tv House Speaker Paul Ryan Address on Legislative Priorities CSPAN December 4, 2015 3:51am-4:23am EST
growing and making sugar. it was a huge business. it was, some scholars argue,nte the western world. >> american history tv all weekend every weekend. only on c-span3. house speaker paul ryan outlined his top priorities for house republicans over the years at remarks delivered at the library of congress in washington. included in his plan, a continued commitment to repeal the 2010 health care law. this is just over 30 minutes. >> good afternoon. as anyone who has ever visited the library of congress knows, it's always a privilege to be here in this building.
i always feel 10% smarter being here. winston church hill used to say we shape or building and then our building shape us. it's truly the case here at the library of congress. the privilege of being here is multiplied for me now by the esteemed audience of skol already lawyers within statesmen who are gathered here today. >> it's compounded by the opportunity i had today the introduce my good friend paul ryan. it's a reflection of paul's daring innovative spirit that in his first major address as speaker of the house, he's
violating the first rule, the number one rule in american politics. never ever give a united states senator an opportunity, an invitation to give brief remarks. paul ryan has been part of the change ever since he arrived. and he's been at the forefront since as ranking member on the house budget committee. he began pulling and initially reluctant gop back into the often neglected business of principled policy innovation and reform. he's part of and now has the opportunity to lead in the house, revive conservatism of
sbre neuroship. the way we make it. the original tea party, the tea party that took place in boston in 1773 against the kind of government that we as americans did not want. but that event would now long have been forgotten in history if that generation had not made the journey from boston to philadelphia. 14 years later to create the government that we as americans want and still want today. to follow in the founders footsteps, conservatives today must first resolve starting right now to apply our permanent principles to today's challenges, restoring upward
mobility, equal opportunity to every sector of our economy and to every neighborhood in our society. good faith disagreements within the right are inevitable and they're welcomed. it's the job of leaders on all sides of the debates to ensure that our differences of opinion are sources of strength, not division. they're sources that can strengthen us, rather than weaken us. for the new conservative generation to succeed wur ideas must drive our politics, not the other way around. i'm thrilled that speaker ryan has come to the library of congress today to lay out the challenges and solutions, the
ideas, the same kinds of ideas that initially motivated our founding generation to move from their boston moment to their philadelphia moment. and that will guide his work in the coming year as speaker of the house. i'm confident that inspired by the declaration of 1776, by the constitution of 1787 and informed we all hope by the wisdom of the ages, housed right here in this treasury of human knowledge, ladies and gentlemen it's my high honor and privilege to introduce to you the 54th speaker of the united states house of representatives. my friend, paul ryan.
i'm delighted to see so many of my colleagues here. the reason that i asked you to come here today is i wanted to lay out my number one goal for the house next year. i became speaker just over a month ago. i'd like to think we've hit the ground running. we're dealing with everything from highways to isis to funding the government.
but before we get too far along, i want to take a moment and i want to explain the big thing i think house republicans need to do in 2016. a great frustration in our party is that we've not had a real national majority in seven years. we've controlled congress but not the presidency. and we need to. this country has enormous problems but if we do not have a president who will work with us, we will not solve those problems. that is, while they're still solvable. and whatever the left may say, i know my colleagues in the house republican conference. i know why they got into politics.
we believe in the american idea. the condition of your birth doesn't determine the outcome of your life. and what we want to do is do our part to pass that idea on to the next generation. we do not see politics as a popularity contest. to us it's a calling. we do not care for the tricks or the trade. what we care about, what we love are ideas. so it is with great dismay that we have watched our president transform the country and not for the better. and it is natural, after losing to your opponents for so long, it is natural for people to start thinking, maybe they're on to something. maybe the way to win the debate is to play politics. maybe you slice and dice the electorate. demonize, polarize, turn out your voters and hope the rest
stays home. and i would say yes, it is possible that we could win that way, but to what end? i don't think that many people are walking away from this presidency thinking that went well. [ laughter ] we still have e more nous problems. but now the country is divided and the federal government has grown arrogant, it's grown condescending and outright paternalistic. what we've seen in the past seven years is the illusion of success. the left may be good attack ticks but tactics are not solutions. they can win an election but they can't win a mandate. they can make you popular, but they can't solve problems. they can help a party, but they can't save a country. so why in the world would we want to act that way.
