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Friday, February 5, 2016

 11:26 AM 

Ryan Rundown: Speaker calls for GOP to 'unite the clans'

In this week's Ryan Rundown: President Barack Obama had lunch Tuesday with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

It was the first meeting between the two since Ryan became House speaker last year. Topics on the table included the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, Puerto Rico's financial woes and financing the president's proposed "moonshot" effort to cure cancer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who attended a pre-lunch meeting with Ryan and Obama, shot down the idea of taxpayer-funded relief for the U.S. territory.

Ryan expressed hope legislators could work with the president on reforms to the criminal justice and mental health systems. But the meeting coincided with a House vote to override Obama's veto of legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, emphasizing the rift between the speaker and the president.

And Ryan faced further conflict Tuesday afternoon when he met with House Freedom Caucus members to sell his congressional budget plan. Members of the conservative bloc sought cuts to spending, advocating for a budget that matches 2013 sequestration levels.

Referencing the movie "Braveheart," Ryan told the Heritage Action Policy Summit on Wednesday that Republicans must "unite the clans." He urged conservatives to avoid conflict ahead of the 2016 election, warning internal strife could fracture the party and deliver an easy victory to Democrats in November.


- Obama and Paul Ryan have a lunch date, but compromise wasn't on the menu

- Obama and Paul Ryan have lunch and consider a wary truce

- Paul Ryan and Barack Obama lunch to search for common ground [Reuters]

- Ryan raises issue of visa waivers in first meeting with Obama [Boyer]

- Obama to hold first meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan

- Obama, Ryan to lunch at White House Tuesday, with full menu of issues

- Obama to meet one-on-one with Paul Ryan this week

- Paul Ryan faces his first uprising

- Ryan hosts budget meeting with House Freedom Caucus. It didn't go well.

- Paul Ryan calls for unity, less anger from his fractious GOP

- Paul Ryan to conservatives: Put down your arms. I'm one of you.

- Ryan to urge conservative unity

- Paul Ryan tells [Heritage Action] conservatives: It's time to 'unite the clans' [DeBonis]

- Paul Ryan to tea party, 2016 GOPers: We can't be 'angry reactionaries' [Kirkland]

- Paul Ryan invokes 'Braveheart' in call for Republican unity [Walker]

- Paul Ryan calls for truce with conservatives, says Republican infighting benefits Obama

- Ryan huddles with Romney, Walker at Palm Beach [fundraising] retreat

- Ryan to hold reception [in Feb] for endangered Iowa Rep. Rod Blum

- House Republicans to push Puerto Rico bill by end of March

- Speaker Ryan targets health care

- D.C. madam defender has a new target: Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell

- Planned Parenthood calls for Paul Ryan to end congressional investigation of practices

- House Speaker Paul Ryan to speak at Janesville Craig High School

- Alicia Keys calls out Paul Ryan and asks for criminal justice system reform

- Paul Ryan watched a really strange Netflix show

- Paul Ryan's favorite news websites

- Ryan picks Panthers in Super Bowl


- Hrafnkell Haraldsson: Ryan says, 'If we make it an ideas contest, we win.' But to have an ideas contest, you have to actually have some ideas.

- Paul Waldman: Paul Ryan to tea party: You are the problem

- Jennifer Rubin: Paul Ryan woos the gadflies

- Matt Fuller: Paul Ryan to Heritage Action: Can you not?


Thursday, February 4, 2016

 11:40 AM 

Ryan calls for conservatives to unite around pro-growth agenda

House Speaker Paul Ryan Wednesday called on conservatives to unite around a pro-growth agenda and to avoid falling "into the progressives' trap of acting like angry reactionaries."

He warned President Obama will focus on issues such as guns to "knock us off our game" with regular distractions.

"Let's not fight over tactics. Don't impugn people's motives," the Janesville Republican said. "We have to be straight with each other, and more importantly, we have to be straight with the American people. We can't promise that we can repeal Obamacare when a guy with the last name Obama is still our president. All that does is, it sets us up for failure and disappointment and recriminations."

