House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Overnight Finance: GOP faces dilemma on spending bills | CEOs push Congress on tax rules | Trump talks energy MORE said “the makeup of our entire government is on the ballot this fall,” pledging to lay out a conservative agenda to fix the United States’ problems.
Ryan has spent his four months as speaker trying to reshape the job he inherited and lay out a policy-driven platform amid the anger of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Senate Republicans are also at risk of losing their 54-46 majority, and Republican leaders have vowed against acting on a Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13.
“We have to have an agenda. It has to be very crystal clear. It has to be specific,” Ryan said. “Or will we get back to this system, this liberal political philosophy, which I think is condescending, arrogant and paternalistic, where we cede our authority as people, our power and our money to a distant federal bureaucracy that is out of touch, that doesn’t know us and that is unaccountable.”
Ryan said his emphasis on agenda comes from his failed vice presidential bid as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012.
“The big lesson that I got in 2012 is if you wait until convention time to lay out an agenda to the country, it’s already too late," Ryan said. "It’s already kind of lost in the white noise and the narrative of the campaign.”
Ryan laid out five focus areas for lawmakers as part of the agenda-shaping effort: economic growth, fighting poverty, a “patient-centered” alternative to the Affordable Care Act, national security and separation of powers.