Boots & Sabers

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Tag: Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan returns to private life

My column for the Washington County Daily News. It’s a look back at Paul Ryan’s career (so far) and his impact on Wisconsin and the nation. It gets lost in the heat of the current political season, but Ryan was the first Speaker from Wisconsin and is legitimately a historical figure. Here you go:

The news did not come as a surprise, but it was still a shock. Rep. Paul Ryan has decided against seeking re-election this year. It will be the first time in 20 years he will not be on the ballot. The reverberations of Ryan’s remarkable career will be felt in Wisconsin and the nation for generations. And at only 48 years old, he may not be done yet.

Ryan entered politics as soon as he graduated with a degree in economics from Miami University in Ohio as an aide to Sen. Robert Kasten in 1992. He served in various supportive roles for powerful Republicans, including as a speechwriter for Jack Kemp, who Ryan considered an influential mentor.

Ryan got his turn to run for office in 1998 when Rep. Mark Neumann decided to run for the U.S. Senate. Ryan won the 1st Congressional District by a convincing 14-point margin and had firmly held the seat since.

Ryan quickly established a reputation as a sincere, intelligent, articulate, consistent advocate for his core conservative beliefs. During his 20 years in Congress, whether in the minority or the majority, he was always pushing to reform the fundamental structures that continue to undermine our nation’s potential — rampant entitlement spending and a byzantine tax system.

It is the nature of American politics that nobody completely gets what they want. Our system of competing interests and balanced power ensures that the only way to accomplish anything is through compromise. Some of Ryan’s detractors criticize that he was unable to fully accomplish his oft stated ideals of reforming and restraining the federal government, but it is precisely Ryan’s ability to compromise without capitulating that led to any accomplishments at all. There are plenty of bomb-throwing ideologues in Congress. We fellow ideologues love them, but they are rarely effective in moving policy. Ryan’s style actually moved the ball forward.

Ryan’s signature and crowning accomplishment came when he was serving in a role he never wanted and under an unlikely Republican President. Ryan never wanted to be Speaker Ryan because he is, at his heart, a policy wonk. The job of Speaker is to cajole the caucus to move legislation written by other people. Ryan wants to write the legislation. Ryan answered the call of the Republican caucus in their time of crisis because sometimes duty and loyalty trump personal ambitions.

The landmark 2017 Tax Reform Law marked a transformational shift in the tax code that will be felt for generations. It is a signature achievement that has Ryan’s years of effort baked into its very core. Americans will benefit from this achievement long after they have forgotten how it came to be. As Speaker, Ryan also wrestled passage of many reforms including the repeal of Obamacare and entitlement reform. Unfortunately, too many of those legislative efforts found their graves in the stodgy, dysfunctional Senate, but Ryan did his job and did it well.

Throughout his tenure as representative, committee chairman, vice presidential candidate and Speaker, Ryan also justifiably maintained a reputation as a genuinely nice guy. He had a style in which he was able to aggressively debate and advocate policies without the personal hatred and animosity that infects too many other politicians. In this respect, perhaps he is too much of a throwback to a different era of politics in which his mentors lived. The ability to disagree without being disagreeable is becoming a rare gift in the modern era.

As the first Wisconsinite to serve as the Speaker of the House, Ryan stands unique in Wisconsin’s pantheon of political giants. He has certainly earned the right to slip into obscurity and indulge in the enjoyments of private life. As for me, I know that there comes a time on the horizon when the people of Wisconsin will call again for his leadership, and I pray that he will answer the call.

Until then, thank you, Speaker Ryan, for serving the citizens of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District and our nation.

Paul Ryan Won’t Seek Reelection

Wow. There have been rumors of this for months, but it’s still an earthquake when it happens.

Washington (CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan has told confidantes he is not seeking re-election and will soon announce his decision, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told CNN Wednesday.

He is expected to address his decision in a closed-door GOP conference meeting Wednesday morning, the sources said.
A source familiar told CNN that Ryan called House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy about his retirement before the news broke.
Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, has been in Congress since 1999 and became House speaker in 2015.

Speaker Ryan Talks Sense on Push for Gun Control

Amen, Speaker Ryan.

