BALTIMORE — Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanCongress, the time is now for tax reform to get our economy moving Pelosi: 'Of course' Dems can be against abortion Five fights for Trump’s first year MORE (R-Wis.) said he didn’t watch the GOP presidential debate Thursday night and declined to offer his opinion about whether Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzWeek ahead in tech: Trump's antitrust pick heads before Senate Week ahead: Senate panel to vote on Trump's FDA pick Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (R-Texas) is eligible to run for president.
Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother, quarreled during the debate with GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who has repeatedly raised questions about Cruz’s eligibility. A Texas attorney filed a lawsuit saying Cruz doesn’t meet the constitutional requirement that a presidential candidate must be a “natural born citizen.”
Told that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the party's 2008 presidential nominee, has said Cruz’s eligibility should be examined, Ryan replied: “I haven’t it given a second’s worth of thought.”
Flanked by his leadership team, Ryan told reporters that the three-day “issues” retreat marked the beginning of an aggressive agenda congressional Republicans will offer in 2016. The goal: to paint a contrast with Democrats in an election year. The agenda will focus on five areas: national security, jobs and economic growth, healthcare, poverty and opportunity, and constitutional issues.
“Starting today, we will begin developing a bold, pro-growth agenda to take to the country,” said Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick in 2012. “By giving the people a clear choice in 2016, we can earn a mandate to do big things in 2017 and beyond.”
Many are expecting a protracted battle for the GOP nomination this year because of the large field of candidates. So the new Speaker wants a Republican agenda in place before voters pick a standard-bearer in Cleveland in July. To wait until summer might be too late, Ryan said.
“I expect that we will have a complete agenda by the time that we have a nominee,” Ryan said. “Look, this is nothing short of a generational-defining moment that we are in. The country is crying out for solutions; the country is crying out to be unified; the country is crying out for a positive vision that brings us all together.
“We want a confident America, and now is time to get to work.”