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tv   Interview with Speaker Ryan  CSPAN  January 14, 2018 6:32pm-6:47pm EST

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now that republicans have passed a tax bill that is going to decrease revenues by $1.5 trillion, the question is, are we setting up another moment like that? >> that is it for our time. we have a lot more to discuss. we have not even gotten to his definitive statement on the 2018 take back of the house, but thank you very much for your questions this week. >> thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> c-span, where history unfold staley. in 19 -- unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's television companies, and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> now, c-span recently talked with speaker of the house paul ryan. this is about 15 minutes.
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>> house speaker paul ryan, thank you for joining us. let's talk about the tax bill. members of your party are saying there need to be some fixes, some revisions to the bill in 2018. what changes if any need to happen? speaker ryan: it is good to be back with you. it has been a while. anytime you do massive legislation like this, this is the biggest rewrite of the tax code in more than 31 years, the last big rewrite was 1986. this is more comprehensive than that. so we knew all along, when you had such a massive rewrite of tax laws, you are going to have some technical changes that will need to occur. for instance, we rewrote our entire international tax system on how we treat international economics and cash flows. we knew that would need some revising. so far, not a lot really needs to be done, other than i would call small things. >> no republican support for the affordable care act, no democrat
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support for this bill. is that the new norm? speaker ryan: i hope not. i was surprised that not a single democrat voted for this. i think they will be regretful of that, because in 20 days, you have seen two million families, two million workers getting raises and bonuses. you are seeing all these raises being announced, you are seeing electricity companies announcing that they are lowering rates as a consequence. in milwaukee, we have a big insurance company called assurant. a couple months ago, assurant said that because of the tax laws, they were going to move to bermuda. now, they are staying in milwaukee, staying an american company. you are seeing stories like that -- businesses staying here, expanding, investing in capital, workers getting wage increases, bonuses, better benefits, 401(k)'s, maternity leave -- all those things are being announced, and it has been 20 days. i think the democrats are going
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to regret not having supported this. i think it will do tremendous things for our economy, and unfortunately, we are in a very, very partisan climate, but that does not stop us from doing what we think is right to help this economy grow. >> but leader pelosi is calling all of this "crumbs." speaker ryan: i am sad and surprised she said that. to someone working at walmart, getting a starting wage from $9 an hour to $11 an hour, i do not think that is crumbs. a person working paycheck-to-paycheck got a $1000 bonus. that is not crumbs. 200,000 workers at at&t got a $1000 bonus. comcast is investing $50 billion in america, in jobs, in expanding across the country. this is not crumbs. the additional maternity leave at walmart, the higher 401(k) assisted a small living center in stevens just point announced bonuses to their employees.
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these are not crumbs. more than half of americans are living paycheck to paycheck. when they get something like a $1000 bonus at christmastime because of the tax law, it is hardly crumbs. >> i would go back to november 1998, just elected as the member of the house in wisconsin. you appeared on c-span, and here is what you said. [video clip] speaker ryan: i think the first principle of tax reform ought to be that those who are on the bottom rung of the economic ladder should be held harmless. get them on their feet before they get whacked with taxes. what i think is important is let's take a look at our current tax system. we are working toward may 17 in wisconsin to pay our taxes to the government. our tax system is punishing all of those qualities that make america great, so we can have a better tax system. >> your reaction? speaker ryan: that is what i call my gumby haircut, and i still have that tie. [laughter] i have been working on that for
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20 years, my whole adult life. i think you just cued up when i was a staff guy. jack kemp was my mentor, and i worked on this issue with him, in 20 years in congress. my reaction is -- it is what i tell my kids, school students when i talk about civics, democracy and the republic that we are. if you believe passionately in something that will make a big difference in peoples lives, what is great about our system of government is you work, you work, you push, you push, you convince, run on an idea, run for office, and if you get elected, you go try and put that idea in place to make a difference in people's lives. that is what these jobs are about. that is what is exciting about what i do, and it takes time, in a system like we have. it does take time. tax reform has been something i have literally been working on for over 20 years. this country, we have been talking about it for 30 years. it takes time to do these things, but it does work. and that to me is a vindication of the system of government we have, a representative of
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-- representative democracy, and the fact that if you believe in something, stick at it and you can accomplish those goals. that is my big takeaway on this. i can get into the economics and why i think this is a good thing for america, but the takeaway i have is looking back at when i was a young guy pushing this stuff. it takes time to do big things in this country, and this country is a story of big things getting done. >> a number of states -- california, new york -- are looking at workarounds to get beyond that $10,000 deduction. will you or the republicans do anything to stop that? speaker ryan: i don't think that will work anyway. the big idea they are talking about is let's let millionaires and billionaires pay their taxes as donations. so they can deduct. that will not work. i cannot imagine the treasury or irs would let that happen. it is beyond reason to think that tax regulation would allow that to happen. i do not even think we need to prevent this kind of workaround. >> your first appearance was
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1995 on a saturday morning, july 1995, and you were talking about the debt at the time, which was approaching $5 trillion. [video clip] mr. ryan: this budget debate, what is this about? this debate is evolving into a fundamental difference between the two parties. the republicans, we say we have to balance the budget. we have got to pay down the debt. it is interesting to note that the clinton administration's budget proposal for this year projects building more deficits, an excess of $250 billion, adding on top of the debt. we think we have to balance the budget as soon as possible. >> that was 1995. the debt is now $20 trillion, and the tax bill will add another $1 trillion to the debt. speaker ryan: yeah. my haircut was better in 1995 than in 1998. taking a look at that. [laughter] if you look at all of our full-scale efforts, like the budget we passed this past year, the diane black budget, that had