so if we want to save the country, if we want to do what we believe in, then we need a mandate from the people. and if we want a mandate, then we need to offer ideas. and if we want to offer ideas then we need to actually have ideas. that's where the house republicans come in. so our number one goal for next year is to put together a complete alternative to the left's agenda. [ applause ] this is a work in progress no doubt. today i want to take basics. i want to talk fundamentals. what kind of country do we want to be. i do not presume to speak for all republicans in all particulars, but after giving it a lot of thought, this is what i
think a conservative vision looks like. we want america to be confident again. if you don't have a job, we want you to be confident that you can find a job and take it. if you do have a job, we want you to be confident that that job will pay well. we want students to know that all that school and all that debt would be worth it. we want seniors to know that all those years of hard work, all those years of paying taxes, will be rewarded. medicare and social security will be there for you when you need them. we want all americans when they look at washington to see spending going down, taxes going down, debt going down. we want to see progress and we want to have pride. we want people to believe in our future again. we want a country where no one is stuck, where no one settles, where everyone can rise.
and on the world stage, it is no different. we want a confident america. a purposeful america. we want to know we stand for freedom and show it. not with bluster or bravado, but with calm steady action. we want our military to command respect and to inspire confidence from our allies. and when they come home, we want to give our veterans the care they deserve. we want our president -- [ applause ] we want our president, whatever the party, to always keep an eye on our interests and never turn a blind eye to the truth. we want america to lead again. that is the america that we need.
that is not the america we have right now. the people are not confident. they're downright anxious. and they have every right to be. but there is reason for hope. especially for conservatives. the world is proving us right. technology is making life more decentralized. the top down formula won't do. if you wanted the left to a problem you get a group of highly trained experts to come up with an answer and impose it on the country. most of us would agree that's the last thing you should do. the world moves too fast. government is always a step behind. so oddly enough, it is the progressives who are stuck in the past and this is the one thing they miss. more bureaucracy means less opportunity.
[ applause ] and i'll tell you why. because big government and big business, they don't fight each other as much as they feed each other. this is how it works. smart, talented people go into government thinking that the only way to fix a complicated problem is with complicated laws. laws only people like themselves can understand. they make new bureaucracies, put up all kinds of red tape. and then they go into the private sector and help businesses navigate the very maze they created. [ laughter ] if the insurance industry does not understand how obamacare works, why not hire the person who ran it? [ laughter ] this works out great for them. what about the rest of us? what about the people who can't get ahead because costs are too high? or what about the people who
don't create jobs because the laws are too confusing? and so round and round the revolving door goes, all while the people are standing on the sidelines. that's how today's experts become tomorrow's cronies. and that's why we don't think government should bulk up the bureaucracy. we think it should break up the problem so that people can solve the problems themselves. don't hire more bureaucrats. don't leave it up to their discretion. set clear, firm rules all of us can live by. rules that tell us what's expected and what's off limits. then let the people go to work. to me, that is the conservative insight. don't outsource to the bureaucracy. crowd source. that kind of government would not only preserve equal opportunity. that kind of government would protect the dignity of the individual.
bad government tries to blunt what makes each of us unique. good government defends it. bad government tries to tie us all down. good government frees us to be our best. and so is government important? absolutely. it's essential. but there's no mistaking the field for the game. what government is supposed to do is create an environment where the individual can thrive and communities can bloom. in other words, government makes things possible. but the people make things happen. only government that sends power back to the people can make america confident again. [ applause ] and we house republicans, we will do all we can to give us a government, give us that
government, even if the president disagrees. even if he won't sign them into law, we will put out specific proposals and give the people a real choice. [ applause ] and i don't mean just undo what the president has done as if we can time travel back to 2009. i mean show what we would do, what our ideal policy would be, looking forward to 2017 and beyond. we owe it to the country, to offer a bold, pro growth agenda. and that is what we are going to do. [ applause ] you know what the first item on that agenda is? it's creating jobs and raising wages. we know what's standing in our way. instead of a tax code all of us can live by, we have a tax code that none of us can understand.