House GOP leaders downplayed the need for Congress to pass expansive new gun control measures on Tuesday, instead turning their ire on the FBI and local law enforcement for failing to prevent the Parkland, Fla. school shooting.

Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters at a press conference that “we shouldn’t be banning guns for law-abiding citizens” but “focusing on making sure that citizens who shouldn’t get guns in the first place, don’t get those guns.” Ryan — who said arming teachers was a “good idea” but a local issue that Congress should not infringe upon — touted a House-passed bill to reinforce background checks under current law.

Ryan Deletes Tweet


Washington (CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan deleted a tweet Saturday touting the GOP tax overhaul after critics called him out for appearing out of touch with the reality of low-income individuals’ financial situations.

The tweet shared the story of a secretary who, according to a report by the Associated Press, was “pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week.”
“A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week … she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year,” Ryan tweeted with a link to the full article.
A basic Costco membership costs $60 a year.
People, including several prominent Democrats, noted on social media that $1.50 per week is not a significant pay bump.
No, it is not a huge pay bump, but it is a pay bump. Just remember that the Democrats would rather that she didn’t get a pay bump at all. Instead, they would prefer that she send that $1.50/week to them to spend in Washington. Who is out of touch with low-income folks?

Tax Reform Coming

Here we go. Let’s hope they can get a good tax reform package passed.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) detailed the House’s timeline on tax reform Tuesday, saying Republicans will pass the Senate budget on Thursday, unveil their long-awaited tax reform legislation next week and send the bill to the Senate before Thanksgiving.

The Speaker laid out that ambitious timeline during a closed-door meeting of House Republicans in the basement of the Capitol, according to sources in the room.

House GOP leaders have decided to take up the fiscal 2018 budget resolution that the Senate passed last week. Approving that budget will allow Republicans to fast-track their tax-reform plan without needing to secure any Democratic votes in the Senate.

Ryan Pledges Tax Reform


House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, pledged to manufacturers Tuesday that Congress and President Trump will “fix this nation’s tax code once and for all.”

Ryan, speaking at a National Association of Manufacturers event, laid out outlines of a “very ambitious plan” that House Republicans are working to put into legislation. And he said Republicans will “get this done in 2017” because the current tax code is hurting the U.S. economy and is too complex for families.

“This whole system is too confusing, and it’s just too darn expensive. We have got to stop this madness. Don’t you agree?” he said as the NAM 2017 Manufacturing Summit attendees applauded.

That’s all well and good, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’d like to see some actual legislation get passed.

Ryan Spikes Bid to Bring Back Earmarks

While I can appreciate the arguments in favor of bringing back something similar to earmarks to limit the power of the executive branch, could they be any more tone deaf?

Washington (CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan successfully lobbied his Republican colleagues Wednesday to postpone a vote on a proposal to bring back earmarks, billions of dollars for pet projects tucked into spending bills.

“We just had a ‘drain the swamp’ election,” Ryan told members, according to a GOP source in the room. “Let’s not just turn around and bring back earmarks two weeks later.”
House GOP members applauded and agreed to put off the issue until the first quarter of 2017, when they have more time to have detailed plan to oversee spending bill talks.
Multiple House Republicans told CNN the proposal to reverse the ban was on track to pass in a closed door meeting before Ryan argued to slow down the process.
Supporters of the change argued that ban on earmarks went too far because they can’t direct funding to much-needed projects in their districts. They say the shift gave too much power to the White House and unelected bureaucrats in federal agencies who now decide where to spend the money.

Ryan Stumps For GOP Across Country

Meanwhile, the GOP’s presidential nominee is attacking down ballot Republicans and making their elections more difficult.

The one-time vice-presidential nominee will use his star power to help raise money and stump for some of his closest friends in the Senate facing competitive reelection races this fall. In the five-week stretch before Election Day, Ryan is headed to Pennsylvania to help his former roommate, Pat Toomey; to Missouri to raise money for Roy Blunt; and back to his home state of Wisconsin for a string of appearances with Ron Johnson.

Ryan has already sent emails soliciting campaign cash, transferred money and had fundraisers to help Republican Senate hopefuls.

