, but we’ve been stuck using 20th-century tools to address 21st-century problems. Companies know the skills needed to fill their open jobs. By encouraging public-private collaboration to provide apprenticeships, education, and training, we can better match workers with the opportunities that abound in such a strong economy. This is the right place to be focusing our workforce development efforts, and today’s actions are a promising step.”
NOTE: Last week in his speech to The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Speaker Ryan emphasized the need for workforce development, and discussed the partnership between Gateway Tech and Foxconn in Wisconsin as an example of this type of training program.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today released this statement on the passage of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act and the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act:
“With these critical funding bills, the House is taking action to make government work more effectively for communities. This Interior and Environment Appropriations bill provides vital resources to firefighters battling wildfires throughout the West. It empowers local governments to provide services in their communities and it reins in needless regulation, including fully repealing the harmful Obama-era Waters of the United States Rule. Our natural resources and federal lands are part of America’s unique heritage, and this funding will help continue their preservation.
“The Financial Services Appropriations bill provides much-needed funding. It continues Congress’s relentless efforts against the opioid epidemic by providing funding for the Office of National Drug Policy. It puts resources in the hands of law enforcement so they can continue keeping our communities safe and cracks down on terror financing globally. And it promotes business formation and economic growth by funding loan programs for small businesses and programs for veterans and women entrepreneurs. With these bills, the House is continuing its work to carry out responsible funding while maintaining accountability to the American taxpayer.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today named Republican lawmakers to the House-Senate conference committee on the Farm Bill. Last month, the House passed H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, which includes critical reforms to close the skills gap and help more Americans move from welfare to work.
“We see this Farm Bill as pivotal for building a sturdier ladder of opportunity in America,” Speaker Ryan said. “With all this momentum in our economy, there could not be a better time to help more people move from welfare to work. This is a chance to close the skills gap, better equip our workforce, and support much-needed development in rural communities. I look forward to working with Chairman Conaway and all of these lawmakers on these vital reforms.”
Earlier today, the Speaker’s office released an overview of how the House Farm Bill helps more Americans move from welfare to work. This represents the last plank of our Better Way agenda.
House Agriculture Committee
1. Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX)
2. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
3. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
4. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
5. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
6. Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA)
7. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)
8. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
9. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
10. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)
11. Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC)
12. Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS)
13. Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX)
House Education and the Workforce Committee
1. Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
2. Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA)
House Energy and Commerce Committee
1. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
2. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
House Financial Services Committee
1. Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
2. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)
House Foreign Affairs Committee
1. Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA)
2. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
1. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC)
2. Rep. James Comer (R-KY)
House Natural Resources Committee
1. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT)
2. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR)
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
1. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA)
2. Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
1. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA)
2. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH)
Today, the House will take the next step toward critical reforms to help more Americans move from welfare to work. We will vote to establish a conference committee with the Senate to develop a final Farm Bill—a main plank of our workforce development agenda. Here are three reasons this is so important:
1) More Americans are looking for work and more companies are looking for workers. Last month, more than 600,000 people joined the workforce. That is great news. We have 6.6 million jobs open right now in our country—at least one job for every American in search of one. But our labor participation rate still remains relatively low. “Between 1965 and 2015, the number of prime-age men neither working nor looking for work grew more than three times faster than the number in the workforce,” resulting in 7 million men missing from the labor force. One in seven 16-24 year olds in the U.S. are neither in school nor working, totaling more than 5.5 million “disconnected” youth nationwide.
2) Our federal benefits framework is not doing enough to incentivize work. The growth of federal programs provides some color—the last time the unemployment rate was at 4 percent, there were 17 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. Today, with that same unemployment level, there are more than 42 million. We need to make reforms so that these programs encourage work and provide training for those who are work-capable but may not have the adequate skills to secure a good-paying job.
3) The House Farm Bill ties work requirements to work supports, empowering people to get back into the workforce, find a career path, and fulfill their true potential.
It’s a model that works. A new Council of Economic Advisers report noted, “evidence suggests that welfare programs that require work in return for benefits increase adult employment and may improve child outcomes.”
The report, which looks at welfare reform during the 1990s, uses the shift to the work-focused Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program as one of the factors in improved outcomes among the program’s recipients. “Between 1996 and 2000, TANF receipt by single mothers fell by 53 percent, their employment rate increased by 10 percent, and their poverty rate fell by 20 percent.”
The report also notes the effectiveness of work-promoting incentives like the Earned Income Tax Credit. Work requirements for SNAP may act as a complement to these credits, pulling even more people out of poverty and onto a path to prosperity.
As The Wall Street Journal editorialized earlier this year, “Paying people to make it easy not to work—and thus languish for a lifetime in poverty—is not compassionate. It’s destructive of human dignity and leads to more inequality. Republicans are right that welfare reform will assist American upward mobility, and they should take the case to the public.”
Americans are better off now in this booming economy, and this is one way we can make things even better for more families. “If we can get these things right—helping more students get into good jobs and careers, and helping more people get out of poverty into the workforce—those are big changes,” Speaker Ryan said last week, “Those are things that will help restore intergenerational mobility for families and communities.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after meeting with Speaker Radek Vondráček of the Czech Chamber of Deputies:
“This year marks a major milestone—100 years—in relations between the United States and the Czech Republic. The deep ties between our countries, grounded in common values, are represented in the Václav Havel bust in Freedom Foyer of the U.S. Capitol. It was Havel who said to Congress in 1990, ‘Our freedom, independence and our newborn democracy have been purchased at great cost, and we shall not surrender them.’
