This morning, Speaker Ryan sat down with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King to discuss his decision to retire after this Congress and the accomplishments of which he's most proud. Watch the interview here and check out excerpts below.
Speaker Ryan: “I've been here 20 years in Congress. The first issue I focused on—they even have video of me as Congressman-elect—was tax reform. I’m an old Jack Kemp guy. I've been working on tax reform since I got here; that’s why I became chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. We got that done. I’m a big believer in a strong military. Our military has been hollowed out, it's been under duress. We’re now fixing that. That is done. The economic growth platform that we want is in place. The enterprise zones that I used to work on for years is now in law, which helps poor communities revitalize. So the point being, I have accomplished most of what I came here to do. The one thing that still has to get done is entitlement reform. I’m proud that ever since I was Budget chair, the House has passed budgets every term to balance the budget and pay off the debt. And the House passed the biggest entitlement reform ever considered last year…I accomplished most of what I wanted to accomplish. And like I said, I don't want to be a weekend dad for my kids’ entire lives.”
Speaker Ryan: “The economy is growing now. Wages are going up. People are getting bonuses. People are getting back to work. We’re now on the cusp of pulling more people out of poverty into the workforce. . . . We’re working on infrastructure. We’re working on some health care bills. We’re working on lots of different bills with respect to workforce development, career and technical education.”
Speaker Ryan: “I’m going to keep being involved and focusing on inclusive aspirational politics. I’m going to keep fighting for the things I believe in, and that’s among the things I want to do. I’m going to spend a lot of time with my friend Bob Woodson on poverty initiatives. Those are things I care a great deal about that frankly I have been not able to spend time on because of a pretty busy day job.”
Gayle King: “What are you proudest of as you get ready to retire?”
Speaker Ryan: “A bulk of work which advanced a political philosophy that brings more growth and opportunity to focus on the American Idea. I believe so passionately [in] this idea, in this country that the condition of your birth does not and should not determine the outcome of your life. And I think what we've been able to do to grow the economy makes a difference. I think I’ve done a lot to advance the debate on entitlement reform. We have not yet won that debate—it’s got to be more bipartisan and I regret that it isn’t—but that's how you prevent a debt crisis…I’ve also spent a lot of time with the military since being speaker. We needed to rebuild our military. People were dying in training accidents, 80 last year alone. And I’m very proud of the fact that we have rebuilt our military, our veteran’s administration, and this economy is growing. So I'm pleased with that body of work.”