WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today issued the following statement on the farm bill agreement reached by the House and Senate:
“Rural America is at the heart of our way of life. Our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities count on agriculture policy that delivers certainty and support, and this farm bill achieves that goal. This bill strengthens work requirements for our federal nutrition benefit programs, and uses savings to better train and equip our workforce—reforms we have long sought to help more Americans move from welfare to work. Now we need to build on this, which is why it is important that this bill ensures Secretary Perdue can continue his work on this critical issue.
“This bill will also help keep communities safe by reducing catastrophic wildfire risk and will provide more timber management tools at the state, county, and tribal levels. I am thankful to Chairman Conaway and the members of the House Committee on Agriculture for all the work they have put into this legislation. This is a good day for American producers and families.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement thanking General Kelly for his service as White House chief of staff, following the announcement of his departure:
“John Kelly is a patriot. Service to America is part of his DNA, and our country is better for his duty at the White House. During this time he has become a dear friend and trusted partner. He was a force for order, clarity, and good sense. He is departing what is often a thankless job, but John Kelly has my eternal gratitude.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the nomination of Heather Nauert to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations:
“President Trump has made an excellent selection by nominating Heather Nauert to be U.N. ambassador. As one of the United States’ strongest voices on the global stage, Heather will seamlessly transition to the country’s top diplomat at the U.N. Janna and I have known and respected Heather for many years, and we look forward to all that she will accomplish at the U.N. as an advocate for freedom, liberty, and human rights.”
WASHINGTON—This evening, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) participated in the annual Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the West Front Lawn. He was joined in lighting the 80-foot Noble Fir from the Willamette National Forest by 9-year-old Oregonian Brigette Harrington, who earned the role by winning a poem contest. The tree will be lit from nightfall until 11 p.m. each evening through January 1, 2019.
Below are the speaker’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“What a beautiful tree.
“What a beautiful occasion.
“I want to thank everyone who had a hand in pulling all of this together.
“I know it is no small task, especially when the tree comes all the way from Oregon.
“I want to thank my colleagues in the Oregon delegation: Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader, and Greg Walden. And especially Peter DeFazio, for sharing a piece of his district with us.
“This is my fourth and final time leading this event and each time the tree is more stunning.
“I will say though, we have some pretty nice trees in Wisconsin, too… keep that in mind one of these years.
“But this beautiful noble fir made a long journey, stopping in communities all across the country, so that people could share in this wonderful tradition.
“What a tremendous way to come together.
“This week, our nation mourns the loss of a giant.
“And while his loss is a great sorrow, George H.W. Bush was also a beacon of joy.
“A few days after one of his granddaughters was born, President Bush wrote her a letter.
“He ends the letter by saying how you can do all these incredible things in life, but ‘even with all that,’ he writes, ‘what counts is family and love.’
“Now, he didn’t necessarily write that about Christmas, but is there anything that better captures its spirit…its light?
“We celebrate Christmas year after year and somehow it never becomes less special.
“A season dedicated to wonder and faith.
“We take our joy at the birth of a savior, heralded by angels, and we spread that joy to those in our lives.
“We could all use a little more of that.
“Sometimes, our best blessings are hidden.
“My favorite Christmas movie is ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ It captures this idea so well.
“I watch it every year. It’s in black-and-white, so part of the tradition involves trying to convince my kids to watch it with me.
“In the movie, George Bailey despairs he has fallen short in life. He goes so far as to imagine the world would be better off without him.
“Only when an angel comes to him and reveals how much he is loved, how much he is worth—only then does he realize that he truly has a wonderful life.
“We all have angels in our own lives who remind us of our blessings.
“There is so much good, so much joy, so much compassion around us, and we simply fail to see it.
“It’s there, but hidden.
“All it needs is just a few points of light.
“So in a moment, we will light this tree.
“We always try to bring in an expert to help us out with this.
“This year, it’s Brigette Harrington from Hillsboro.
“Brigette won a contest with her poem about Oregon’s outdoors and what they mean to her.
“I’ve asked her to share a few lines.”
“Now, it’s time for us to light this tree. Brigette, let’s give them a countdown… five…”
WASHINGTON—At a ceremony in the Capitol on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presented the John W. McCormack Award of Excellence to longtime House staffers Hugh Halpern, Bernie Raimo, and Austin Smythe. The award, named after Speaker John McCormack of Massachusetts, was created in 1970 to recognize long-time employees of the House of Representatives who have displayed dedication and bipartisanship.
Halpern is director of floor operations for the Office of the Speaker. Raimo is counsel for the Office of the Democratic Leader. Smythe is policy director for the Office of the Speaker.
Following are excerpts from Speaker Ryan’s remarks at today’s ceremony, as prepared for delivery:
President George Herbert Walker Bush became just the 12th president to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda yesterday—a solemn honor that brought his family, members of Congress, the Supreme Court, and military leaders together like no other service could. At 94 years of age and with 17 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, he lived a full life of service: to others and to his country. As Speaker Ryan said in his eulogy, President Bush was "a great leader and a good man...his memory will belong to glory."