His efforts underscore Ryan’s view that a Congress under full GOP control is crucial to passing conservative legislation and promoting his agenda, sources close to him say. It also suggests he feels confident enough about his party’s House prospects that he’s willing to juggle the much bigger challenge of maintaining the party’s tenuous hold on the Senate.

Ryan Focuses on Congress

This is a healthy position for Ryan, and frankly the entire GOP, to take.

The speaker told his members “you all need to do what’s best for you in your district” and that he will not defend Trump or campaign with him over the next 29 days until Election Day on Nov. 8. Ryan had been planning to campaign with Trump on Saturday, the day after the video surfaced, but that appearance was quickly scrapped.

According to sources, Ryan will now spend his energy to make sure that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton doesn’t get a blank check with a Democratic-controlled Congress if she does win the presidency. This is what Ryan sees as best for the party and for his members, not himself, and he was aware there may be other political pressures to get him to do otherwise, but his concerns about keeping the majority superseded that.

“The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” Ryan press secretary AshLee Strong said.

FBI Played Politics With Clinton Document Dump

Yup. There’s nothing in the world that would have prevented them from releasing the documents on Monday of last week, or Tuesday of this week, or any other day. They made a choice in the interests of what they believed would best help Hillary Clinton.

Washington (CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan accused the FBI Tuesday of playing politics with the release of details about their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email, citing the bureau’s decision to publicly reveal information at the onset of Labor Day weekend.

“It’s like the most buried time you could ever put out a story. I’m surprised. I can’t believe that they would do what is such a patently political move. It makes them look like political operators versus law enforcement officers,” Ryan said in a radio interview with WRJN’s Glenn Klein.
“The fact that they chose the Friday before Labor Day to put all this out there — it mystifies me as to why they thought that was a smart thing to do.”

Ryan Backs Democratic Poverty Plan

For crying out loud.

While that may sound like the kind of Big-Government proposal Republicans typically hate, Clinton and the plan’s creator, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), have found the key to bipartisan appeal: a funding formula that will help millions of poor white voters who live in GOP-held districts as well as African-American voters who live in Democratic districts.
Story Continued Below

Speaker Ryan has effectively given his blessing, spurring the plan’s inclusion in several of this year’s bills to fund the government. Donald Trump, who recently began new outreach to minority voters, has yet to weigh in, effectively ceding the political benefit to his Democratic rival.


The math of the so-called 10-20-30 proposal is simple: At least 10 percent of a federal program’s funds should go to counties where 20 percent of the population has lived below the poverty line for 30 years.

Nearly 500 counties across the United States suffer from the kind of persistent poverty that would make them eligible for the plan’s targeted funding, Clyburn says — and it would give more Republican lawmakers something to brag about to constituents than Democrats. In 2009, Clyburn likes to note, 84 Republicans represented those counties, compared with 43 Democrats. The GOP held 311 counties and Democrats represented 149. (In terms of total population, the parties were more evenly split, with Republicans representing 8.3 million people from those counties and Democrats representing 8.8 million; another 14 counties with 5.3 million people were split between Republicans and Democrats.)

If there’s anything that the last 40+ years has taught us, it’s that gigantic federal poverty programs don’t actually solve poverty. It’s just not that easy.

But as this story illustrates, politicians love these programs because they can dump a pile of our money into communities where they want votes. Then they get to pose for pictures and give quotes to reporters about how they are helping their constituents. And people in those communities can feel good about their government for a few minutes.

And then the money runs out and they are all still poor. Because it’s just not that easy.

Trump Endorses Ryan


Mr Trump shocked party members on Tuesday when he refused to endorse Mr Ryan and Senator John McCain in their campaigns for re-election in November.

Mr Ryan, the party’s highest-ranking elected official, had himself long delayed endorsing Mr Trump.

“I support and endorse our Speaker… Paul Ryan,” Mr Trump said on Friday.

Trump Won’t Endorse Republican Speaker

Trump demands unwavering fealty while behaving as fickle as a cat’s love.

