Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanMeet Trump's secret weapon on infrastructure Here comes Trump-o-nomics GOP waiting to hear from Trump on ObamaCare MORE (R-Wis.) said Sunday that he isn’t hearing enough from President Obama about plans to “finish off” militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“I get the sense that [Defense] Secretary [Chuck] Hagel and [Army] Gen. [Martin] Dempsey understand the gravity of the situation. Candidly, … I don't want to hear from the president how he's reacting to events like the Mosul Dam,” the House Budget Committee chairman said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“What I want to hear from our commander-in-chief is that he has a strategy to finish ISIS off. To defeat ISIS,” Ryan said. “If we don't deal with this threat now thoroughly and convincingly, it's going to come home to roost.”
Ryan said generals should determine that strategy.
“I don't want to be an armchair general and tell you how this needs to be done, but I would reference the fact that Gen. Dempsey did say, to do this correctly, that Syria is going to have to be a part of this equation,” he said.
The 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee defended criticism of Republican attempts to shut down the government last fall in his new book even though he didn’t attack the strategy then.
Ryan said he stayed quiet during the 2013 shutdown fight “because I want party unity.”
“I don't think it was constructive for conservatives to be carping at each other,” he said. “At the same time, the purpose of that passage is to try and unify our party. I don't think we can succeed if all we do is criticize and define what we are against.
“And the whole point of that was you actually can't stop an entitlement with a government shutdown,” Ryan continued. “Entitlements like Medicare, Social Security and ObamaCare continue on as is. So I didn't think it was really legitimate to tell the country we could stop it unilaterally in the House.”
Ryan, who is thought to be considering a 2016 presidential bid of his own, said the overall purpose of his book, The Way Forward: Renewing The American Idea, “is to show the country that [Republicans] have better ideas” than Democrats.
“We needed to define ourselves as what we are in favor of just as much as what we're opposed to,” he said. “And look, I don't like the track the country's on. I think we're on the wrong track. And as an elected leader I feel I have an obligation to say what principles and policies I would put in place instead, to renew the American idea and get the country going.”