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Paul Ryan On The 2015 Legislative Agenda, And Hillary Clinton’s Lack Of Inevitability In 2016

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HH: And we are joined by Paul Ryan, Congressman extraordinaire, vice presidential nominee of the Republicans up in Wisconsin where polls have also closed. Congressman Ryan, welcome to the program, great to have you on the SRN special.

PR: Hey, good to be with you. Thanks for having me, man.

HH: What’s the early feel in your Wisconsin governor’s race, which all eyes of the country are watching for our friend, Scott Walker?

PR: I think we’re going to win. I spent the last week crisscrossing the state with Scott. The mood is good. The ground game is good. The momentum is clearly switching our way from the other side. And the public polls had Scott up seven as early as last week. I think it’s a little tighter than that, but we do believe Scott’s going to win, because we think we clearly have the momentum here. He’s one of my best friends in politics, and what I like to kid him about is he’s so good, he’s going to get elected governor three times in four years.

HH: Now you’ve lost a couple of good friends from the House.

PR: I have.

HH: Tom Cotton and Shelley Moore Capito going up to the Senate. But out in Virginia, another friend of yours, Ed Gillespie, fighting a dogged battle.

PR: I’m so excited about this. He’s one of my other really close friends. Eddie Gillespie is a phenomenal conservative, a really gifted conservative. And it is so exciting to see how close that race is. Not a lot of people or pundits followed that race very closely, and if Ed Gillespie pulls this off, this will be the upset of the night for sure.

HH: Absolutely. Now New Hampshire has been called for the Democrats.

PR: Right.

HH: North Carolina is in doubt. But it does look at this point, your colleague, Cory Gardner, has not been called, though he had a four point lead going into today. It looks at this point as though the Republicans likely will get the Senate, Paul Ryan. So my first question before I turn it over to Guy Benson, what’s the agenda going to be? And how fast will it unfold, because if you guys have the Congress, you’ve got to put stuff on the President’s desk.

PR: I think we need to put points on the board. I completely agree with that. We need to start putting bills on the President’s desk. That means in the House, because we move a little faster because of the way our rules work, we need to start executing. And that means we need to send these bills over to the Senate. We’ve had over 380, 380 that Harry Reid sat on and did nothing. We start sending them over to the Republican Senate and have them start passing them. We’ll have a problem with 60 votes and the filibuster, but we’ll make people take vote and take a position, which is what Harry Reid has prevented. But I think a lot of these bills will actually get done. I think Keystone Pipeline, I think we’ll actually get the 60 you need and pass that and put that on the President’s desk. So we will give the President the actual luxury of having to make a decision for once. And, if we can get control of the appropriations process, which we do by getting both houses of Congress, we can start exercising the power of the purse to try and restrain this executive who has exceeded his Constitutional powers by putting what we call riders on appropriation bills.

GB: Hey, Congressman, it’s Guy Benson. A couple of these news outlets are now saying that it is projected that the Republicans will retain the House of Representatives, not a shock at all.

PR: Right.

GB: It looks like they’ll probably gain a couple seats. What does that mean for you guys? You’re part of the Republican leadership in the House. You can only control so much, obviously. We’re still, the verdict is out, the jury is out in the Senate. What would you recommend to, let’s say, Speaker Boehner should be issue number one when you guys reconvene?

PR: Economic issues. First of all, issue number one, I think, we should do jobs and the economy. I think we should send energy bills over. There are all these energy bills that are so common sense. Keystone’s just one of the more prominent ones.

GB: Right.

PR: Open up these LNG terminals, approve them so that we can start exporting natural gas, get the Europeans off of Russian gas, help the Japanese off of China gas. I think we also need to work on budget. I want to save our military. The President’s budget is very dangerous with respect to our military. And then I’d like to see if there’s a chance of getting tax reform, at least put it on his desk. I mean, I’m not sure where the Obama administration is going to come down on the issue of tax reform. I have my own opinions. But we’ve got to show that we have an agenda that we’re going to act. And I’d like to control the border. I think, you know, we’ve passed these bills in July on border control. Let’s at least start with that and show that we can get this thing under control. So those are the kinds of issues that I think we should do jobs, the economy, national security and border security.

HH: Now Congressman, Greg Walden will be coming up after you. He’ll give us the hard core numbers on the number of pickups that you have. Do you think your caucus will support the rational can get done budget? I know you’ve had some dead enders who have simply refused to vote for budgets that doesn’t balance.

PR: Yeah.

HH: Will you have enough numbers to move a budget quickly, because that does drive the ability to put, say, Obamacare repeal and replace in front of the President, and all of those appropriations riders.

