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Chairman Ryan on Meet The Press: Working to “Put Together an Optimistic Agenda for the Country”

February 01, 2015

WASHINGTON — House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) made an appearance on Meet the Press this morning. In his interview with moderator Chuck Todd, Chairman Ryan talked about the committee’s focus on an “optimistic agenda for the country.” Excerpts from his interview are below. 

On committing himself to the Ways and Means Committee:

“I decided early on in this year to pull myself out of this presidential contention because I want to focus on my job as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. I think I can make an enormous difference for our country where I am and help our party put together an optimistic agenda for the country to show how to restore a healthy economy, upward mobility, all of those things. And that’s where I’m focused now.”

On America’s economic challenges: 

“Look, we got to get this economy growing. We have had such a stagnant economy, the slowest recovery since World War II. Middle-income wages are stagnant. We’ve got to break out of this slog. And I do believe that there are things we can do hopefully in the next year to get this economy growing faster.”

On working toward comprehensive tax reform: 

“We really believe that we should reform the entire tax code for all people.  Individuals, families, businesses. Do it simpler, fairer, the whole thing. But it’s pretty clear to us that the president doesn’t agree with that on individuals. So the question is, which I don’t know the answer to: Is there common ground on aspects of tax reform that we think can help grow the economy? For us, small businesses have to be a part of that puzzle.”

On the president’s tax increases:

“What I think the president is trying to do here is to, again, exploit envy economics. This top-down redistribution doesn’t work. We’ve been doing it for six years. Look, it may make for good politics. It doesn’t make for good economic growth.”

On finding common ground on tax reform:

“We have Jack Lew coming Tuesday to the Ways and Means Committee. Then we want to go and see if there’s common ground. And so we want to work with this administration to see if we can find common ground on certain aspects of tax reform. And we want to exhaust that possibility. And if and when that possibility is exhausted, then we will put out what we think ought to be done.  So we fully intend on the Ways and Means Committee of showing what full, comprehensive tax reform for everybody, individuals and families alike, looks like.”