1. The Bush family, Vice President and Second Lady Pence, and Speaker and Mrs. Ryan stand in respect as President Bush's casket enters the Capitol Rotunda.
2. Speaker Ryan offers his condolences to President George W. Bush.
3. America's military and political leaders bow their heads in prayer in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
4. President Bush's flag-draped casket sits atop a wooden box known as a catafalque—the same one that President Lincoln laid upon during his state funeral.
5. From high above in the Rotunda, a bird's eye view shows a steady stream of visitors who have traveled from all corners of the country to pay their last respects to President George Herbert Walker Bush. May God bless him.
George Herbert Walker Bush was a great leader and a good man. His memory will belong to glory. God bless the 41st president of the United States. pic.twitter.com/jRTuTlH2eM— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) December 3, 2018
WASHINGTON—Today, President George H.W. Bush was honored in a service at the United States Capitol. The ceremony marked the arrival of his casket to the Capitol Rotunda, where the late president will lie in state until Wednesday. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke to recognize President Bush’s legacy of service, strength of character, and the indelible mark he left on our nation’s history.
Speaker Ryan’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are as follows:
As Americans, we have no more solemn duty than laying a great patriot to rest.
Here lies a great man.
To the Bush family:
On behalf of the whole House—Republicans and Democrats—we are profoundly sorry for your loss. And we are honored to celebrate this wonderful life with you.
Like so many, I feel a personal debt of gratitude today. The 1988 campaign was the first one I was involved in.
We handed out literature at the Janesville Craig Cougars ball games.
I remember going to this big rally on the Miami of Ohio campus the day after the first debate. The whole experience really drew me into politics.
He was the first president I had the chance to vote for.
And he was the first president to teach me that in a democracy sometimes you fall short. And that how you handle that is just as important as how you win.
An old preacher once said:
“Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.”
Glory is transcendent in the life of our republic. This Rotunda is a trumpet call to glory, tributes to the giants all the way up to the sky.
Grace is different, more elemental. It is not larger than life; it is the stuff of life—the connective tissue in a free society. It deepens the well of our common humanity.
Throughout his life of service, President Bush personified grace. His character was second to none.
He reached the heights of power with uncommon humility.
He made monumental contributions to freedom with a fundamental decency that resonates across generations.
No one better harmonized the joy of life and the duty of life.
There is that indelible image of him as commander-in-chief during the Gulf War waving to a sea of troops during a visit over Thanksgiving.
There are the images of him as a devoted husband—that twinkle in his eye Barbara always brought out—especially in those big family photos in Kennebunkport.
There is the image of him as a loving father reaching out to hold his son’s hand at the National Cathedral after 9/11.
And there is the letter he wrote to his children on the last day of 1990, as he wrestled with the decision over Operation Desert Storm.
He begins by recounting the family Christmas, and apologizes if he seemed distracted.
“I tried not to be,” he writes.
Then, for about a page, he elaborates on his struggle over sending young Americans into harm's way.
Twice in the letter, he writes that “every human life is precious.”
On the original copy, he adds by hand a note wishing the family a happy new year.
In consequential times, George Herbert Walker Bush demonstrated the finest qualities of our Nation and humankind.
A great leader and a good man.
A gentle soul of sturdy resolve.
He showed us that how we live is as important as what we achieve.
His life was a hymn of honor.
His legacy is grace perfected.
His memory will belong to glory.
God bless the 41st president of the United States.
The late President George H.W. Bush will lie in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda from today through Wednesday morning. At 5:00 p.m. ET, the Bush family and friends, the vice president, members of Congress, and members of the administration will gather for a service honoring President Bush. At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Rotunda will open to members of the public so they may pay their respects.
The Capitol service will include eulogies by the vice president, speaker, and Senate majority leader. Congressional leadership and the vice president will participate in the laying of wreaths.
President Bush lived an exemplary life of service to this country. The last president to serve in combat, he served as a pilot in the United States Navy in World War II, flying more than 50 combat missions and earning a Distinguished Flying Cross. He spent decades as a public servant, beginning in the House of Representatives and serving as ambassador to the United Nations, envoy to China, director of Central Intelligence, and vice president. He was the dedicated husband of 73 years to the late First Lady Barbara Bush and the patriarch of the Bush family.
Lying in state is a rare honor authorized by Congress and given to those who have devoted their lives to military or public service to our nation. Just 27 individuals have lain in state or in honor in the Capitol, with the most recent being late Senator John McCain following his passing earlier this year. Congress has also honored the unknown soldiers of World War I, World War II and the Korean War, and of the Vietnam Era. President Bush’s casket will lay upon the catafalque constructed in 1865 to support that of President Abraham Lincoln as he laid in state in the Rotunda.
