Summary: Today, Speaker Ryan discussed why now—in an economy rich with opportunities—is the right time for the House to be moving forward with the Farm Bill, including important reforms to better equip our workforce.

Opening Statement:

“Well it is certainly a good time to be a worker, or a job seeker, in America today.

“You just heard some of the statistics. This economy is thriving. Business optimism and consumer confidence are at all-time highs.

“Tax reform has helped fuel more jobs, bigger paychecks, and better benefits.

“Retail sales are up, too.

“And I can’t say this enough: Our unemployment rate is below 4 percent for the first time in [nearly] 20 years.

“In fact, right now, we have one open job for nearly every unemployed person in this country.

“We have employers who can’t keep up with incoming business because they don’t have enough qualified workers.

“We’ve built an economy full of opportunities—now we need to connect people with those opportunities so that they can make the most of their lives.

“That’s what Chairman Conaway is talking about: Closing the skills gap, closing the opportunity gap, so everyone can get their version of the American Idea.

“That is one of the reasons why this farm bill is just so critical.

“In addition to helping our farmers, this bill includes important workforce development reforms, attaching work requirements to help get people out of poverty and on to the ladder of opportunity.

“It will reinvest savings into education and training programs that help develop those skills that closes that opportunity gap.

“It sets up a system where SNAP recipients who are able to go to work, can work. And if they can’t, they will be guaranteed training that they need.

“With these reforms, we are focusing on empowering people. We are focusing on empowering people so that more people have the chance to realize their piece of the American Idea.

“So I want to thank Chairman Conaway and the members of the Agriculture Committee.

“This is a critical pillar of our Better Way agenda that we talked about, that we campaigned on, that we believe in. It’s a priority for this unified government.

“And it’s yet another promise we are committed to fulfilling to help working families get ahead.

“Finally, I’d like to declare something that is just so obvious: It is ‘Laurel’ and not ‘Yanny.’ Alright? Come on. How many ‘Laurel’ fans here? Right? Thank you.”