STERLING, Va. — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is refusing to back House Speaker Paul Ryan in his upcoming primary election, saying in an interview Tuesday that he is “not quite there yet” in endorsing his party’s top-ranking elected official.

Trump also said he was not supporting Sen. John McCain in his primary in Arizona, and he singled out Sen. Kelly Ayotte as a weak and disloyal leader in New Hampshire, a state whose presidential primary Trump won handily.

You know… I get the argument that we should vote for Trump because the SCOTUS is at stake. I get it. I really do. But every time I find myself being wooed by that argument, Trump does something to kick me in the teeth. I just can’t bring myself to vote for this detestable man. And even if he wins and manages to appoint a decent Justice, he will likely tear down any semblance of constitutional government we have left.

Paul Ryan Misses Mark on Football Analogy

Speaker Ryan fails to understand the generational animosity between Aggies and Longhorns.

He then turned to college football, explaining how important it is when a team advances to a big postseason game, fans of other teams in its conference root for it to win.
He discussed how intense the rivalries are in the Big 12, the conference of the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies, whose supporters in the room whooped and hollered.
“Boy, those rivalries are tough, especially when the Big 12 was the Big 12 and you guys were at each other’s throats,” said Ryan.
But he said, “When one of the teams advances to a big bowl game or a national championship, don’t you root for the Aggies if you are a Longhorn?”
The crowd booed no.
“You don’t? This whole riff was not worth it,” a deflated Ryan said with a smile. “My entire premise has just been obliterated.”
Ryan then explained how things are different in Wisconsin, where once the hard-fought regular season is over, Badgers fans throw their support to a rival for the broader good of the conference — inferring that Republicans who didn’t vote for Trump in the primary should support him now.
“I come from Big 10 country, so we fight like heck against Ohio State or Michigan, and then when it doesn’t go our way or they make it to the Rose Bowl or they go to the National Championship, we root for them because we’re in the same conference.”
Ryan implored the delegates to take a Big 10 approach to football and politics. “Good grief. Holy Moly. This explains everything right now,” he said.
I will remind y’all of the words of the second verse of the Aggie War Hymn (no, we don’t have a “fight song”):
Good-bye to texas university

So long to the Orange and the White

Good luck to dear old Texas Aggies

They are the boys that show the real old fight

“The eyes of Texas are upon you…”

That is the song they sing so well (Sounds like hell)

So good-bye to texas university

Paul Ryan Urges Trade Deal with U.K.


Ryan (R-Wis.) is advocating being aggressive early in establishing deals with Britain.

“Obviously it takes time to do something like this, but I think it is something we should be working on,” Ryan told ABC affiliate WISN in Wisconsin last week, according to comments his office published on the speaker’s website Monday. “We should begin discussions with Great Britain to ease concerns so that we do have a smooth trade relationship with Great Britain because they are our indispensable ally.”

Ryan later added on Wisconsin radio station WBEL that negotiations with Britain should be done on “a parallel track” to ongoing talks with the European Union toward a trade agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

Ryan, a frequent champion of free trade as a tool to improve foreign relations, isn’t the only lawmaker urging the administration to launch talks with London to ensure the U.S.-U.K. relationship won’t be harmed by British-European divorce proceedings.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a statement Friday soon after the Brexit results were announced that talks should begin now.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced Friday that he would introduce legislation that would require the United States and U.K. to “honor our current arrangements” until new bilateral deals are drafted. It also would direct the U.S. Trade Representative to begin negotiations “as soon as possible.”

There are many reasons that the U.S. should get a trade deal done ASAP. Britain’s relationship with the U.S. deserves respect. We are allies and friends who have supported each other vigorously for over a century. We should be holding our hands out in partnership. But it is also in the U.S.’s best interests. It is almost certain that the EU will seek to punish Britain and throttle Britain’s access to EU markets. Britain still needs a place to sell their goods. There’s no reason that the U.S. can’t benefit from their need in the form of advantageous prices on the things they export (vehicles, mechanical appliances, mineral fuels, pharmaceutical products, electrical equipment, etc.) and a place to sell American goods to replace E.U. goods. Also, by locking in an agreement with Britain right away, it bolsters the U.S.’s bargaining position in the negotiations with the E.U.