WATCH: The Capitol service and public viewing will be live on speaker.gov/live beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today announced that the late President George H.W. Bush will lie in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda.
A bicameral arrival ceremony will be held for President Bush on Monday, December 3 at 5:00 p.m. ET.
The public is invited to pay their respects from Monday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. ET until Wednesday, December 5, at 7:00 a.m. ET.
The Bush family will provide additional details regarding arrangements beyond the Capitol ceremony.
WASHINGTON—This morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement:
“George H.W. Bush was a man for all seasons. He was great in his impact, making the world safer and freer. He was great in his character, leading with decency and integrity. A war hero and statesman, the country is inspired by his example.
“Like so many Americans, I admired President Bush not only for how he served, but for how he lived. He took pride in being a family man. The affection he showed for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren was so endearing. His 73 years of marriage to Barbara marks a long and beautiful love story.
“President Bush best demonstrated the qualities he once described as ‘those little touches of grace and affection and humor that make life sing.’ His life was a hymn of honor.
“It was in the people’s House where he began his time in public office. In our sadness today, we express our deepest condolences to the Bush family. We give thanks to God for the life of this patriot.”
WASHINGTON—This afternoon, in remarks on the House floor, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) thanked the people of Wisconsin’s First District and paid tribute to members of his Wisconsin staff for their dedication.
His remarks are available in full here and below:
My colleagues, I rise today to express profound gratitude to the people of the First District of Wisconsin.
Any time I get to swear in a new member, like we just did, it brings me back to the time when I was first sworn in here in 1998.
I remember just being awestruck the first time I walked down that center aisle. That feeling just never goes away. I still feel it when I walk onto the floor, each and every time.
I am immensely grateful to the people of Southern Wisconsin for their trust and their confidence.
I have always had this thing about calling the people I represent not my constituents but my ‘employers.’
It’s the way I’ve always thought of this, and I think it’s important that we as members understand that we work for the people and not the other way around, that we are in this to make a difference for them.
We work every day to keep that obligation, especially, actually, when it comes to constituent service. It is the lifeblood of the work we do here as representatives.
And it’s something that goes unreported, but it is extremely important, extremely valuable, and very gratifying.
Any success that we have had is really, in my case, due to our humble and our hard-working staff.
I have had the chance to work for, and to work with, the very best people, I really have.
Before I was a member, I was a part of the legion of Hill staffers. I was a staffer here before I got elected as a member. I started as an intern in the mail room, and I worked my way on up: legislative correspondent, legislative assistant, legislative director, chief of staff—all of those things.
And I figured I knew everything about these jobs, all the long hours and all the sacrifices.
But nothing can truly prepare you for having people willing to help you in such a big undertaking on the front lines.
And so I am profoundly grateful for the dedicated public servants who have helped us serve the people, my employers, of the First Congressional District.
I want to thank the members of our team who have stayed with us to the very end.
I want to thank Rebekah Cullum, Jordan Dunn, Brandon Farnsworth, Megan Wagner, Laura Wiley.
I want to thank Allison Steil, our deputy chief of staff who’s been with us for 10 years.
I want to thank Tricia Stoneking, our director of scheduling and office operations, who’s been with us for 15 years.
I want to especially thank the members of our team who have been with us from the very beginning, from the start. We call ‘em the ‘lifers.’
Danyell Tremmel, my chief of staff. Chad Herbert, director of military and veterans services.
Chad—he’s a hunter, he’s a veteran. Danyell is just—she came from my predecessor, she knows every nook and cranny of the federal government, how to help constituents navigate their problems. Chad has helped countless veterans. He knows the veterans system so well, and he’s done so much good for the veterans of Southern Wisconsin.
Susie Liston, our district director. She has one of the most pleasant and happy demeanors. You can get a lot of angry constituents walking into a district office. She handles them better than anyone I have ever known.
Teresa Mora, director of outreach. Teresa has run my bilingual services, she has helped me with all my Hispanic, bilingual town hall meetings, she has done a spectacular job of doing constituent outreach throughout my district.
Joyce Meyer—many of you know Joyce. She was my first legislative director.
Andy Speth. Started off as my district director, then my longtime chief of staff—my silent partner. Andy and I met in sixth-grade basketball camp at St. Paul Lutheran School, where he went, where his kids go, and we have been friends ever since. We went to high school together. When I moved home to run for Congress, he was the guy who helped me. He’s been my partner in this venture all along, and I am so grateful for his friendship, I am so grateful for his partnership.
I also am just grateful for the people of Janesville, Racine, Kenosha, Oak Creek, Elkhorn, Lake Geneva, Walworth County, Racine County, Kenosha County, Rock County, Waukesha County, everyone in between.