“In this spirit of solidarity, it was my honor to welcome Speaker Vondráček to the Capitol, and repay his hospitality of earlier this spring. We continued our dialogue on the critical issues we discussed in March, including the importance of the NATO alliance and regional security cooperation. As I said when I was in Prague, it is more vital than ever for our countries to be united in our commitment to Western ideals and interests.”
NOTE: In March, Speaker Ryan made an official visit to Prague to mark the centennial of U.S.-Czech relations. In an address to the Czech Parliament, he called for solidarity in the defense of freedom and democratic institutions, and stronger economic and defense ties among Western allies.
WASHINGTON—Following the overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of the JOBS and Investor Confidence Act, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued this statement:
“This is a big day for American entrepreneurship and job creation. During this Congress, we’ve lifted burdensome regulations off the backs of small banks, credit unions, and small businesses, removing barriers to lending and expansion. It is one reason Americans are better off now.
“This bill builds on that progress by making it easier for small businesses and start-ups to access capital markets for the financing they need. It also updates the process for public offerings, encouraging companies to tap into a pool of potential investors in public markets. These reforms enable innovators to raise capital and serve as catalysts for job creation and growth—igniting an already accelerating economy. I want to thank Chairman Jeb Hensarling for his leadership, and we look forward to the Senate taking action on this consequential bipartisan legislation.”
Summary: At the weekly Republican Leadership press conference, Speaker Ryan discussed a package of bills the House will consider today to promote capital formation and job creation, to build even further upon recent economic success. “The American people are better off now,” Speaker Ryan said, and “we need to keep it going.”
“Morning. I recently had the chance to visit a couple manufacturers up in Minneapolis-St.Paul.
“And the story there is very similar to what we are seeing all around the country.
“More people are finding work. Companies are expanding. Confidence is surging.
“Our policies have helped create this climate. This is a climate of growth.
“The American people are better off now. And we need to keep it going.
“This week, we’ll consider legislation to make it easier for small companies to access the capital markets—it’s a key source of financing.
“This is where most new jobs come from: new companies.
“It will cut down on regulations that are holding back small businesses and start-ups.
“It’s the third piece in a line of critical bipartisan bills aimed at creating jobs, unlocking innovation, and driving growth.
“This will help us sustain the positive growth that we are already seeing.
“And this all gets us back to creating an environment where entrepreneurs can succeed and workers can get ahead.
“I want to commend Chairman Jeb Hensarling, and I want to commend Mia Love, from the Financial Services Committee, for their efforts in bringing this really critical bipartisan legislation to the floor.
“One thing I heard about in the Twin Cities is the need for more workers and especially workers with the right skills.
“This is a new, sort of good problem that we have these days: We have jobs, but we need workers with skills to fill those jobs.
“Soon, we will be taking the next step on the Farm Bill.
“Our version would retool the SNAP program to focus on encouraging recipients to enter the workforce.
“This is a model that we should be moving to—helping more Americans reach their potential, moving from welfare to work, getting on the ladder of life.
“In this economy, there is no better time to do this.
“Just go to better.gop to learn more.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement:
"There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy."
Summary: “The American people are better off now,” Speaker Ryan said today at his weekly press conference. Building on remarks he made this morning to The Economic Club of Washington, D.C, Speaker Ryan discussed the revitalized economy, improved opportunities for workers, and other ways the country is on a better path now.
“This morning, a little ways down the road, I talked about the economic resurgence that’s going on in our country right now.
“After struggling to get ahead for so long, this has been a breakthrough year for America’s workers.
“Unemployment has fallen to historic lows, job openings have reached record highs.
“After tax reform, paychecks are growing. Wages are rising. Confidence is returning.
“The American people are better off now.
“We’re building a stronger economy, and we’re also building a stronger military, as well—a military that is finally getting the resources that it needs to rebuild.
“We’re providing better pay for our service members. We’re providing better care for our veterans.
“We’re building stronger and safer communities, through:
“An historic effort to combat the opioid epidemic.
“Taking on human trafficking.
“Targeting gangs and dangerous criminals.
“Making schools safer.
“I could go on and on, but if you go to better.gop, you can see the progress that we are making.
“More work remains, of course, especially when it comes to getting people into good-paying jobs and good careers.
“That’s what our workforce development agenda is all about.
“But Americans have proven, once again, that we can achieve great things when we raise our sights, when we reapply our founding principles to the problems of the day.
“That is the story that is going on right now in America.
“We delivered on a positive agenda, and now we are seeing positive results that are improving people’s lives.
“The American people are better off now.
“So just go to better.gop to learn more.”
WASHINGTON—In a speech to The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke about how the policies of House Republicans have put the country back on a brighter path to prosperity and how Americans are Better Off Now.
Following are Speaker Ryan’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, David, and thank you all for being here this morning. I am grateful for the chance to share a few thoughts about the state of our economy.
What guides me, what guides us, in this work is growth. Economic growth does not solve all of our problems, but it certainly makes our problems easier to solve.
Growth is the beating heart of a free economy. The stronger it is, the more opportunity there is, the more mobility there is. Growth is what gives us momentum, gives us room to run.
In our lives, it is the difference between being stuck and moving ahead on the path of life. For our country, it is the difference between leading in the world, and lagging behind.