The comments at the Heritage Action Policy Summit mirrored past remarks Ryan has made about Republicans offering voters a vision to get America back on track. Still, some noted the summit helps set the tone for conservative policymaking in Congress.

See his prepared remarks:

 9:33 AM 

Wendy Riemann column: Advantageous Advocacy: Honesty is the best policy

By Wendy Riemann
WASHINGTON, DC -- Honesty is the best policy... really. At home. At work. When advocating.

Whether it’s an outright lie, a lie by omission, a lie because you didn’t do your homework, or a lie of plausible deniability, where you think the onus should be on the government worker to ultimately fact-check you – it is usually found out – and will sink your efforts.

Little secret: many government offices talk -- even across party lines -- especially in Wisconsin offices where that whole “Midwestern Nice” thing is legit. Staff members form an informal, bipartisan club of sorts and frequently exchange information and questions. While partisan-based anger may be the prevailing attitude across the country right now, most staff, on both sides of the aisle are still diplomatic public servants eager to get the job done and get it done right. 

Once a lobbyist came in to see me on behalf of a cause and swore a certain member of Congress was supportive – even said that representative was absolutely endorsing it at an upcoming hearing. My gut told me the lobbyist's issue and the member’s position were probably not on the same page. When the lobbyist left, I picked up the phone, called the member’s aide and asked the office position. That’s when I was told, “No, we made it clear we’re not endorsing it at all. We simply said we could, and would, ask a neutral question on it in the hearing."

Was this a misunderstanding between the lobbyist and the congressional office? Perhaps. But the reason I immediately called to check was because that lobbyist had already lost credibility with me on a similar issue in the past. At this point, ALL credibility was lost, with me, as well as with the member’s aide, who was not surprised this lobbyist was given an inch and tried to sell it for a mile. Two battleships sunk. Oh, and that issue also needed Senate committee support. The Senate committee person responded with, “Yeah, I fact-check everything [lobbyist name] says. I don’t understand why people keep hiring [lobbyist name].” 

Three battleships sunk. Two political parties. One lobbyist and a cause that would not be moving quickly.

Government employees many times feel compelled to accept a meeting, at least once, with a lobbyist or group on an issue, whether they like said lobbyist or not (and contrary to what some in the public may believe, most lobbyists that I have encountered are good, honest people with a reasonable cause). What is more, Hill staff often take several meetings with a group. However, that does not mean an aide is always going to encourage or invite the boss to join the meeting, or that the aide will bend over backward to help them if the lobbyist is not trusted. Once credibility is lost, well, that ship has sailed. 

I still needed to meet with that lobbyist on other issues. But I no longer gave the benefit of the doubt – only doubt. The trust-but-verify attitude I had when we first met, was now just verify, even when I wanted to engage on the issue. 

Bottom line: successful advocacy takes time and requires building relationships and earning trust. It is a marathon, not a sprint, so never, ever, lie. If you unintentionally misrepresent a situation or fact, correct it immediately in the meeting, with a follow-up email, or pick up the phone. If you burn one office, word will spread. Credibility will be ruined with more than one person, and where does that leave you and your issue? Sunk. 

-- Riemann is president of 1492 Communications, a consulting firm. She can be reached at: wendy@1492communications.com.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

 5:06 PM 

Ryan meets with Obama

Speaker Paul Ryan met personally with President Obama today for the first time since becoming House leader.

Ryan’s office said they met with Vice President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on possible opportunities of agreement this year.

The Janesville Republican specifically mentioned reforming the criminal justice and mental health systems, according to Ryan’s office.

Ryan and Obama had lunch following the meeting.

Friday, January 29, 2016

 11:59 AM 

Ryan Rundown: Ryan raises money, seeks 'mandate election'

In this week's Ryan Rundown: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said he worries election turmoil within the GOP could deliver "victory by default" to Dems in 2016.

With the goal of establishing party consensus early, Ryan said lawmakers will roll out a comprehensive legislative plan once Republicans settle on a candidate. He said he wants a "mandate election" in 2016 for conservative policy rather than a referendum on Democratic leadership.