Since becoming speaker of the House, which was not something that we’re used to in Wisconsin—I’m the only one who’s done that—I appreciate the indulgence of the people I work for who indulged the fact that I had other responsibilities in addition.
And when I took on these additional responsibilities, the people of our staff really stepped up. And really helped serve our constituents, so that they continued to enjoy those flawless constituent services.
I am just so grateful for these people in my life.
I am so grateful that they were able to serve the people of Southern Wisconsin so well.
And I am absolutely grateful to the people of Southern Wisconsin for entrusting me as their representative.
Thank you and I yield.
Today, Speaker Ryan sat down for an extended conversation with The Washington Post’s Paul Kane to discuss his legislative legacy and what he’s most proud of over his two decades in Congress.
Watch the full discussion here and check out the excerpts below:
Speaker Ryan: “I like to think that I took the opportunity I was given and made a positive difference in people’s lives. . . .I’m proud of the fact that the House since I was Budget Chair, every year, every session, has passed a budget that shows how we would balance the budget and how we would pay off the debt. . . .And then on the poverty issues. People don’t really report this too much but social impact bonds, opportunity zones, I think our members have gotten more attuned to this issue. It’s the stuff that Bob Woodson and I preach about. It’s the stuff I learned from Jack Kemp. Evidence-based policymaking, we’ve made a really good impact on that. And then there are just certain things, like rebuilding the military and the tax system. Those are policy achievements I’m proudest of.”
Speaker Ryan: “I think history is going to be very good to this majority. Why? The tax system was atrocious. I spent my adult life working on tax reform. Ever since I did it with Jack Kemp, working on the issue. We really did have the worst tax system in the industrialized world, and it was hollowing out American competitiveness. We have now put underneath the economy a far, far stronger foundation for a healthy economy and growth because of that. I was extremely worried about our national security posture, meaning our military. We have now put underneath that a much stronger foundation. What I have been saying to my staff all along, and our members, is our job in the majority is to improve the health and the antibodies of the American economy, of the American system. So what we were aiming to do was strengthen America’s resilience, America’s health, America’s antibodies…So whatever comes our way, we are stronger and better prepared for those things. I really believe that we have done that in this last two-year session. So there are so many things that we’ve done. I was working on enterprise zones when I was 23 years old. It’s the law of the land now. We call them opportunity zones. I’m so excited about so many of the things we’ve done.”
Speaker Ryan: “Take a look at this session we’re completing. We will have passed over a thousand bills out of the House. That is a record pace. You haven’t seen a pace like that since the early 1980s…It doesn’t get a lot of play, but that’s what I would call ‘governing.’ For the first time in 22 years, 75 percent of all discretionary spending is done, it’s passed, it’s in law, it’s on time, ahead of the fiscal year deadline. You know these things. So, I’d say we became a pretty good governing party.”
WASHINGTON—Today, in an award ceremony at The Pentagon, Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis honored House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. The award, which is the highest award given to civilians by the Department, recognizes Speaker Ryan’s commitment to the men and women who serve in the United States Military.
His remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:
Thank you, Mr. Secretary. This is truly a great and unexpected honor.
Permit me, Mr. Secretary, to express what a privilege it has been to work alongside you for the last two years.
I certainly share in the American people’s admiration for your service to our country.
As fortunate as I feel at this moment, I am simply a temporary steward of a solemn obligation.
The role that America plays in the world is so vital and so indispensable.
Nothing and no one—especially politics—should get in the way of making sure our servicemembers have what they need to sustain this great cause.
I am gratified that my colleagues and I could do our small part to fulfill this duty on behalf of the American people.
I want to especially thank Chairman Mac Thornberry and the members of our Armed Services Committee.
Without their vigilance, we would not have been able to achieve this breakthrough.
We see the two-year budget agreement as a first step in rebuilding our military. Now this work must continue, and I am confident it will.
Last month, I had the opportunity to visit our servicemembers in Afghanistan. It was the one thing I really wanted to do before leaving office.
No matter how many times I have done this, in no matter how many theatres, it is no less rewarding.
And it is personal, too.
Like any civilian, I treasure the servicemembers I have crossed paths with in my life.
One of the buddies I lived with in college is a Navy SEAL. My hunting buddy is a Green Beret. My close college friend is an Army engineer. And my childhood friend is the commanding general of the 101st Airborne.
There are many others, especially those I have had the privilege to represent who hail from Southern Wisconsin.
In faith, from the district I serve, nearly two dozen have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But what I see in these patriots who have served since 9/11 is our next great generation.
You know, here at home, we see all these little tears in our social fabric, all these threads being pulled at. The biggest fights over the smallest things.
But over there, in the middle of the desert, these men and women—many on multiple deployments—collaborate in a common pursuit under constant strain.
And all they want to talk about is the difference they are making, the good that they are doing.
Their bonds of trust with one another—it is all second nature to them.
For me, it was just this infusion of hope and perspective, this reaffirmation of humanity.