Yet, not too long ago, we were on a very different, and dangerous, path. People were working harder to get ahead only to fall further behind. Economic anxiety and uncertainty blanketed our country.
We were drifting toward a low-wage, low-growth future. As growth slowed, an economist at Northwestern wrote a paper titled, “Is Economic Growth Over?”
That path—which many so-called experts were saying was the best we could hope to achieve—was leading us straight to stagnation. It was leading us to a class-based society where we view life and society as a zero-sum game.
Our tax code had become the embodiment of this drift, a delivery device for managed decline.
It held back families living paycheck-to-paycheck, while stockpiling loopholes and carve outs for the well-connected. It enabled foreign competitors to overtake us, and brazenly take our jobs and our capital.
Around the world, countries began to take advantage of our drift, making their own systems more attractive for investment and lowering their tax rates. In the UK, they went down to 19 percent. Ireland, 12 and a half. In 2017 alone, 8 OECD countries reduced their corporate rate.
In Wisconsin, as in so many places, companies with loyal workers and long lineages, like Johnson Controls—where they make thermostat parts—moved their headquarters overseas.
It just didn’t make sense to be based in America anymore.
We had lost our edge, and lost our way.
This prospect of imminent decline—it is what spurred us to take a positive agenda to the country in 2016. We called it ‘A Better Way,’ and its economic centerpiece was a plan for pro-growth tax reform.
In 2017, we began to implement this agenda, as promised.
We started with regulatory reform, to help lift the tangle of red tape that was suffocating small businesses.
To revitalize Main Street, we provided relief to community banks and credit unions.
We jumpstarted long-overdue improvements to our infrastructure—our roads, bridges, and railways.
And, for the first time in 31 years, we overhauled our tax code. To help workers, we lowered rates and nearly doubled the standard deduction, so you can keep more money in the first place. To help families, we doubled the child tax credit.
To help our businesses, we allowed full expensing to promote expansion. We brought the corporate tax rate in line with our competitors, leap-frogging many of them. And to help attract investment and level the playing field, we transitioned to a territorial tax system like the rest of the world.
As we gather here, it has been a little more than 200 days since the enactment of tax reform. Here is what we know.
After years of stagnation, our economy is finally on the rise. By just about any economic measure, the American people are better off now.
About 9 out of 10 workers are keeping more of what they make. More than 5.5 million workers have already received bonuses, raises, or better benefits, as a direct result of tax reform.
More money is coming back to our shores—more than $300 billion was repatriated in the first quarter, the most on record.
Unemployment rolls are at historically low levels. Job openings have reached record highs. Wages are up, income is up.
Confidence has come roaring back. Consumer confidence. Small business confidence. Manufacturer confidence. All at or near record highs.
We all love a good comeback story. Well, this may be the biggest one around.
Tax reform is working. It is improving people’s lives.
To be clear, it is not the singular reason for this boom. But it was vital to ensuring American preeminence in the 21st century.
Indeed, tax reform has helped dramatically improve our country’s path. Our businesses and manufacturers are competing again, expanding again. Families are spending more again. Retail sales are up. Home sales are up.
And for our workers, there has been a real sea change. Now employers are having to actually compete for workers. More people are quitting their jobs to go for better opportunities—at rates we haven’t seen in years. More than 600,000 people came off the sidelines and joined the labor force last month.
Our economy is on a roll, and the American people are better off now.
We are getting back to risk-taking, back to growth. We are getting back our edge.
But, of course, this is not the end of the story.
Yes, our economy is finally hitting its stride, but too many families are still struggling.
We need to get more people on the path of life. We need to keep our economy on the path of growth.
To do that, we have to get some important things right. We have to get at those problems which growth makes it easier to solve.
Here are just a few challenges I would like for you to think about.
The first one is workforce development. This is really the final piece of our economic agenda.
We need to recognize that the competitiveness of our economy is inextricably linked to the competitiveness of our workforce.
Go to just about any factory in the Midwest right now, and the CEO is likely to tell you something along the lines of: ‘The good news is, we have the jobs. The problem is, we’re having trouble finding workers with the right skills.’
Our education system is still not properly equipped to help people adjust to a changing economy. This is one of those areas where we can’t expect to fix 21st-century problems with 20th-century tools.
We have a growing shortage—really, an alarming shortage—of skilled workers.
Right now, there are actually more job openings in America than there are job seekers. This may be a good problem to have, but it is a problem we need to solve.
We need to close this skills gap.
This Congress has boosted resources for apprenticeships. We have boosted resources for workforce development programs in high-growth fields.
And the House has passed a great bipartisan bill to expand career and technical education.
Basically, the way I see this is: We need to make two-year school cool again. You shouldn’t have to pile up mountains of debt for college just to get the skills you need for a career.
We can and should make it much easier for students to achieve proficiency in their chosen vocation. This will smooth their entry into the workforce.
Here’s one good idea that is catching on: More companies are partnering with local schools on programs to better match students with the skills they need for in-demand jobs.
Take Gateway Tech in Southeastern Wisconsin. They are working with Foxconn to develop a special curriculum for what the company’s needs will be.
In fact, they are building a campus right at the Foxconn location, to train and equip the incoming workforce.
We should be encouraging more of these partnerships. That’s what this legislation is about.
In this economy, with all of the opportunities available, there could not be a better time to help more people move from welfare to work.