PR: Yeah, so I’ve passed four budgets that do actually balance the budget and pay off the debt. And you know, you have to get 218 people to vote for it, so you have to, you know, I’ve never been able to pass the exact, perfect budget that I want. I’ve had to pass budgets that I can get passed. Now they’ve all balanced the budget, and they’ve all put the debt on a trajectory to be paid off. And they’re good, conservative budgets. I think getting a bigger majority will help us do an even better budget. And again, with budgets, you only need 51 votes in the Senate. You don’t have to have 60 votes to pass budgets. And by passing budgets, we reclaim the power of the purse, the appropriations process. So it’s really important we pass budgets. There’s a statutory deadline for doing that, which is April 15th, coincidentally. And so that’s what we’ll have to do then. And also with budgets, we can do issues like Obamacare, or like tax reform. So the budgets give us the vehicles, the legislative ability to take on some of the big issues that we want to take on.

GB: Congressman, just to jump in here real quick, I just want to get some breaking news in. The Detroit Free Press projecting that Governor Rick Snyder has won reelection in the state of Michigan. That’s a hold for the Republicans, Congressman.

PR: Right.

GB: One thing that I think is interesting, though, in that race is this is a governor in Rick Snyder, a self-proclaimed tough nerd who signed right to work legislation…

PR: In Michigan.

GB: …in Michigan.

PR: I know.

GB: And he’s just won reelection. That’s a big deal, is it not?

PR: It’s a huge deal. I know Rick well. He’s a very innovative guy. Michigan’s right next door to us in Wisconsin. They went even farther than we went in Wisconsin with respect to the union reforms that Scott Walker had to go through a recall and endure. I think Scott Walker’s going to win tonight. Our polls close at 8, so you know, it’ll take a while before we know the verdicts here in Wisconsin. But it’s amazing what’s happening here in the upper Midwest. You’ve got Indiana now is right to work, Michigan’s right to work. Scott Walker passed what we call Act 10, which were very important reforms, have public employees pay something for their health and retirement benefits, get rid of automatic payroll deduction for unions. It helped us improve our schools. It’s got us from deficit into surplus. So these reforms are working, and you know, we’ve seen southern states beating us in recruiting companies. And I think with the upper Midwest doing these kinds of reforms and balancing their budgets and lowering their taxes, along with our fantastic workforce, I think we’re going to be really competitive states because we had these red state governors in our states basically doing good, conservative policies.

HH: Paul Ryan, let me ask you, if you look at Cory Gardner, who I expect will win, Tom Cotton, who has won, Shelley Moore Capito, and then you look at John Kasich crushing and hopefully Scott Walker winning, what’s that tell us about selecting candidates for ’16, because the country can’t change until we change the White House? But these people have certain skill sets and attitudes towards politics which have made them winners.

PR: They do. Don’t forget Joni Ernst. I think Joni’s going to win, too, in Iowa. I think Bill Cassidy, he may go to a runoff, but I think he’s going to pull it off down there in Louisiana. What it is, is they unified the conservative movement. Speaking as a Wisconsinite with Scott Walker working with him, or whether it’s Joni Ernst over in Iowa, or Cory Gardner, who’s a good friend in Colorado, they unified the conservative movement. And this is the key. We must unify the conservative movement so that it is an aspirational, principled and inclusive movement that can bring everybody together, and we have to open up the Electoral College. Hugh, you and I talked about the book I recently wrote. It’s about how to open up the Electoral College so that we can get a win in 2016, because we cannot afford a third Obama term, which is what you would have if it’s a Clinton or a Warren presidency.

HH: Are you surprised, Paul Ryan, Mrs. Clinton went to Arkansas, and she went to Kentucky on behalf of Democrats who lost. What’s that tell us about Hillary being inevitable in 2016?

PR: Oh, I don’t think, it just tells you that she’s not inevitable. I think she’s very beatable. I really do. I think she’s the architect of the Obama foreign policy for the first four years, and look at how awful that is. When she was a policy maker when her husband was president, her signature issue was single payer health care, I mean, to the left of Obamacare. So I really think this is not an inevitability thing. I think the media likes to play it that way, and I think Democrats think of it that way, but I do believe she’s a house of cards. And I do believe that what we’re proving in this cycle, probably different than the last couple, is that unifying the conservative movement with conservatives, I mean, they’re not saying pastel colors. Bold colors, no pale pastels, but unifying the conservative movement, not having circular firing squads, but going out and winning converts. So if we can focus in the next two years on unifying and bringing people into the fold, into the tent, winning converts instead of focusing on shooting at each other, then I really believe we can become a majority movement in this country.

GB: So you’re basically announcing your run for president there, right?

PR: (laughing) No, I’m just announcing what we have to do as conservatives.

HH: (laughing) Congressman Paul Ryan, thanks for joining us, Mr. Chairman, look forward to watching what you do at Ways & Means, and indeed as ’16 looms.

End of interview.


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