Ryan defends Trump's Carrier deal

Ryan defends Trump's Carrier deal
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi: 'Thug' Putin not welcome in Congress Interior fast tracks study of drilling's Arctic impact: report Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia MORE (R-Wis.) on Thursday defended President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump warns Iran's Rouhani: Threaten us 'and you will suffer' Pompeo: Iran's leaders resemble the mafia NYT's Haberman: Trump 'often tells the truth' MORE’s deal that offers millions of dollars in tax incentives to prevent an Indiana manufacturer from sending 1,000 jobs to Mexico.

Ryan called it “pretty darn good” that those Americans would remain employed.

Indiana plans to give Carrier Corp.’s parent company $7 million in tax breaks over the next decade to keep those jobs in the state, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

Ryan got two pointed questions from reporters about the Carrier deal. But the Speaker dismissed suggestions that Trump and Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump, Pence offer condolences to families of Missouri boat tour victims GOP to hold 2020 convention in Charlotte Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE’s involvement somehow violated the conservative, free-market principles that Ryan has championed during his career. 

Pence, Ryan noted, is still the sitting governor of Indiana and would be expected to try to keep jobs in the Hoosier State. Both Trump and Pence will fly to Indianapolis on Thursday to celebrate the Carrier deal. 

“I’m pretty happy that we’re keeping jobs in America, aren’t you?” Ryan asked during a news conference in the Capitol. “I don’t know the details of the Carrier arrangement, but what I do know is that Mike Pence is still the sitting governor of Indiana. And I have no doubt that he probably had a hand in helping this, and this is what governors do.”

The Speaker said he talks frequently with his home state’s governor, Scott Walker (R), about keeping jobs in Wisconsin or attracting jobs to the state. 

“That’s something that is pretty common for state level of government to do,” Ryan said. “I don’t know the details of this, but I think it’s pretty darn good people are keeping their jobs in Indiana instead of going to Mexico.”

An overhaul of the tax code, Ryan argued, would provide the greatest incentive for businesses to stay and invest in the United States. 

“Comprehensive tax reform ... is all about making the Tax Code far better and more competitive for American businesses to stay in America,” Ryan said. “I don’t know  the contours of what Carrier is experiencing, but we tax our businesses at much higher tax rates than our competitors tax theirs. Our corporate rate is 35 percent, the average in the industrialized world is 24 percent.”

“Tax reform is central to fixing this problem,” he concluded.

Ryan met with Pence on Wednesday in the Capitol, but the Speaker said the Carrier deal was not discussed.

- Updated at 3:01 p.m.