As part of this year’s Farm Bill, the House advanced initiatives to better connect food stamp recipients with meaningful jobs. If you are work-capable, and you don’t have young children, you are guaranteed help finding a job or getting the right training for a job.
It is a balance of work requirements and work supports, with a case management-based approach, going person to person. This is all about empowering the individual.
If we can get these things right—helping more students get into good jobs and careers, and helping more people get out of poverty into the workforce—those are big changes. Those are things that will help restore intergenerational mobility for families and communities.
That brings me to my second point.
If we want to make this resurgence real and lasting, we need to do a better job of reconnecting distressed communities to the greater economy.
The country as a whole went through a weak recovery, but there are areas which have still seen next to no recovery at all.
The most recent study done by the Economic Innovation Group found that more than 52 million Americans still live in economically distressed communities. That is far too many people being left behind, and feeling forgotten.
We owe it to those communities to go bold, and get right at the underlying disparities. So we are putting to work some ideas to really open up access to opportunity and jumpstart economic development.
Through tax reform, all 50 states have now designated opportunity zones in their lowest-income census tracts. States worked with local leaders to identify the areas with the biggest need. This, in and of itself, is promising, because we have taken the decision-making out of Washington.
All told, there are more than 8,000 of these zones across the country. You may remember an earlier iteration of these as enterprise zones, something I worked on for Jack Kemp at the start of my career.
With these opportunity zones, we are essentially offering private investors a set of incentives.
The longer you maintain your investment in these areas, the more tax benefits you receive. If you invest for at least a decade, you won’t pay capital gains taxes on that investment.
We want to encourage investors to sustain their commitment, and form a long-term relationship with the community.
Think about it this way. Right now, we have $6 trillion of unrealized capital that can be deployed to help alleviate poverty in distressed communities and improve people’s lives.
The potential here is just incredible.
Another idea this Congress has put into effect is social impact-bonds. This is another way to leverage private capital for the public good under a performance-based framework.
Through these bonds, state and local governments place a value on a specific outcome—it could be anything from helping the homeless to reducing recidivism.
Investors fund and evaluate these programs, and they are repaid only if the program works, only if it gets results. Both the risk and the reward is shifted to the private sector.
This will help unlock new and innovative solutions to fix some of the persistent problems plaguing low-income communities.
The third and final issue I want to talk about gets back to our overall competitiveness and growth.
Just as our standing was threatened as countries around the world made their tax codes more competitive, we similarly risk being left behind in global trade if we don’t lead here, as well.
The final Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was flawed, to be sure, but its broader intent was correct: opening up American-made goods and services to new markets, while providing a counter to China, in a critical region, with the United States writing the rules of the road.
Now, the president has made clear that he prefers bilateral trade agreements over multinational ones like TPP. That view is reasonable, so long as reaching those direct pacts remains a priority.
Since America dropped out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the other TPP nations have moved forward with that agreement.
Any day now, the European Union will sign a new trade agreement with Japan. The EU also recently initiated negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.
The world is moving ahead. So we must continue to pursue new agreements while we strengthen our existing ones.
Otherwise, we risk having American products locked out of new markets, jobs moved overseas, and a decline in American influence.
This matters. As our generals will tell you, these agreements are just as important for our national security as they are for our economy.
This administration has been vocal about trade abuses taking place. It is right to be. There are unquestionably bad actors, most notably China. But I’ve made my view clear: New tariffs are not the solution.
For me, all of this is secondary to a bigger, more fundamental question about the future of the economy and our standing in it.
Today, emerging economies and old allies alike are making a choice.
As we settle into the 21st century, will they follow what I would call the Chinese model, with centralized power, state-owned enterprises, cronyism, even outright theft?
Or will they choose a system based on markets, the rule of law, transparency, and the kind of potential only human capital can produce?
I believe most of these counties want the latter, but they need to know that the United States will be there to partner with them.
The rule book for the global economy in the 21st century is being written now.
The question is whether the United States will be holding the pen, or will we cede that authority to illiberal, undemocratic regimes.
We must be there, to set the tone and set the pace.
More so, we must continue to demonstrate that our way of doing things still has juice. That we can still do the most good for the most people.
This is another reason why tax reform was so important.
It is why, on the day I became Speaker, I said that I did not believe all that talk about America being done, about our best days being behind us.
Remember how, not too long ago, we were being told to just get used to stagnation, get used to the new normal.
Well, that narrative’s sell-by date has now come and gone.
We have shown what we can achieve when we reapply our founding principles, when we renew our aspirational spirit.
We have retold the story of the American Idea.
Let us continue with this work.
Let us continue on the path of growth and opportunity.
Thank you all for having me.
After years of struggling to get ahead, the American people are seeing jobs, opportunity, and confidence come roaring back.
Two years ago, House Republicans laid out a bold policy agenda called A Better Way to tackle some of the biggest challenges of the day.
Republicans are delivering on our promises. As a result, America is stronger at home and abroad, with a booming economy, safer communities, and a revived military.
After historic tax reform, unemployment is at historic lows, job openings are at record highs, paychecks are growing, and wages are rising, right along with economic optimism.
We have made significant investments to combat the opioid crisis, end human trafficking, target dangerous criminals, and make schools safer.
We have launched a historic rebuilding of our military, raised pay for our troops, and reformed the VA to provide better care to our veterans.
