Summary: At the first Republican leadership stakeout of the new year, Speaker Ryan outlined what the House stands ready to accomplish in 2018.
“Hi everybody. Welcome back. Happy New Year.
“It’s always great to be home on the holidays to celebrate with my family back in Wisconsin. Badgers won the Orange Bowl. Somebody told me that it was colder one day in Wisconsin than it was on Mars that day.
“So, I gotta tell you what was exciting about being home for the holidays is just people stopping us, where ever Janna and I would go—in restaurants, in the street, at ball games—about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. How it’s helping them. How it’s helping their families. How it’s helping the businesses they work at or the businesses that they own.
“The numbers—they’re really impressive. In just a few short weeks, as Kevin mentioned, corporations have announced over $1 billion in bonuses and more than $1.5 billion reinvested in the U.S. economy. One company said $50 billion over five years—reinvestment in America, which is going to help their workers, which is going to help them expand. The numbers don’t even include what smaller companies are doing and how folks will be helped by the individual tax rate cut that they see when their paychecks get bigger this year.
“The stories we hear are just countless. Steve mentioned a couple of them. I can talk about some butchers and everybody else in between. There are people who are just coming up to us saying, ‘This is working. I’m getting bigger paychecks. I got a bonus, or I’m expanding my small business—I’m going to hire more people.’ So that is exciting.
“Tax reform is boosting the economy. It’s creating jobs. It is raising wages. In other words, it is actually helping people, and that’s why we are here. It’s renewed optimism. It’s telling people that this economy is here to grow. So that’s what’s exciting. This is why we’re here.
“But we’re not going to stop there. As we kick off a new session, we want to build on this optimism, and we want to make sure that we get more done for the American people. We’ve got a lot on our agenda—we talked about these things at Camp David. And one of the things that we know we achieved with regulatory relief and historic tax reform is: We’re getting the economy growing faster. But there are tens of millions of Americans who are still slipping through the cracks. There are a lot of people in this country that aren’t being counted in those unemployment statistics. We have got to pull them off the sidelines and get them back in the game. We’ve got more work to do to work on people—getting them the skills they need so they can get the careers that they want so they can get the lives that they deserve.
“That’s what the promise of this economy and this country offers. And so that is going to be one of our big focuses this year, is making sure that we close that skills gap, close that opportunity gap, and get people off the sidelines and back in the game so that they can make the American Dream for themselves as they define it. That’s something we’re really excited about.
“We’re also going to be focusing on our military. You’ve heard us talk about this over and over again. Brad Wenstrup and others here on Armed Services can give you chapter and verse on how dire the need is to improve our military. Improve the readiness, give our warfighters the resources they need, the training resources they need. That is one of the things we ran on in our Better Way agenda. That is going to be one of our primary focuses this year, is getting the men and the women in the military the resources that they need—and getting General Mattis the budget he needs—to begin the hard work of rebuilding our military.
“So that’s something you’re going to see us do, and that’s something that we’re working with our friends in the House and the Senate on, [on] a bipartisan basis. We’ve got a lot to do this year. We’re excited about the work. We’ve got more work and more successes to build on. And that’s why we’re excited about coming back in 2018.”