Paul Ryan: President’s Tax Reform Plan Is ‘Exactly What We Need to Do’

House speaker says he's confident Congress will pass a bill that will let most Americans file on a postcard

by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 12 Oct 2017 at 1:31 PM

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that it’s time for Congress to “unrig the deal,” “unrig the economy,” and “unrig the tax code” by fulfilling President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to deliver meaningful tax reform.

Ryan said that the president’s speech on tax reform Wednesday in Pennsylvania was music to his ears, and that the kind of reform Trump described is “exactly what we need to do” to honor the mandate the American people gave the GOP — when they elected Republicans to the White House and majorities in the House and Senate. Noting that the House worked closely on its tax reform framework with Trump and the Senate, Ryan said it’s imperative that the president’s agenda is passed.

"It's literally nine out 10 taxpayers under our plan can do their taxes on a postcard. And [Trump's] exactly right. The people who have all these loopholes snuck into the tax code are not going to like it," he said, adding that "an army of special interests" will "descend upon Capitol Hill in a matter of days to try and defend the status quo."

But the status quo, Ryan warned, represents "a rigged deal where well-connected people, well-off people, can hire accountants and lawyers to navigate this code and get a good deal for them, but leaves everybody else stuck with higher tax rates and higher taxes."

"So the whole purpose of this is to unrig the deal, unrig the economy, unrig the tax code, get rid of those loopholes, and just lower everybody's tax rates and simplify the system," he continued.

Noting that the House has passed 337 bills so far under the Trump administration, Ryan rebuked the Senate for allowing 274 of those bills to languish. The House speaker also warned that the American people will not tolerate a failure on tax reform after the Senate failed to follow in the House's footsteps and deliver a repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

“The Senate kind of went sideways on us," he said. "So we've got more work to get done over there to get this agenda passed."

When LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham asked Ryan why he can't exert more influence on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and reluctant GOP senators to pressure them into passing tax reform, the House speaker argued that he has been playing "hardball" with the Senate.

"And like I said, we're racking and stacking here in the House. We're doing our jobs," Ryan said. "We passed Kate's Law. We passed sanctuary cities [bill]. We passed repeal and replace of Dodd-Frank. We passed repeal and replace of health care. We passed our budget, which balances the budget and pays down the debt. So we're doing our job here in the House and we're just pushing, pushing, pushing."

The tax bill the House is pushing is "the bill the president asked us to pass," which was "drafted and requested" by the president's Office of Management and Budget, the House speaker said as he expressed his optimism that the Senate will follow in the House's footsteps and step up to the plate.

“The reason we are so excited and bullish on tax reform is because we're going to use the tool — which is about once a year you get to use this thing called reconciliation — where [the senators] can't filibuster," Ryan said. "Those 274 bills we've got sitting over in the Senate? Those bills can be filibustered. That means Chuck Schumer can wage a filibuster and require 60 votes and gum up the works, which is what he's doing."

"On tax reform, because we'll put it through what we call reconciliation," he added. "Chuck Schumer can't filibuster it."

When Ingraham asked Ryan to respond to fellow Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy's claims earlier on the show that the GOP "will absolutely get destroyed" if tax reform isn't passed, the House speaker said, "I think he's right."

"I think we need to keep our word. And I think the economy is ready to take off if only we get government off of people's backs. That starts with getting people more of their own money back, cutting taxes and referring the code," he said. "I think [Duffy's] right, which is the country needs us. The country is expecting this thing. We made a commitment, and we need to keep that commitment."

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