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a lot of reforms in it and is a balanced budget. i wrote eight of the budgets we passed since i have been in congress, which are all balanced budget plans. the problem is you got to give these bills to the house, senate, and president to sign them into law. we think there are two things you basically have to do to get the debt under control. reform our entitlement programs. make them work better, make those dollars stretch farther, and prepare for the retirement of baby boomers, which we are really not prepared for, and you have to grow the economy. this is one of the most important things we could have ever done to grow the economy. this is a piece of our fiscal agenda which is economic growth through tax and regulatory reform. i do not believe this will add a trillion-plus dollars to the debt. i do not know what the number is going to be. i think economic growth will become tremendously helpful for us, and what it will do is help people earn more wages, pay more taxes, more companies will come back into the country, bringing
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their dollars overseas back in america. that is going to help with growth. but that does not mean we should not be focused on spending. we should focus on the spending side of the ledger. >> on entitlement reform, leader mcconnell said on entitlement reform, that is a nonstarter. speaker ryan: we have a challenge in that they have a razor thin majority in the senate, and is extremely hard to pass big things like this. what i regret the most is the fact that we have yet to reach bipartisan consensus on comprehensive entitlement reform when all of us know this is necessary to get our debt and deficit under control. you literally cannot tax your way out of the entitlement problems we have with the oncoming baby boomers. we need to grow the economy faster. this helps us do that. and i am very excited that we have done this. but at the end of the day, we are going to have to get bipartisan support to fix our entitlement programs. if we do nothing, social security goes broke and people get benefits cut. we don't want to see that happen. medicare is already on borrowed
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money. these are important programs we have to preserve. not just for this generation, but for future generations. that will take bipartisanship. >> will it happen this year? speaker ryan: not what i mentioned, but we can help get people from welfare into work so they are getting a better job, better life, and paying taxes. >> and what about the plan on the white house to make sure if you are on medicaid, some applicants have to work? speaker ryan: we passed that back in may in the house. that is something we are obviously in favor of. >> the president is also suggesting that earmarks should come back on capitol hill as a way to grease the skins? speaker ryan: i was one of the guys who authored the ban on earmarks. there is a frustration among many of our members that the constitutional responsibility of the article one constitutional powers has been ceded to the executive branch too much. there is a legitimate argument to be made there, but i do have concerns about the old pork-barrel earmark process that
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i helped stop. but i do believe there is a concern about having more legislative branch oversight on how the executive branch spends money. but we have to make sure this does not -- we have to make sure we go do not go back to pork-barrel spending. >> are you worried is earmarks came back it could hurt members in the house? speaker ryan i'm worried it : could lead to bad government. that is what i worry about. >> steny hoyer said that republicans say the democrats will take back the house next year. speaker ryan: i cannot speak for that. republicans do not tell me that. >> final question, in regards to chairman ed royce. who is stepping down. should you readdress the issue of term limits? on chairmanship? speaker ryan: no, i would never have become the chairman if it were not for term limits. i am a big fan of term limits. i think we should have term limits on congress itself, but given the constitutional amendment we have not been able
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to produce the votes for, we should at least in our own control, we should control our term for chairmanship. you are seeing chairmen retire now, and we are having a number of them because we operate in the republican house with a six-year terms, meaning three terms, six years total for a chairmanship. they are all on a similar cycle. so we have a lot of chairmen who are coming to the end of their chairmanships this year, which is why people like ed royce are retiring. but what that does is give younger, newer members the ability to move up into the ranks and take these chairmanships. it brings fresh blood to come and fresh turnover, new ideas must fresh perspectives. >> what is the biggest challenge for you in this job? [laughter] speaker ryan: getting things passed, getting big things done. what i am excited about? we ran on a very specific agenda in 2016 and we came around, we all got consensus on what that agenda would be. we called it the better way. and now we are in the middle of executing it. i am pleased we passed more bills this past year in this
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first year of office than reagan, bush, bush, clinton, obama. we passed their bills, they did not go all the way through the senate. we have over 400 bills still stuck in the senate that have not been moving through like the house, so getting these bills into law is the biggest challenge given the fact they have the filibuster in the senate with a narrow majority, and we are so partisan. i am hoping we can get some more bipartisanship this year to break those logjams and get some things into law, but that is the hardest thing. not passing the house, but getting them into law, beyond the house's control. that is why the tax reform achievement was so important. >> and you intend to be speaker in 2019? speaker ryan: that is something my wife and i discuss in the spring. we have this customary conversation before filing deadline in wisconsin. that is the conversation we will have then, but i have no plan of going anywhere right now. >> house speaker paul ryan, thank you very much for being
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with us. >> on tuesday, the new york times and international spy museum cohosted a panel discussion on the investigation into russia's interference in the 2016 election. this runs one hour and 15 minutes. [applause] >> thank you, jen, and thank you all for coming tonight. thank you for being at the first "times" live event of 2018. after what happened in 2017, we thank you for coming back for more. [laughter] >> first of all, it is a great honor to be on this panel tonight with two friends and


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