Speaker Ryan on NPR: 'We’re having a watershed moment in this country.' | Speaker.gov

Speaker Ryan sat down with NPR’s Steve Inskeep to talk about the House agenda for the rest of the year and beyond, including changing sexual harassment procedures in Congress and tax reform:

Sexual Harassment:

Speaker Ryan:I think we're having a watershed moment in this country. I think this is a defining moment in this country and I think it needs to be a defining moment in this country. I think we're all horrified at the stories we've been seeing unfold in the last few weeks. I think we're all realizing that sexual harassment in America is absolutely pervasive and it's got to go and we need to end it. And nowhere more is this important to set a standard and example than elected officials. We should be held to a high standard. So to that end, we've been holding hearings on this particular issue for how Congress governs itself. The last hearing suggested we should have mandatory training for sexual harassment for members and staff and interns. We just put that in place. . . . We've got another hearing next week, where we're reviewing all of the systems—the procedures and the sense of accountability, so that we can review the entire soup-to-nuts system we have in place and where upgrades and improvements can be had. And I believe what we did yesterday was a first step. We have more steps to go.”

I want my daughter to grow up in a country, she's 15 years old, where she is empowered and respected wherever she goes and wherever she works in whatever she does. And I think nowhere should that be more obvious and apparent than working here in Capitol Hill. So I think here in Congress, we should set ourselves to standards that we expect of other people and we should set high standards for ourselves so that we can be role models and set examples. And clearly people have been falling short of that and I think we always have to endeavor to do a better job on that.”

Taxes:

Speaker Ryan: “We wanted a middle class tax cut. We wanted to have a system that's more fair, much simpler. Right now the tax code is just chock full of special interest carve-outs and deductions and loopholes. When you take away those loopholes, in exchange for lower tax rates and a broader tax base, people who are very sophisticated who use all those loopholes will not have all those loopholes. But the exchange is lower tax rates across the board for most taxpayers in a simplified system. By doubling the standard deduction, instead of 70 percent of Americans being able to fill an easier tax form, nine out of 10 Americans can fill out their taxes on a postcard. So by simplifying the system that way and reducing loopholes, you can actually simplify dramatically and lower tax rates across the board. . . . The average tax cut for a middle-class family is going to be $1,182.

“Our goal here is to give people living paycheck-to-paycheck a break. More than half of the people in this country on the surveys show that they're living paycheck-to-paycheck. A lot of other people in this country are about $500 away from living paycheck-to-paycheck. So our goal here is to give people relief and to grow the economy. Grow the economy means we can get out of this stagnant economic malaise we've been in with 1 to 2 percent growth, get ourselves up above 3 percent growth like we used to be. You get that kind of economic growth which is clearly possible, and we think this helps us do that, then people can get wage increases. We have living standards go up. You have more jobs being created that pay better. You have faster economic growth and you get more revenue as a result of that.