More work remains, but this economy is soaring, and Republican policies are helping to improve people’s lives and making it easier for families to get ahead, with a renewed sense of confidence for the future.
The American people are better off now.
WASHINGTON—On Thursday, July 19, AEI will host a conversation between House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and AEI Asness Chair in Applied Liberty Jonah Goldberg. They will discuss the importance of maintaining constitutional principles and mediating institutions in an age of tribalism and identity politics.
Constitutional government in an age of tribalism and identity politics: A conversation with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Jonah Goldberg
Thursday, July 19 at 11:15 a.m. ET
AEI Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
MEDIA: This event is open press, but space is very limited. All media who wish to attend must RSVP to MediaServices@aei.org, 202-862-5829, by COB on Tuesday, July 17. Media should expect to receive additional logistical information the week of the event.
WATCH LIVE: Tune in for Speaker Ryan and Jonah Goldberg’s conversation on speaker.gov/live.
Summary: Today, Republican leaders talked about how the American people are Better Off Now because of the House Republican agenda that has ushered in an economic resurgence and strengthened communities. While there is more work to be done, Speaker Ryan shared how policies passed during this speakership have put the country back on the path to a future full of promise.
Speaker Ryan’s Opening Statement:
“This is a really, really good story to tell. It’s about hard work and the resilience of the American people.
“In 2016, we offered the American people a positive agenda. We offered, in 2016, the American people A Better Way.
“We said, here is what we need to do to get the country back on track.
“And we have delivered on these promises. And the American people are better off now. The country is on a better path now.
“At home, tax reform has opened the door for an economic resurgence that we are now witnessing.
“Unemployment is at historic lows. Just yesterday, we saw that new hires hit the highest level in 17 years.
“Wages are growing. Workers are seeing more money in their paychecks. All of this fuels more confidence and it fuels more economic growth.
“We’re encouraging people to come off the sidelines and join the workforce.
“We are making communities safer and stronger as well.
“We have put unprecedented resources toward fighting the opioid epidemic from all sides.
“We have worked to end human trafficking. We have worked to end—the target of human trafficking because this is modern slavery in the 21st century.
“We are targeting dangerous criminals, we’re making schools safer.
“And, after years of being hollowed out, our military is finally getting the resources that it needs to rebuild itself.
“This also means recognizing the sacrifice of service: from giving our troops the biggest pay raise they’ve received in over nine years, to giving our veterans better care through the much-needed VA reforms that are now the law of the land.
“More work remains, and we will continue to work on our agenda, to help get people on a better path, on the path of their lives, so that they can reach their destinies.
“The American people are better off now. And we have a good reason to be optimistic that better days are ahead.
“So I’m pleased to be able to say, just go to better.gop and learn more.
“You’ve heard us talk about this website before—it was when we were proposing these ideas. Now that these ideas are the law of the land, we are seeing the results of these ideas.
“The country is better off, people are better off. Go to better.gop.”
WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court:
“Those who sit on the Supreme Court play a vital role in our democracy: They interpret the law and act as the final arbiter of the U.S. Constitution—even against the other branches of government. Adherence to the text of laws and the words of the Constitution serves as the check on this extraordinary power. President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh shows his commitment to selecting judges who are themselves committed to this restraint. Judge Kavanaugh will bring extensive experience to the Supreme Court; his long career exemplifies public service and, in particular, dedication to religious liberty. He has shown that Constitutional principles are the ultimate guide for his opinions. I look forward to Judge Kavanaugh’s swift confirmation in the Senate. This is an excellent choice.”
The Fourth of July is about the very Idea of America.
We forget this sometimes. America wasn’t founded on a government, or a political system. All of that came much later.
It began with this beautiful idea, that our rights come from God. It began with this idea of a society based on these natural rights, on liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination.
It is our duty to preserve this idea—this Great Experiment—and just as important, to preserve the spirit in which it was conceived.
That sacred pledge made on this day, they made it to each other. Everything depended on that. Everything after—every success, every sacrifice—came from that common cause.
Tocqueville thought this was the genius of our country. “Americans of all ages, all conditions, all minds constantly unite,” he wrote.
Every day, we unite in some small way. We forget this too.
We give back in our communities, we look for ways to solve problems, we look out for neighbors in need. Those things—civility and civil society—they are what connect us to one another. And by doing our part—whatever it may be—we keep this great experiment going.
So, celebrate America today. Fire up the grill. Light up the sky.
And conjure up the Spirit of ’76, too. It is an awesome, awesome thing.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today named additional members to the House-Senate conference committee for the National Defense Authorization Act. Last week, Speaker Ryan named the Armed Services Committee members who will serve on the panel.
“The defense bill is always critical, but even more so now as we work to rebuild our nation's military,” Speaker Ryan said. “These lawmakers will help ensure that we keep the promises we have made to the men and women of our armed forces."
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
House Budget Committee
House Education and the Workforce Committee
House Energy and Commerce Committee
House Financial Services Committee
House Foreign Affairs Committee
House Homeland Security Committee
House Judiciary Committee
House Natural Resources Committee
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
House Small Business Committee
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee
House Ways and Means Committee
Working in Congress, it’s easy to get caught up in the noise—the headlines, the Facebook comments, the tweets. But what's often overlooked are all of the stories—both uplifting and heartbreaking—that we witness: the mother who gives her time helping others after both of her sons battled an opioid addiction; the factory worker who is able to send his child to summer camp thanks to his tax reform bonus; the leader who returns to his position on the House floor and the baseball diamond.