We are all heirs to a bigger story, a larger cause—a miracle, really.
And we can all do our small part to preserve and protect that…and to look out for one another.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for this great honor.
Thank you to all who serve, and to your families.
And God bless our great country.
Summary: At today’s House Republican leadership press conference, Speaker Ryan spoke about the number of historic legislative initiatives accomplished on behalf of the American people by this Congress. He also previewed some items Republicans are continuing to work on, including the farm bill and criminal justice reform.
“It’s good to see all of you. So I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.
“We’re coming up on the close of one of the most productive Congresses in recent memory.
“Two years ago, we took a hard look at what was holding our communities back, and we came up with very thoughtful policy solutions.
“Those policies have delivered results.
“There may be no better example than historic tax reform.
“Week after week, we’ve told stories of economic resurgence that this country has experienced.
“It goes beyond the economy, too.
“Years of work went into legislation to bring true reforms to the veterans’ administration—to veterans’ health care.
“We passed policies to secure new opportunities, including overhauling the career and technical education system, so that we can close that skills gap, and get people to the careers that they want to get.
“We’re back on the path to rebuilding our military.
“This year, we’ve already funded 75 percent of government. That means funding for the military, for veterans, for health, for labor, for education programs, to name a few, are already in place—the most that has been done on time, before the deadline, in 22 years.
“So, we have accomplished quite a bit.
“And our nation is very much the better for it. Our nation is safer, our nation is stronger for it.
“We have an opportunity in the next coming weeks to get a few more things done. To get some good things done.
“We want to reform our criminal justice system to give people another shot at contributing to their communities.
“We’re still working on a farm bill. We’re getting very close on the farm bill.
“We’ve got bipartisan initiatives to build on the success of tax reform.
“These are outstanding issues. And of course, as you can see, we want to secure our border.
“It’s very important for the national security of our country that we actually secure our border.
“So in the next few weeks, we’re going to continue to work to create a more prosperous, more confident, more secure America. And that’s what we intend to do.”
Next Wednesday, Speaker Ryan will deliver his farewell address in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress. It is the same setting where he delivered his Confident America address given in December of 2015, shortly after he became speaker.
In addition, Speaker Ryan will take part in a number of events over the next week to cap his 20 years of service in Congress, and the policies and ideas he has championed in that time.
Wednesday, November 28
3:45 p.m. In a ceremony at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary James Mattis will present Speaker Ryan with the Department of Defense’s Distinguished Public Service Award. This award, a significant honor, will recognize the speaker’s commitment to rebuilding the nation’s military. Additional details.
Thursday, November 29
9:00 a.m. Speaker Ryan will take part in a Washington Post Live event with senior congressional correspondent Paul Kane. Additional details.
Noon. Speaker Ryan will deliver remarks on the House floor to thank the people of Wisconsin’s First District and his district staff.
6:00 p.m. Speaker Ryan will attend the unveiling of his Budget Committee Chairman portrait in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol.
Monday, December 3
5:30 p.m. Speaker Ryan will deliver remarks at the Hudson Institute’s 2018 Award Gala in New York City, where he will receive the Herman Kahn Award for his commitment to pro-growth economic policies. Additional details.
Wednesday, December 5
1:00 p.m. Speaker Ryan will deliver his farewell address in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress, the same setting as his Confident America address given in December of 2015 shortly after becoming speaker.
WASHINGTON—On Wednesday, November 28, Secretary of Defense James Mattis will host an award ceremony honoring House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) for his public service and enduring support of the United States Military. The ceremony will be held at The Pentagon and will begin at 3:45 p.m. ET.
Award Ceremony Honoring Speaker Ryan
Wednesday, November 28 at 3:45 p.m. ET
Press Briefing Room, The Pentagon, Arlington, VA
MEDIA: This event is open to press. All media who wish to attend must RSVP by calling 703-697-5131 or emailing OSD.PA.DutyOfficer@mail.mil and providing a full name and email address no later than 9:00 a.m. ET on November 28. Media who RSVP will be sent a link to enter their personal information into the Pentagon’s Visitor Management System (VMS) for pre-registration screening. Media who do not have a Pentagon building pass must be pre-registered in VMS to attend the ceremony and should arrive no later than 3:00 p.m. ET.
WATCH LIVE: The event will be live-streamed at speaker.gov/live.
Good news. This year’s Capitol Christmas Tree has made its way from Oregon’s Willamette National Forest to stand tall at the West Front of the United States Capitol. The tree’s two-week journey to Washington followed the reverse passage of pioneers on the Oregon Trail, arriving this morning. The tree lighting ceremony is set for December 5 this year.
Here’s all you need to know about this great holiday tradition:
Where is the tree from this year?
