WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following statement on the House floor in support of legislation to fund the government until the end of the fiscal year. Below are the speaker’s full remrks:
“First of all, I want to thank the chairman, I want to thank the ranking member, and the ranking members, and the chairmen of the subcommittees, and all the staff for their very hard work in putting this big body of work together.
“I urge all my colleagues to support this package. I want to explain why.
“A few things: many of our priorities—not all—but many of our priorities, are advanced in this. And that’s because this is a bipartisan piece of legislation. And so each side doesn’t get everything they want, but we’re able to come together and find a package that advances many of our important goals.
“For me, I think it’s important because it turns the page on the last administration—on the Obama years. It completes the unfinished business of the previous administration. Remember, we came to December, we had a continuing resolution, we’re halfway through the fiscal year now. We’ve got to do the job of actually getting the government specifically funded—meeting more of our priorities. This does that.
“This marks the beginning of a new era. No longer will the needs of our military be held hostage by the demands for more domestic spending. In my mind that is what is most important here. Having negotiated budget agreements in the prior administration, this to me is paramount and first among all things.
“The rule we lived under under the previous administration basically says, you want more money for the women in the field who are in our military who need more resources to do their jobs? Ok, but we’re going to need more money for Washington programs. And not just more money for Washington programs, the same exact amount of money.
“So no matter whether we need more money for our troops—we might need more ships, more bullets, more gas, more planes—we had to have the exact same dollar amount, whether it was needed or not, for domestic spending. That’s the old formula we had under the prior administration, and that is not in here. That is really important.
“And I think that’s one of the most important game-changing accomplishments that are in here, because we really believe our military needs help. We believe our military has been hollowed out in so many areas, and this bill helps fix this. So that dollar-for-dollar parity rule is a rule no more.
“With this bill, we do not have that arbitrary standard—the standard that has contributed, in my opinion, to hollowing out of our military and declining our readiness.
“While we have much more work to do to fully rebuild our military, this is a critical first step. With this bill, we will spend 25 billion dollars more this year than last year on defense so that we can begin to rebuild our military readiness and our preparedness. And we will do so without a corresponding increase in domestic spending. And that to me is a new day under this new administration that we have with President Trump.
“Of course, this legislation also addresses many other priorities for Republicans and for this administration. For starters, there’s a big and a solid down payment on securing our border. In fact, it’s the biggest increase in border security in a decade. Funding for the DC Scholarship Opportunity Program, which reverses the Obama-era crusade against school choice. That’s in here.
“National resources to fight the opioid epidemic, which is something that is ravishing communities across America. No new money for Obamacare and no bailouts for insurance companies. This bill protects life.
“This bill is a bipartisan compromise, as I mentioned, but it is indeed a good one for conservatives. And that is why I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
“We all must agree that funding the government at all like this—and this is the last point I want to make—this is not a process we want to continue. Yes, we are finishing unfinished business from last year. But let’s all work together and endeavor to do these appropriations bills one at a time. That is the system we’re supposed to have. And that is the system that I think we all agree—Republicans and Democrats—that we need to have.
“So let’s work together to make sure that we don’t just do one big bill. That we do this individually. So that individual debate can occur. So that individual priorities can be met. And so that we can get back to regular order, and we can better guarantee and maintain our Article 1 powers as the legislative branch of government exercising the power of the purse.
“I challenge every one of us to commit to that process. In the meantime, let’s bank these wins, let’s get this done, let’s turn this page on this last year, and let’s make sure we give the troops the support they so desperately need. With that, I yield back and ask everyone to support this bill.”