Every person has a story to share, and we are humbled to be able to hear them every day. Here are eight noteworthy stories we witnessed during the month of June:
1. Whip Scalise – For Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), this year’s Congressional Baseball Game was especially meaningful. One year after being shot at baseball practice, Whip Scalise started the game at second base. Prior to the start, Speaker Ryan celebrates the Whip’s return.
2. American Manufacturers – American manufacturers are already seeing the benefits of tax reform—and it’s only been six months. Jamison Door in Hagerstown, Maryland has given its workers bonuses and initiated plans for expansion. At an event marking the six-month anniversary of the House’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Speaker Ryan highlights their story, as well as those of other local manufacturers.
3. Our Office Interns – For many college students, internships are an opportunity to get a glimpse into a possible career path. The same goes for our office interns. Speaker Ryan sits down with his first group of summer interns to hear about their experiences working in the office and learn more about their career goals.
4. Rep. Sam Johnson – A former Prisoner of War and dedicated public servant, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) is a hero to many in these halls and around the country. Speaker Ryan formally accepts the portrait of Rep. Johnson, from his time as Interim Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, into the House’s Portrait Collection.
5. Firefighters – Firefighters put their lives on the line each and every day. Smoke inhalation and other hazards encountered on the job take a toll on the health of these first responders. Speaker Ryan signs Rep. Chris Collins’ (R-NY) bill to aid researchers in the study of these hazards, sending it to the White House to become law.
6. Lives Affected by Opioids – From a former high school athlete who was prescribed opioids following a simple sport injury to a single parent whose addiction escalated to heroin use, the opioid epidemic is taking the lives of 115 Americans each day. Speaker Ryan and House Republicans hold a press conference highlighting the faces of this epidemic, and what Congress is doing to fight it.
7. Red Hawks – Miami University students participating in the school’s Inside Washington program spend the semester test-driving various careers and participating in discussions with alumni in the DC area. A Red Hawk himself, Speaker Ryan meets with the summer session students for a discussion on current events.
8. Southeastern Wisconsin Community – The Badger State is a great place to do business. Foxconn’s new facility in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin will help bring jobs and opportunities to local families. Speaker Ryan joins President Trump, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou, and Christopher Murdock (the first Wisconsin Foxconn employee) for the facility’s groundbreaking ceremony.
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead
Filing taxes just got a little less taxing. The Treasury Department today unveiled the new return for 2019—a form the size of a postcard, as promised.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed six months ago nearly doubled the standard deduction, meaning fewer Americans will need to itemize. The new return consolidates the personal information section of the form on the front, and includes the lines used most frequently by Americans all on the back so that the lion’s share of taxpayers won’t need anything beyond this form.
For those who do need to itemize, any additional sheets are topic-specific so taxpayers can easily choose the one they need.
And for those not filling out the form by hand, don’t worry: This new system streamlines online filing as well. We set out to make this system less complicated across the board.
From start to finish, tax reform was all about creating a less burdensome code that worked for American taxpayers. In the six months since tax reform was enacted, workers have been able to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. That’s a meaningful difference for working families who needed a boost to get ahead.
It’s about unlocking economic opportunity—which is why it lowered rates and doubled the child tax credit, among other things—but it’s also about returning to simplicity. We could all use a little more of that.
Just over 180 days. Six short months. That’s how long it has been since the biggest overhaul of our tax code in a generation was signed by the president—and the time it took for the new tax code to revitalize the economy and put working families on the path to prosperity.
Tax reform has unlocked a wave of economic momentum. In the six months since, wages have grown, confidence has skyrocketed, jobs have been created, unemployment has declined.
These six figures show this momentum is not slowing down:
With these kind of results, there’s no telling what good news the next six months will bring.
Today, the House will vote on one of the most important defense funding bills in recent memory. The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which passed out of committee with an overwhelming bipartisan vote, raises overall military funding to $674.6 billion. With this bill, the House is keeping our promise to build a 21st century military worthy of the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve.
Here are eight reasons this bill is so important:
It provides the biggest pay raise for our service members in nine years. This defense bill takes care of our men and women in uniform—both the more than 1.3 million active-duty troops and the more than 817,000 Guard and Reserve members. It gives service members a 2.6 percent pay raise—the largest in nine years.
It takes care of our service members and their families. The bill provides $34.4 billion in funding for the Defense Health Program so that troops, military families, and retirees can receive the care they need. This includes funding for cancer research, psychological health research, and sexual assault prevention and response.
It addresses our military readiness crisis. Over five years, aviation accidents cost us 133 American lives, part of a significant and deadly readiness crisis throughout the military. To reverse this grave trend, this bill makes investments—nearly $246 billion—in training, maintenance, and other military readiness programs. We’re taking steps to make sure more lives aren’t lost because of outdated, subpar equipment. It started with last year’s funding bill, and this year’s bill continues that commitment.
It upgrades our military equipment. This bill spends more than $145 billion to upgrade and secure military equipment across all branches of the military—including helping replenish the Naval fleet and procure new vehicles, aircraft, and helicopters.
It supports counterterrorism efforts. We still face very real and serious global threats, and we need to ensure our military can continue current operations against these terrorist organizations. This bill puts $68.1 billion specifically toward those efforts, including funding for personnel, facilities, and equipment. It also provides support for our allies in these critical fights.
