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.”