Paul Ryan Discusses His Goals as Speaker

Plans to pay off national debt, address international tax reform

MacIver News Service | October 30, 2015

[Washington, D.C…] Newly elected Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) held a conference call for Wisconsin media on Friday morning in an effort to assure those back home that he will not lose sight of his Wisconsin roots and values. In his first full day in his new position, Ryan discussed his goal to pay off the national debt.

“I have helped move our party to being the party of fiscal responsibility and tackling the drivers of our debt, offering a balanced budget, and a plan to pay off our national debt so that we can grow our economy and give our children and grandchildren a more prosperous future and not saddle them with our debts,” Ryan said, responding to a question offered by the MacIver Institute. “This is obviously one of the biggest issues of our time, and this is an issue that must be dealt with…If we do not tackle these challenges soon, they will tackle us. I bring to this job with me the policy experience background and initiatives that I’ve been championing since I’ve been here.”

Ryan did not elaborate on the specifics of his plan to pay down the debt, nor did he include a time frame for those goals. He also did not address outgoing Speaker Boehner’s budget plan, which increases spending by over $85 billion in the next three fiscal years, according to the Congressional Budget Office and Heritage Foundation calculations. The plan also delays significant cuts to the budget until 2025 and raises the debt ceiling until 2017. Ryan voted for the deal, but vowed that as Speaker, he will start a conversation on how to approach these problems long before their deadlines.

Ryan Pull Quote.png

When asked about tax reform, Ryan was hesitant to say he would immediately tackle individual or small business tax rates, referencing a lack of common ground with the President. He did, however, seem hopeful about international tax reform.

“We have an extremely uncompetitive tax code which is causing U.S. companies to repatriate, ” Ryan said. “I think that’s a problem that is recognized by both sides of the aisle and because the problem is recognized, my hope is that the solution might be available as well.”

Ryan discussed his plans for budget and tax reform, as well as the ways in which his Speakership will be different than that of Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio). First of all, Ryan will continue to live in Janesville and commute to Washington, D.C. on a weekly basis. He mentioned that Boehner “traveled almost every single weekend” but that Boehner’s children are grown, so he wasn’t necessarily traveling to visit his home district.

In many ways, the tone of the phone call was that Ryan has not forgotten about Wisconsin. He will continue to live in Janesville but work in Washington. Ryan made it clear that his constituents will not see much of a difference when it comes to his engagement in Wisconsin’s 1st District.

Secondly, Ryan hopes to address the legislative process and ensure that policy is written in committees, as was intended by the Founders.

“I want to open the process up. I think that the process is bottled up too much and too concentrated,” Ryan said. “I think power has been too concentrated and I believe in a bottom-up participatory approach to legislating in Congress. And so that’s different than the style we have had over the last number of years…I think you’ll expect to see more amendments.”

Though he referenced changing tracks when it comes to leadership and process, Ryan did not specifically condemn Boehner or Congressional leadership by name.

Throughout the call, Ryan stressed that despite his recent promotion, he is still the same person with the same values.

“I am still Paul Ryan and I am going to be living in Janesville, being with constituents and family each week. I see the 1st District as my family, it is where the people I represent, my friends, my family live,” Ryan said. “I think this gives me a great opportunity to make a huge difference, not just for Wisconsin but for our country.”