It modernizes our military for the 21st century. Warfare, and the global landscape, is always changing. This bill will help our military stay at the cutting edge of technology and weaponry by allocating more than $92 billion for research, development, and evaluation of new defense systems.
It ensures taxpayer money is spent responsibly. By streamlining needless spending, this bill responsibly uses taxpayer money and ensures our troops are supported by an agile, efficient Pentagon.
It continues Congress’ efforts to rebuild our military. Congress has made fortifying our military a top priority. After years of being hollowed out, the military has finally started to receive the resources it needs to rebuild. Beginning with last year’s defense spending bill, and then continuing with this year’s budget agreement and spending bills, Congress has remained committed to shoring up our defense.
As Speaker Ryan said earlier this week, “We want the men and women who wear our uniform to always, always have what they need to fulfill their missions, and to take care of their families. So we are keeping promises that we have made.”
WASHINGTON—On Thursday, July 12, The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. will host House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) for an address on the economy and why America is #BetterOffNow. He will discuss how policies enacted this Congress have helped revitalize the nation’s economy and forever altered the economic trajectory of the country, and he will look ahead to remaining obstacles to productivity and prosperity in America. Following his remarks, Economic Club President David Rubenstein will moderate a conversation with Speaker Ryan on the subject.
#BetterOffNow: Remarks by Speaker Ryan on Our Revitalized Economy, followed by a conversation with The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. President David Rubenstein
Thursday, July 12 at 8:30 a.m. ET
Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C.
MEDIA: This event is open press. All media who wish to attend must RSVP to email@example.com. Media should expect to receive additional logistical information the week of the event.
WATCH LIVE: Tune in for Speaker Ryan’s remarks and conversation with David Rubenstein on speaker.gov/live.
LEARN MORE about how Americans are #BetterOffNow on better.gop.
WASHINGTON—Today, the House moved forward on a funding package for Veterans Affairs and infrastructure priorities, voting to initiate a conference committee with the Senate to produce a final measure.
This legislation, H.R. 5895, provides funding for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water, and the Legislative Branch. The House passed its version of the measure earlier this month, and the Senate followed suit earlier this week.
“This funding package will help deliver better care and better services for our veterans and military families,” Speaker Ryan said. “It will help grow our economy with critical investments in our water and power infrastructure. We address these priorities at responsible funding levels, fulfilling one of our most important obligations to the taxpayer. We look forward to getting this done for the American people.”
On Wednesday, Speaker Ryan met with Appropriations Committee lawmakers he has named to the conference committee. The full list includes:
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today named Republican lawmakers from the House Armed Services Committee to the House-Senate conference committee for the National Defense Authorization Act. In March, the House passed its version of the national defense bill, and the Senate followed suit last week.
“After years of our armed forces being hollowed out, we are on the road to rebuilding America’s military,” Speaker Ryan said. “This defense bill is about keeping the fundamental promises we have made to our service members and their families. These lawmakers devote so much of their time and energy to working with our military, and I look forward to the final legislation that they produce.”
House Armed Services Committee
1. Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
2. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
3. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
4. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
5. Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH)
6. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
7. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
8. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)
9. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
10. Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA)
11. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
12. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
13. Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA)
14. Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA)
15. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL)
16. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
17. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)
18. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN)
Additionally, Speaker Ryan has appointed lawmakers from outside committees to take part in House-Senate negotiations on the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, which addresses reforms to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Energy and Commerce Committee
1. Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)
2. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)
Foreign Affairs Committee
1. Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA)
2. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
Financial Services Committee
1. Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
2. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)
Additional lawmakers from outside committees will be named to the NDAA conference committee next month.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement after Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement:
“In his decades of faithful service on the bench, Justice Kennedy has always been a man of integrity and decency. He has earned the respect of the House and the American people. I look forward to the president nominating an eminently qualified successor who will be dedicated to upholding the Constitution.”
WASHINGTON—Testifying today before the Joint Select Committee on Budget & Appropriations Process Reform, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) urged lawmakers to advance reforms that will enhance oversight and accountability over the way taxpayer dollars are spent. This bipartisan, House-Senate panel, established by the Bipartisan Budget Act, is required to hold public hearings, and vote on its findings and legislative recommendations no later than November 30, 2018.
Following is Speaker Ryan's prepared testimony, which was submitted into the record:
Thank you, Co-Chair Womack and Co-Chair Lowey. I very much appreciate the opportunity to address this committee.
In some way, it brings me back to my own days chairing budget reform hearings.
Of course, this panel has a much bigger, and more urgent, task. As things stand, we are simply falling well short. We continue to fail the taxpayer, but worse, we continue to set ourselves up to fail.
It is clearly time for a new approach.
I testify today as someone who has been on both ends of this process. As Budget Chairman, I recognized, and often lamented, that the budget process was broken. Not until I became Speaker did I realize just how broken the process truly was.
Whenever there is a new Speaker, there are hopes for a better process. Members clamor for more influence and more input. Given my committee background, I have certainly shared, and worked to implement, this imperative. On any number of legislative priorities, from tax reform to the farm bill to the highway bill, committees take the lead on major legislation, and see it through.
The budget and appropriations process begins with the same good intentions, if not the best foundation. The timeline is always tight, even under the best of circumstances, leaving little to no room for detours.
Invariably, the process seizes up, and not long after, falls apart. As the clock ticks down, the final decisions are kicked up to leadership, which kicks back a final measure that members find unsatisfactory.
