This morning, Speaker Ryan appeared on Fox & Friends where he discussed the critical wins in this legislation for our national defense, and cleared up some misconceptions. Watch the full interview here and check out excerpts below.
What’s in the funding bill?
Speaker Ryan: “We have the biggest increase in the military in 15 years, the biggest pay raise for our men and women in uniform is eight years. We need to rebuild our military. We just lost these two F-18 pilots last week. We lost four times as many people in…accidents in the military last year than we did in combat. Why? Because Obama shortchanged our military. This fixes that. This is the Trump/Jim Mattis budget for the military. That is probably the biggest victory here—what we're doing for our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, our Marines, and our veterans. This fixes that massive problem. This funds the wall, fixes the military, fight opioids, does the things we said, and does not fund Gateway. It gives Donald Trump the decision on Gateway.”
On funding the wall:
Speaker Ryan: “It doesn't fund Gateway and it does fund the wall. You know how long this funding bill lasts? Six months. This is not a 10-year bill. Six months. So what we did in this bill is we funded the next six months, exactly the budget requests the administration asked us for, for the border. It’s funny—we passed this bill, the House passed all these bills back in September. We passed them with Republican only votes. This has the exact same funding for the border in this bill that we funded back in September with all Republican votes. So it is kind of interesting people are saying different things now. But here's the point, the administration asked for 74 miles of border wall funding. We did about 100 in this bill. We actually exceeded what the administration asked us for, for the border. Here is the deal on the border. We asked the border patrol: 'What do you need on the border?' What they tell us is, the conditions on the ground determine what kind of wall they want, different types in different places. So for instance, they want concrete barrier with a fence on top, with earth behind it in the Rio Grande Valley so it doesn't get washed away in floods. In the desert they want a see-through wall, so they can see what is going on through it. So we do that. So we basically say to the border patrol: 'What do you need? Here are your resources.' And it’s $1.6 billion dollars for the next six months, which is exactly what the president asked for.
Brian Kilmeade: ‘I heard only $650 million goes to the wall?’
Speaker Ryan: “It’s $1.6 [billion] for the entire border [security package]. For the border, you also you need fences, you need cameras, you need electronic devices. You need aerial devices to be able to police it. In the mountainous areas, you can't build a wall over a mountain. So you need cameras and you need drones up there. So it is a border wall system that the border patrol tells us they need. We fund their request, based on what they say they need to secure the border. And it’s different kinds of walls based on different kinds of conditions on the ground. And that is it what we fund.”
Speaker Ryan: “On Gateway, in the bill that passed earlier, there was something that was like an earmark for Gateway. It said all the mass transit funds that big cities get, they wrote it such a way that really only New York would only get the money. We repealed that language. That is not in here anymore. We took that language out. Now the administration, meaning the president gets to decide which cities get mass transit money, as part of his infrastructure plan.”
Speaker Ryan: “So we, the president and I, and other leaders in the House and Senate, offered that to the Democrats, they said 'no'…we said let’s do multi-year funding for the wall, for multi-year relief for the DACA kids. They walked away. They wouldn't take that.”