Hopefully the Obama Administration recognizes this historic opportunity to benefit both the United States and our ancient partner, Britain.

Paul Nehlen’s Business Doesn’t Appear to Actually Do Any Business

The evidence is pretty damning that Paul Nehlen, Paul Ryan’s primary opponent who is running to the right of Ryan, is a fraud.

Paul Nehlen has made his business experience the centerpiece of his primary campaign against House Speaker Paul Ryan, but while he claims to be a “Wisconsin small business owner,” there is no evidence that his business has ever actually done business in Wisconsin…or anywhere else, for that matter.

Good work by Dan O’Donnell.

Paul Ryan Pushes Back on “No Fly, No Buy”

Excellent. This is very good to see. Ryan is exactly right on all points.

But Ryan, who’s opposed similar legislation in the past, suggested Thursday that he hasn’t changed his tune following the Orlando tragedy. He cited several reasons for his reluctance to consider the proposal.
First, he said the bill, dubbed “No fly, no buy,” could trample on Second Amendment rights if it blocks gun sales to those put on the lists erroneously.
“We want to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. … But as we look at how to proceed, we also want to make sure that we’re not infringing upon people’s legitimate constitutional rights,” Ryan said during his weekly press conference in the Capitol. “That’s important.”
Second, Ryan suggested the system currently in place — under which law enforcers are notified when those on the watch lists purchase firearms — is a suitable line of defense. He cited warnings from FBI Director James Comey that the Democrats’ bill could compromise federal investigations by potentially tipping off suspected terrorists to those probes.
“If we do this wrong, like the president is proposing, we can actually blow our ongoing terrorist investigations,” he said, paraphrasing Comey. “So we want to get this right so we don’t undermine terrorist investigations.”
And third, Ryan said the focus on guns, post-Orlando, is misplaced. Congress instead should be looking at ways to tackle mental illness and rein in homegrown terrorism, he said.
“Is going after the Second Amendment how you stop terrorism? No,” Ryan said.
“Let’s not take our eye off the ball here. This is a person who was radicalized by Islamic radical terrorists, he claimed it was by ISIS,” he added. “So we need to make sure that we’re focusing on the real issue here, which is terrorism, the fact that people are becoming radicalized and committing these horrible acts of terrorism in our country. … We need to have a better handle on homegrown jihad.”

Paul Ryan: Sellout

Christian Schneider isn’t holding anything back in this column.

Perhaps this endorsement was inevitable but it was jarring to see the sellout executed for free. Trump today is just as unfit to hold public office as he was when Ryan announced his pyrite protest. Perhaps Trump is the master negotiator he claims to be — he actually made Ryan tear down the wall between them, and Republicans are ultimately going to pay for it.

During Ryan’s holdout, Trump made no progress toward the goals Ryan said he needed to see from the presumptive GOP nominee — in fact, just in the past week, Trump has floated discredited conspiracy theories about former Clinton adviser Vince Foster’s death and attacked the ethnicity of a judge overseeing the Trump University case. Are these what pushed Ryan toward capitulation?

Now Ryan becomes like San Francisco Giants fans who cheered on Barry Bonds during his desecration of America’s pastime. Normally sane fans defended Bonds simply because he wore the right color jersey.

Paul Ryan Endorses Donald Trump

This was bound to happen.

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed Donald Trump on Thursday, ending an extraordinary public split between the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee and the nation’s highest-ranking Republican office holder.

Ryan outlined his support for the New York billionaire in a column published in his hometown newspaper, declaring his goal to “unite the party so we can win in the fall.”

The Trump (almost) nomination has put conservatives in a tough spot. I don’t fault conservatives who are getting on board with Trump, however tepidly, now that he’s the nominee. One can make a rational argument that Trump is less horrible than Clinton. It’s not an argument with which I agree, but I can certainly see how someone would come to that conclusion.

I have very little understanding of how anyone who thinks they are a conservative could have backed Trump in the primary when there were so many other options.

In any case, almost all of the Republican establishment has now gotten behind Trump. It is a significant development for Trump’s campaign. He is now the establishment Republican candidate. Chew on that.



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