This year’s U.S. Capitol Tree hails from the great state of Oregon. The tree, a noble fir, was chosen from Willamette National Forest’s more than 1.6 million acres. Nestled against Oregon’s Cascade Range, the Forest symbolizes the richness of both the state’s and country’s wilderness and is a fitting choice for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act. The state is also sending more than 70 additional trees and 10,000 ornaments to adorn places in D.C. with Christmas decorations.
How did it get here?
The tree has traveled more than 3,000 miles by truck, crossing through 10 states and tracing the reverse path of the Oregon Trail taken by pioneers 175 years ago. A local trucking company from the tree’s home state was entrusted with making sure it reaches D.C. safely—a charge one of the drivers called the “event of a lifetime.”
The tree has made stops in at least 25 different communities along the way, met with celebrations in each town (check out some of the festivities here: Sweet Home, OR; Perry, KS; Nebraska City, NE). Hosting the tree allows communities to join in the holiday spirit, showcase their local pride, and celebrate what brings us together—truly making this the “People’s Tree.”
Is this one of those old congressional traditions?
Well, you have to go back to 1913 to find the first inklings of a Capitol Christmas Tree celebration, but the modern tradition really begins in 1964. Speaker John McCormack had a Pennsylvania fir planted on the West Front Lawn. That tree was only able to weather a few years out there, and ever since 1970, the Department of Agriculture has provided trees from our national forests. Here is a full list.
When will they light the tree?
This year’s tree lighting ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. on December 6, 2018. Hosted by the Architect of the Capitol, the ceremony will bring together the Oregon congressional delegation along with congressional leadership, and will culminate in Speaker Ryan lighting the tree. To help flip the switch, he will be joined by fourth-grader Brigette Harrington of Hillsboro, Oregon. Brigette earned the honor by winning a contest with a poem on her love for Oregon’s outdoors (read it here). You will be able to watch the ceremony live on speaker.gov/live.
What am I thankful for this year? Well, let’s see…
I’m thankful I will soon have a lot more time to spend with my family. I don’t know if they’re so thankful for that, but I sure am.
I’m thankful deer hunting season has started in Wisconsin.
I’m thankful for a new tax code, one that is making such a positive difference in people’s lives.
I’m thankful for the battle of ideas. You know, things can get a little off track, but our system, our way of resolving our differences and figuring things out, is still the best in the world, and it will endure.
I’m thankful for Republicans and Democrats, and everyone in between. Because we’re all Americans first.
I’m thankful I have had the chance to work for the people of my community for the last 20 years. They have been the best bosses.
I’m thankful for the people who work through the holidays, at hospitals, firehouses, and police stations.
I am especially thankful for our troops, wherever they serve. You and your families are never far from our thoughts.
And I am thankful to God for all of these gifts.
From the Ryan family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.
WASHINGTON—Following President Donald Trump’s announcement on the FIRST STEP Act, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued this statement:
“Redemption is at the heart of the American Idea, and that’s what this is about. Creating a smoother path for those who have been incarcerated to successfully reenter and contribute to society is a worthwhile goal and one we have long been working toward. The president’s announcement is an encouraging sign that we can achieve substantive reforms to our criminal justice system in this Congress.”
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement upon the election of a new Republican leadership team for the 116th Congress:
“We have a new role and a new mission in the House, and this group is well-equipped to meet the challenge. I know they will defend the significant policy achievements of the last two years, find areas of common ground where possible, and draw a stark contrast with the new liberal majority. This team has the experience, skill, and steadiness to guide us back to the majority, and I congratulate them all on their new positions. In particular, it gives me great confidence as I depart knowing this conference is in good hands with my friend Kevin McCarthy at the top. Bright days are ahead for this team.”
The GOP leadership team for the 116th Congress:
Yesterday’s jobs report was unquestionably positive: Wages rising, more Americans joining the labor force, and new jobs being created. We shared some of the reaction to this news, with economists from all corners—even the skeptics—underscoring just how healthy the job market is and how workers are reaping the benefits from the strong economy.
Here are a few more highlights, including stories that show why these great numbers matter—they’re making a real difference in the daily lives of Americans working to get ahead:
It’s possible the Chicago Tribune said it best in an editorial out yesterday: “There are plenty of measures of American satisfaction and security, but having a job is fundamentally important. Growth creates prosperity.” … “In other words, everything positive starts with jobs.”
Wall Street Journal columnist James Freeman wrote this week, “But as Republicans prepare to make their closing arguments to U.S. voters, GOP candidates can justly say that their policies have yielded exceptional results. The economic revival they promised in 2016 has come to pass.”
Today’s jobs report certainly reflects that:
A Comeback Story: All this economic progress is a testament to what Americans—families, workers, and business owners alike—can achieve when government empowers them to succeed rather than getting in the way. As Speaker Ryan said in a speech recently, “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.”
Better Off Now: Republican policies are generating economic growth and setting America on a path to a more prosperous future. Through higher paychecks, more jobs, and an improved business climate, these policies are creating an economy full of optimism and opportunities. People are better off now.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today announced that he has appointed Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Dr. Samantha Ravich, and Mr. Frank Cilluffo to the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.
