RECAP: Speaker Ryan Talks Disaster Relief, Tax Reform, Evidence-Based Policymaking during Weekly Presser |

Summary: Today at his weekly press conference, Speaker Ryan touched on three different topics: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief, the latest on tax reform, and the new report from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking—something he’ll speak more about later today.

Opening Statement:

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

“Yesterday, I spoke with Governor Abbott of Texas to discuss the recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey. I relayed how inspired that we all are by the people of his state—it really is something to see. And I expressed our commitment to quickly provide resources to the region.

“In addition, I spoke with our delegates from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands about the devastation that is occurring right now with Hurricane Irma.

“And this morning, I spoke with President Trump about the urgency of our relief efforts. It’s a good thing, but with new technology, FEMA is moving money faster than ever before. And so that is why there’s a sense of urgency to get this relief package done.

“Right now, we are just thinking about everybody in Irma’s path—this hurricane, 185 mph. So, our thoughts and our prayers are with the people who are in the path of this current hurricane.”

An Update on Tax Reform

“This morning, we had another productive—that’s why I was a little late—we had another productive meeting between the House, the Senate, and the White House on tax reform. Our tax writing committees are in the midst of working on the details. This is our number one priority this fall.

“As you may have heard me say earlier, we want Americans to begin the new year with a new tax system. It is high time. We haven’t done this since 1986, and the rest of the world has passed our country, and it’s time to get back in the game of being competitive. And we will get faster economic growth when we do this.

“It’s about growth. It’s about fairness. It’s about finally giving American families a tax break.”

Evidence-Based Policymaking

“Lastly, I want to take a moment to highlight a new report from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. This is something that I consider very, very important. This has been a personal project of mine. Senator Patty Murray and I came together to start this panel. The mission here is to completely re-examine the way government solves problems. 

“You look at something like the war on poverty—you look at something like the fact that we’ve been at this for decades, but the needle has barely moved. Washington is just stuck in this endless feedback loop where we measure success based on effort, based on input. How much money are we spending? How many programs have we created? How many people are on those programs?

“We cling to that when we ought to be focusing on outcomes—are these programs working? Are, in this case, we getting people out of poverty? So, this report—The Promise of Evidence-Based Policymaking—this report lays out a blueprint for doing that. I’m excited about the potential for more bipartisan progress here. What we should be doing as policymakers is focus on outcomes and results, not just input and effort.  

“Patty and I are going to be talking about this later in the Capitol today. This is something that I think is high time in coming, with big data, with analytics, with the tools we have and technology. We ought to be able to get our policy focus on actually achieving the results that we intend—not just hoping, but actually doing. And that’s what this is all about.”