we all know how hard it is to keep up with the competition overseas. and where i come from, overseas means lake superior. [ laughter ] well, canadians are taxing their successful small businesses at 15%. 1-5. our top tax rate on successful small businesses in america is effectively 44.6%. how can working families compete like that? the only way to fix our tax code is to simplify, simplify, simplify. close all those loopholes and use that money to cut tax rates for everybody. [ applause ] take the seven tax rates we have now and collapse them into two or three. look, i know people like many of these loopholes and they have their reasons. but there are so many of them,
that now the tax code looks like a huge to-do list. washington's to-do list. but washington has no business micromanaging people's lives, pure and simple. i also know that many of these loopholes will be fiercely defended. all i can say is that we will not be cowed. [ applause ] we are not here to smooth things over. we are here to shake things up. and i know that our ways and means chairman, kevin brady, cannot wait to get to work. and this is the point. we want a tax code that rewards good work instead of good connections. when people know they will keep more of their own money, when they understand that they will enjoy the fruits of their labor, they will work more. they will save more. they will invest more and create more jobs for all of us. and when there's more work to go around, more people will see their wages going up.
but there's not much upside to getting a raise if the cost of living goes up, too. there are many things to do. but most urgent is to actually repeal and replace obamacare. prz [ applause ] you know, when people ask me what's wrong with the law? i usually say, how much time do you have? [ laughter ] but if i had to point out one thing, it would be the mandates, the restrictions, all of the red tape. how do we know that this has failed? you notice that we don't talk about lowering premiums anymore? we were supposed to be happy -- we're supposed to be happy if they don't go up by double digits. this is the problem. the other side thinks that to lower the cost for some people, you have to raise them for others. life is just one big zero sum game. they know that people won't buy pricey insurance. so their solution is, don't give them a choice.
we say lower costs for everybody by giving them a choice. instead of forcing you to buy insurance, we should force insurance companies to compete for your business. [ applause ] why don't we just let people find a plan that works best for them and their families. and yes, help people pay for health insurance. i have long believed that we should offer a tax credit to help people pay for premiums, giving more to the sick, giving more to the old. there are a lot of other ideas out there. but what all conservatives can agree upon is this. we think government should encourage personal responsibility, not replace it. we think prices are going up because people have too few choices, not because they have too many. and we think this problem is so urgent that next year we will unveil a plan to replace every single word of obamacare.
[ applause ] thank you. then there are millions of people in this country who are just stuck in neutral. 6 million people have no choice but to work part time. 45 million of our fellow citizens are living in poverty. conservatives need to have an answer for this. because we do not write people off in this country. we just don't. but this is what happens. the federal government says, look, if you -- if you're going through a rough patch, we will pay for your food, your housing, your medicine, your heat and on
and on and on. you add them all up, and we have something like 82 different programs to help the people in need. and we're thinking all of these benefits are going to lift people up. but in fact, they end upholding people back. because under the law, the minute you start making real money, the minute you start climbing that economic ladder, these benefits start to disappear and they start to disappear really fast. yes, you're making more money, but you're losing 80, 90 cents on the dollar in higher taxes and lower benefits. say you're a single mom with one kid. you're making minimum wage. you're on food stamps, you're on medicaid, housing assistance, other forms of assistance. and you hear about a job that pays you more. should you take that job? the answer in this country should always be a resounding yes. but can you really blame someone for thinking no? the intentions may be good. the results are really clear. we are trapping people in poverty in this country.
we have to make sure that it always pays to work. in 1996, we created a work requirement for welfare. it was phenomenally successful. that was just one program. we have to fix all the others now. i would combine a lot of them and send that money back to the states for better poverty-fighting solutions. require everybody who can to work. let states and communities try different ideas and then test the results. i have found that the poorest neighborhoods often are the most creative. they are full of entrepreneurs and innovators. full of people who really actually know how to fight poverty. eye-to-eye, person-to-person, soul-to-soul. they don't need to be supplanted. they need to be supported. and so this is the difference between the left and the right. they look at people in need and they see a burden to bear. people to take care of. we look at people in need and we see potential. push wages up. push the cost of living down.