The commission, established by the National Defense Authorization Act, aims to develop a clear path forward for U.S. cybersecurity policy, protecting and securing America’s interests against ever-growing cyber threats from around the world.
“As we face 21st-century challenges, cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly significant piece of our national security,” Speaker Ryan said. “These appointees bring significant depth and experience in the cybersecurity field. Rep. Gallagher has led the way on this issue in Congress, advancing policies to defend against cyber threats. Dr. Ravich brings a long career and immense expertise in intelligence, with special knowledge in critical regions of the world. And Mr. Cilluffo has served as a trusted advisor to government and intelligence officials in this field for decades. They are highly qualified to help shape our country’s cybersecurity policy, and I am grateful that they have agreed to serve.”
About Rep. Mike Gallagher: Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) represents Wisconsin’s Eighth District in Congress. He served for seven years in the United States Marine Corps, earning the rank of Captain. He served as a Counterintelligence/Human Intelligence Officer and Regional Affairs Officer for the Middle East/North Africa, and was deployed twice to Al Anbar Province in Iraq as a commander of intelligence teams. He served on General Patreaus’ Central Command Assessment Team in the Middle East, and has worked for the National Counterterrorism Center and the Drug Enforcement Agency. He also previously worked as a staff member for Middle East, North Africa and Counterterrorism on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and for a company in the global energy industry. Rep. Gallagher holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, a master’s in security studies from Georgetown University, a master’s in strategic intelligence from National Intelligence University, and a PhD in international relations from Georgetown University.
About Dr. Samantha Ravich: Dr. Samantha Ravich is the chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ (FDD) Transformative Cyber Innovation Lab and the principal investigator on FDD’s Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare Project. She also serves as a senior advisor at FDD, and is on the organization’s Board of Advisors of the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance. She is a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and was designated to serve as its vice chair. She previously served as deputy national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, focusing on Asian and Middle East affairs, and as the Republican co-chair of the National Commission for Review of Research and Development Programs in the United States Intelligence Community. Dr. Ravich advises numerous technology, manufacturing, and services companies on cyber and geo-political threats and trends. She received her PhD in policy analysis from the RAND Graduate School and her MCP/BSE from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
About Frank Cilluffo: Frank Cilluffo is the director of Auburn University's McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security. He previously served as an associate vice president and the director of the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at The George Washington University. He served as special assistant to the president for homeland security under President George W. Bush and was appointed to the Office of Homeland Security following September 11th. He has also held several roles with the Center for Strategic & International Studies. He frequently advises senior officials in the executive branch, armed services, and state and local governments on matters pertaining to national security. He currently serves on the National Council of Advisors for the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and as the chairman of the National Consortium for Advanced Policing. Mr. Cilluffo has held positions on several national security committees, including the Homeland Security Advisory Council, where he was Vice Chairman of the Future of Terrorism Task Force, the Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee, and the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Advisory Council.
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement following this morning's shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh:
"This morning, a solemn celebration of life and faith turned to horror and chaos. We are deeply devastated by this tragedy, the roots of which appear to be especially repulsive. The sickening reality is that anti-Semitism in America continues to rear its ugly head. It is an ideology of hate that must be eradicated wherever it may surface. This is a time to mourn and heal, but also to reaffirm that we will not tolerate this bigotry. Pittsburgh and the Jewish community have been rocked today, but they should know that Americans stand firmly with them. God bless these people."
WASHINGTON—Following another strong GDP report showing an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released this statement:
“Month by month, we’ve seen consumer confidence rise, the job market strengthen, and unemployment decline. These things add up. Today’s report shows American consumers are empowered to spend again. These results are no accident—this is what happens when we pass policies to help American consumers, workers, and businesses generate economic growth and opportunity.”
On Wednesday, President Trump signed into law a sweeping, comprehensive bill to address the opioid epidemic from all angles—healing communities, strengthening law enforcement tools, and reforming the way medicine is prescribed.
A local news segment, under the title “Congress Takes on Opioids,” noted: “The bill calls for a variety of new treatment options targeted at groups ranging from veterans to newborns. A crackdown on foreign shipments carrying fentanyl – an opiate so deadly exposure to even a tiny amount can kill. And resources, like workforce training or housing assistance, to help those who get clean stay clean.”
Congress has been unwavering in its efforts to stem the tide of opioid addiction and abuse. This latest legislative package passed both chambers with nearly unanimous support.
Here are additional reports from around the country on this historic effort:
CNN highlighted the private-public partnerships announced by the White House, which add another important layer to the initiatives: “The private-sector organizations will implement a variety of commitments aimed at curbing the opioid crisis, including administering drug disposal programs, streamlining medical records, increasing opioids education and supporting individuals in addiction recovery.”
