House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) applauds during the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree on the West Front of the Capitol onDec. 2. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Five weeks into his tenure as House speaker, Paul D. Ryan prepared to fill out his agenda Thursday for House Republicans going into the 2016 election year by pledging to help America be confident again.
But at the same time, Ryan will telegraph that he is not at all confident that he can make the changes he believes are necessary without a Republican president.
Ryan (R-Wis.) is set to deliver what his office has billed as his first major address early Thursday afternoon in the Library of Congress. A selection of prepared remarks released in advance suggest that Ryan is planning to keep the House busy next year with meaty bills even if most of them garner little Democratic support and are ultimately met with President Obamas veto.
Only government that sends power back to the people can make America confident again. And we House Republicans will do all we can to give us that government even if the president disagrees, Ryan plans to say. Even if he wont sign them into law, we will put out specific proposals and give the people a real choice. And I dont mean just undo what the president has done as if we could 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.
He is set to add: And we are not going to solve all the countrys problems next year. We need a new president. Its just that simple. But even if we cant move mountains, we can make moves in the right direction.
Ryan is also set to make a handful of other policy pronouncements. For one, he plans to mention the need for another round of welfare reform to follow up on the changes made by the Republican Congress in concert with President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s: That was just one program. We have to fix all the others now. Id combine a lot of them and send that money back to the states for better poverty-fighting solutions.
He also plans to mention focusing on a strong national defense, in general, and new weapons systems in particular: We have to reform the Pentagon so it can adapt to new threats. Acquire new capabilities more quickly whether its advanced missile defense or directed-energy weapons.
And Ryan will suggest that there is at least one major policy item that doesnt need to wait for a new president: tax reform. According to the prepared remarks, Ryan will suggest there can be progress on issues where theres bipartisan agreement, like rebuilding our roads and bridges or bringing some certainty to the tax code.