get people off the sidelines in this country. i could think of no better way to restore confidence in the american economy. and as we grow more secure at home, we will grow stronger on the world stage. in fact, the two are absolutely and directly related. if we want to create good jobs, we need to make more things in america and sell them overseas. let's never forget, 96% of the world's people, they don't live in the united states. they live in other countries. and we will not sell them as much as we could if we don't negotiate good trade agreements. other countries will not stop taxing and blocking our exports unless we negotiate with them, unless we set the terms. look at it this way. if you add up all the countries that we do not have a trade agreement with, we have a big trade deficit in manufacturing. but if you add up all the countries that do have -- we do have a trade agreement with, we have a surplus.
now before we sign up for any trade agreement, we have to make sure it's a fair deal. i'm thinking of the transpacific partnership in particular. but we have to engage. we have to lead. only an active, forward-leaning america can tear down barriers to american exports for our jobs. this is more than a negotiating strategy. it goes to the core of our philosophy. we believe in free enterprise. we believe that if you have a good idea, you should have a fair chance to make it happen. that means that americans should not have to wait to pay unnecessary costs or to wait and wait just to get a permit. they should compete on a level playing field just like everybody else. and when we do that, we will win. i don't know why we would not fight for every job out there. i don't know why we would accept, or even worse, adopt other countries' corporate welfare when we know our system
of real free enterprise is better. there will not be a level playing field. there will not be free or fair trade unless we work for it. china is out there every day pushing for crony capitalism, their own version of corporate welfare. so it all comes down to this question. are we going to write the rules of the global economy or is china? i would also say that uniting our friends behind good trade agreements will enhance our national security. but, of course, the biggest danger to our national security, it's much more straight forward. our adversaries are not respecting us. too many people -- too many people think a warning for the united states is a hollow protest of a has been. that has to change. we need to build a 21st century military. mrs. thank you.
[ applause ] thank you. and i don't mean just pour more money into the pentagon. we have to reform the pentagon so it can adopt new threats. acquire new capabilities more quickly. whether it's advanced missile defense or directed energy weapons. and there is no person better to lead that effort than the chairman of the house armed services committee, mack thornberry. [ applause ] a strong america does not threaten the peace. a strong america is what protects the peace. and we need to act like it. isis. isis is a threat. we need a strategy to defeat it. our friends in europe and asia and the middle east, they're embattled. we need to give them our support. we need to strengthen both our
economy and our military to show the world that freedom works. and when we do, the world will see a confident america once again. this is how i see the choice. now the country needs to see it. today, what i have done here is to lay out our principles. now we, together, collaboratively, we need to turn them into policies. we are not going to solve all of the country's problems next year. we need a new president. it's just that simple. but even if we cannot move mountains, we can make moves in the right direction. the cautious may wait for their opportunity, but the prudent will make their opportunity. we can make progress on issues where there's bipartisan agreement. like rebuilding our roads and bridges, or bringing some certainty to the tax code. we don't have to compromise our principles to work with the other side.
even a blind squirrel can find a nut every now and then. as hard as it might be to believe, even politicians can find common ground. so what it all comes down to is whether we conservatives have confidence in ourselves. do we really believe that our philosophy is true? do we have the best ideas? if so, then i see absolutely no reason why we should not hold back. the truth is, the left wants to make this a debate about personalities. they want to paint us as irresponsible. that's because we all know what the left stands for. we all know what another progressive presidency will mean. just more of the same. so don't take the bait. don't play that game. don't give them a win by default. put together a positive agenda and take it to the american people. give the people of this country the choice that they have been yearning for.
and if next year this house can say that we have done that, then we will have done our job. then the people will know that we stand for a more prosperous, a more secure and yes, a more confident america. and the rest -- well, the rest will be up to the people. as it should be. thank you very much for your attending today. god bless you. thank you. [ applause ] friday on