From The Tennessean: “President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a far-reaching legislative package designed to combat the opioid crisis by hastening research into nonaddictive painkillers and curbing the flow of illegal fentanyl entering the country”… “The legislation signed Wednesday includes more than 70 law changes tackling a wide range of opioid-related issues, including closing some legal loopholes that have allowed the drugs to proliferate and made it harder for those who are addicted to get treatment.”
According to Reuters, “The legislation expands access to substance abuse treatment in Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled; cracks down on mailed shipments of illicit drugs such as fentanyl, a synthetic opioid far more powerful than heroin; and provides a host of new federal grants to address the crisis.”
And USA Today explored five different areas of the law, including its emphasis on treatment and recovery: “The Department of Health and Human Services will oversee a grant program to expand the use of ‘comprehensive recovery centers,’ which include job training, mental health services and housing alongside addiction treatment. The model has proven successful in some parts of the country.”
For Speaker Ryan’s statement on the law, as well as additional resources, click here.
WASHINGTON—Today, in an event noting the historic efforts of the administration and Congress in fighting the opioid epidemic, President Trump signed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued this statement following the bill’s signature:
“Following years of work, landmark legislation to fight the opioid crisis from all sides is now law. This marks a moment of hope.
“Opioids have wrested the livelihood from so many, but there are no lost causes. The legislation signed by the president today gives community leaders—the people doing this vital work day in and day out—more resources to help people get clean and stay clean. It helps stem the flow of opioids into communities by encouraging non-opioid prescriptions and helping law enforcement crack down on synthetic drugs like fentanyl. I am thankful to the many members who worked so hard to make this possible. With this legislation comes the idea that no matter how dark your struggle seems, there is help available to you.
“We recognize that even with this important step, there is still more we can do. This is an opportunity to continue talking about this cause, to keep supporting each other, and to restore hope one life at a time.”
Learn More About Congress’ Historic Efforts:
WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after the bipartisan America’s Water Infrastructure Act became law today:
“This new law will make a real difference in people’s daily lives. After all, everything from clean water to local jobs depends on resilient infrastructure. By making critical upgrades to our ports and waterways, we improve the flow of goods and services that is so vital to commerce and manufacturing. And we are cutting down on the endless studies and needless delays that slow down these local projects. This is all good news for our communities, and it is another way to continue driving our economic momentum.”
Even after the failures of Obamacare, the Left wants to double down on abolishing our health care system as we know it. Today's Democratic Party has gone off the rails, and here's why:
"Medicare for all" may sound good, but it would essentially destroy and obliterate the private health insurance system, the employer-sponsored health insurance system—oh and by the way— it would end Medicare as we know it. We need to save the current Medicare program for those in or near retirement, not raid it for a new entitlement.
This irresponsible plan from Democrats would cost taxpayers $32.6 trillion in its first ten years alone. When it comes to socialism, Margaret Thatcher said it right: "Eventually, you run out of other people's money to spend." That's the thing with socialism; it is long on promises and extremely short on delivering on those promises.
Put simply, single-payer, government-run health care would be a disaster, and as long as Republicans control the House, it will never happen.
Those who exploit our country’s most vulnerable must be stopped. Since we passed legislation in March that cracked down on bad actor websites facilitating human trafficking, there’s been a 62% reduction in this kind of advertising in North America. pic.twitter.com/BFdNR257l5— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) October 9, 2018
Earlier this year, Congress took action to protect communities from human trafficking, the world’s fastest-growing crime. In Wisconsin, for example, it is happening in each of the state’s 72 counties.
‘An important breakthrough’: “The oldest crime gets a new law to combat sex trafficking. . . . FOSTA, Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, was a rare bipartisan piece of legislation that followed Senate hearings that exposed Backpage's horrors. It makes an important breakthrough in how federal law treats harmful content on the internet.” (Editorial, New York Daily News)
A years-long effort: The new trafficking law was sponsored in the House by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) and includes reforms authored by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) as part of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. It was supported by law enforcement, anti-trafficking advocates, faith-based groups, and members of the broader tech community.
Immediate results: “Craigslist, Reddit Shut Down Personal Ads In Wake Of Sex Trafficking Bill” (Huffington Post, 3/23/18)
60 to 80 percent: “The law took effect in April, but supporters say it is already having an impact. ‘The sites that had been marketing children are not operating out and above-board anymore and that's a huge success as far as we're concerned," Carol Smolenski, executive director of Ecpat-USA, a nonprofit group that fights child exploitation, said in an interview with CNBC's ‘Deadly Rich.’ Early indications are that 60 to 80 percent of U.S. online sex advertising volume has disappeared, according to Rob Spectre, a New York-based consultant and programmer who works with Ecpat-USA and other anti-trafficking organizations.” (CNBC, 7/27/18)
“We are seeing results”: “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.” Watch the clip.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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.