Even ‘organized chaos’ would be too generous a description of all of this.
To me, all these omnibuses and continuing resolutions are little more than local anesthetics. The pain goes away, but the problem does not. It just feeds on itself, fueling pessimism on all sides. Members become less engaged, and the public becomes more disenchanted.
With each stumble, we are handing over more spending decisions to the executive branch. We are squandering our oversight duties as an institution. We are abdicating one of our most fundamental constitutional responsibilities: the power of the purse.
As an unapologetic optimist, I believe we can solve any tough problem, even this one. The reforms we need are bold, but they are right in front of us. We have been debating them for years, decades even.
We may not be able to change the deadlines, but we can change the calendar. Look at what we are doing right now, trying to get an entire appropriations process done in a span of--what--four months?
Biennial budgeting offers a path to rewriting the process, not just reforming it. It makes budgeting an ongoing process instead of all these demoralizing fits and starts. It brings renewed transparency and accountability, setting us up to be better stewards of taxpayer dollars.
These proposals have taken a number of forms over the years. In multiple Congresses, I introduced the Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act.
One recent proposal, offered by Chairman Enzi, calls for a budget resolution that covers both years, with half of the appropriations measures considered in the first session, and half in the second session. I strongly support this idea.
If properly implemented, this will empower members to do a deeper dive on the most troublesome issues and enhance their ability to oversee the executive branch. It will reinvigorate member participation in the budget and appropriations process.
It will enhance the importance of reconciliation, which is absolutely critical to addressing mandatory spending and the major drivers of our debt.
We know from recent history--from the budget accord Sen. Patty Murray and I reached in 2013 to the one Congress enacted earlier this year--that two years is about the timespan for congressional agreements on discretionary spending. So let’s make this our standard practice.
Now I know that, no matter how good the idea is, there are always real obstacles to implementing reforms. But there is no substitute for political will in solving our structural budget problems. This panel was given a mandate to produce recommendations, and it is comprised of leaders from the committees of jurisdiction.
I would also note that it is extraordinary—quite possibly unprecedented—to have both the Speaker and the Minority Leader testify before the same committee on the same day. This should serve as a signal of how seriously we take your work.
Consider the stakes here. Last fall, the House passed all 12 appropriations bills on time—the first time we had done that since 2009. But the last time both the House and the Senate passed all 12 bills on time was in 1994. Only 12 percent of the current members were here for that. I was a think-tank staffer at the time.
A generation of the people’s representatives have become accustomed to, if not acclimated to, a failed budget process.
This has to change, and soon. That is why I urge this committee to reach a bipartisan consensus, and submit recommendations to the full Congress.
Do not underestimate your ability to move this dialogue forward. Do not underestimate your capacity to lay the groundwork for long-term reforms. Do not squander this opportunity to advance one of the single biggest things we can do for the American taxpayer.
I stand ready to assist this panel in any way I can.
Thank you for taking on this task.
Summary: Today, Speaker Ryan spoke about the defense funding bill the House will consider this week, which gives our service members their largest pay raise in nine years, provides for training and equipment, and gives our military the resources needed to confront new challenges.
“As you also know, we just hit the six-month milestone after tax reform—and I’m sure that’s mostly what you’re reporting on these days.
“I just want to say just how far we’ve come in a brief period of time.
“Wages are rising, unemployment remains low, people are feeling confident again.
“It is just what the majority leader said: The kind of economic turnaround that we have seen since tax reform exceeded our expectations, and we’ve been working on this issue for decades.
“After tax reform, our top priority was to rebuild our military.
“One of the chief architects of rebuilding our military is Chairwoman Kay Granger.
“We needed to address a very serious readiness crisis in this country that was costing us American lives.
“We were able to secure the biggest funding increase in defense spending in 15 years.
“With this defense funding bill, we are putting these promises into action. We are starting a new era for our military.
“This bill invests in training. It invests in equipment.
“It provides funding for modern systems so that our military is best equipped for the challenges we face in 21st-century warfare. New challenges—tough challenges.
“This is about ensuring that our Armed Forces, after years of being hollowed out, can operate on the cutting edge, with agility and efficiency.
“And this defense bill gives our service members their biggest pay raise in nine years.
“What our troops do is nothing short of remarkable. They have our greatest admiration. And this raise is well-deserved.
“We want the men and women who wear our uniform to always, always have what they need to fulfill their missions, and to take care of their families.
“So we are keeping promises that we have made.
“We are doing in office what we said we would do in the campaign in 2016.
“Through our policies, whether it’s bolstering our economy or strengthening our defense, we are reinforcing America’s leadership in the world.”
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
The Speaker acts as leader of the House and combines several roles: the institutional role of presiding officer and administrative head of the House, the partisan role of leader of the majority party in the House, and the representative role of an elected Member of the House. By statute, the Speaker is also second in line, behind the Vice President, to succeed to the presidency.
The Speaker presides over the House, administering the oath of office to Members, calling the House to order, and preserving order and decorum within the Chamber and in the galleries. Additionally, he appoints the chairmen to preside over the Committee of the Whole, appoints special or select committees, appoints conference committees, has the power of recognition of Members to speak, and makes many important rulings and decisions in the House. The Speaker may vote, but usually does not, except in the case of a tie. The Speaker and the Majority Leader determine the legislative agenda for the House, and often confer with the President and the Senate.