Ryan Lauds New Tax Plan
House Speaker says Republicans have created one of best tax codes in the world.
While the marquee topic was the GOP’s newly minted tax plan, Republican House Speaker and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan delved into a number of issues — including President Donald Trump’s crude comments on developing nations — during a stop in Milwaukee on Friday.
Ryan dropped by the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education downtown to tout the overhauled tax code, which Trump signed into law days before Christmas. It took effect Jan. 1.
“We had one of the worst tax codes in the industrialized world, and we were losing big-time as a country,” Ryan said in a sit-down talk with Jeff Mayers, president of WisPolitics, before a crowd of attendees.
But now America will be winning, Ryan asserted confidently: “Now we have one of the best tax codes in the industrialized world.”
The Republicans’ passage of the tax plan has not been without controversy — a reality Mayer pointed out, noting opinion polling and, more pointedly, a lack of support from Democrat lawmakers.
“I think the Democrats made a mistake,” Ryan said, in response to that lack of support.
The magnitude of the changes within the new tax plan are the most sizable since President Ronald Reagan was in office in the 1980s — a point Ryan and Mayer agreed on during the discussion. Reagan’s changes, however, were met with more bipartisan support.
Since the allegations surfaced Thursday, Trump denied making the comments, but lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle said he did make the comments, with many calling on him to apologize.
“His comments, obviously, inflame a debate that’s not hard to inflame,” Mayer said as he pressed Ryan for his response to them.
Ryan said he was not readily aware of the allegations as they surfaced, but did take time to digest the information later in the day Thursday — less than a day before the discussion in Milwaukee.
“The first thing that came to my mind was ‘very unfortunate,’ ‘unhelpful,’” Ryan said of Trump’s comments.
The controversy comes at a pivotal time for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which could be in jeopardy if needed bipartisan support is not reached by Jan. 19 — the same day of a possible government shutdown.
Trump in a series of tweets Sunday said he was not convinced DACA would be moving forward.
“DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it,” Trump wrote on social media. “They just want to talk and take desperately needed money from our military.”
But Ryan said he was optimistic about DACA’s future and did not believe a government shutdown would occur.
“We just have to get it done,” said Ryan, who spoke of his Irish heritage and said he supported immigration. He added that, “we’ve been talking quite a bit” about DACA.
While issues such as taxes and immigration commonly grab the limelight, Ryan said Republicans and Democrats routinely work together on a range of issues — many flying under the radar because they are not hot-button topics.
“We actually do talk to each other,” Ryan said. “Eighty percent of what we do in Congress is bipartisan.”
Mayer pressed Ryan on several occasions about his political future, but the Speaker of the House routinely dodged the question. Ryan’s House district in southeastern Wisconsin is a relatively safe one, which Trump carried by 10 percentage points, but all signs point to Democrats making significant gains in the 2018 election.
Ryan said he and his wife will be sitting down and talking about it at length this spring — a rite of passage he said takes place every even-numbered year.
“But I’m not going anywhere anytime soon,” he said.