Ryan said continued House passage of legislation destined for veto by President Barack Obama will highlight the differences between Republicans and Democrats. He said the legislative tactic will show voters what they can expect if they elect Republicans to Congress and the White House.

The speaker rejected the idea of a last-minute presidential bid, but speculation persists delegates could draft Ryan into the race.

Besides questions about Ryan being on the ticket, the Janesville Republican saw a considerable uptick in financial support after his election to the speakership. His campaign, Team Ryan, raised $5.3 million in the last quarter of 2015 and transferred $2.5 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee in December.

Ryan put his increased financial draw to work for Republicans by appearing recently at fundraisers in Texas and Chicago.


- Against odds, Ryan seeks political Holy Grail -- a 'mandate election'

- Paul Ryan: GOP 'circular firing squad' could cost party the White House in 2016

- Is Paul Ryan a 2016 dark horse?

- Could Paul Ryan emerge as last-minute presidential candidate?

- Paul Ryan draws Obama into veto war to show voters what's at stake in 2016

- As speaker, Ryan sees fundraising windfall

- Speaker Ryan sets big Chicago fundraiser

- Republican mega donors line up behind Speaker Ryan

- Campaign donations reflect the sharp split in Congress among Republicans

- 'I'm the most conservative speaker': Wisconsin's Paul Ryan rebuts RINO charge

- Paul Ryan shares thoughts on first months as speaker

- How would Paul Ryan replace Obamacare? Only time will tell

- Ga. Democrat, Paul Ryan find common ground in poverty fight

- Paul Ryan to Hugh Hewitt: Obama lives in 'fantasyland'

- Grothman defends Paul Ryan, voting record

- Ryan to keynote Heritage Action Policy Summit next week

- Will Paul Ryan lead Congress to a new war authorization?

- Cold weather, hot beats: Web jams to Paul Ryan's live stream of snowy Capitol

- Paul Ryan broadcasts live blizzard feed from Capitol [Noble]

- See it: House Speaker Paul Ryan broadcasts '#Snowzilla' with funky live stream of National Mall [Salinger]

- Canadian DJ behind 'funky jam' on Paul Ryan's snowstorm live stream speaks out for first time

- Rising red ink poses challenges for the GOP


- Matthew Continetti: Paul Ryan goes on offense

- Jeffrey Kupfer, Jonathan Ackerman and Rosanne Altshuler: How tax reform can get done in 2016

- Larry Kudlow: It's time to declare war on ISIS

- UC-SC Prof. Emeritus John Ellis: Paul Ryan: Donald Trump's best friend

- Paul Ryan for president


Friday, January 22, 2016

 10:34 AM 

Ryan Rundown: Speaker teases legislative plan, 'complements' Trump

In this week's Ryan Rundown: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said he sees himself as a "complement" to presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The House speaker responded to coverage portraying him as a force within the GOP, balancing the views of the real estate mogul. While Ryan has declined to comment on his preference in the 2016 presidential race, the differences between his legislative agenda and the policies proposed by Trump are highlighted by some as an ideological divide within the party.

Ryan announced a five-point agenda last week, saying House Republicans will release additional details on the plan when the presidential field narrows. The Janesville Republican's enthusiasm for his "year of ideas" contrasts to the more mundane goals of his Senate counterpart,
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who said he primarily aims to pass a budget with intact spending appropriations in the coming year.


- Donald Trump finds a foil in Paul Ryan

- Speaker Ryan emerges as counterweight to Trump

- Paul Ryan describes himself as a 'complement' to Donald Trump

- Ryan touts five-point plan to boost GOP in 2016

- Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell try to keep the peace

- Ryan implores Republicans to pick smarter fights

- Speaker Paul Ryan touts an 'inspiring' 2016

- The hole in Paul Ryan's plan to get the House working again

- Can Paul Ryan push Republicans to prioritize poverty?

- Dallas pastor, Republican speaker unlikely allies battling poverty

- GOP's budget, approps plan

- Paul Ryan visits Dallas for MLK Day

- Who was Paul Ryan's father? Paul Murray Ryan played a significant role in shaping his son's character 

- Who is Paul Ryan's wife, Janna? The former lawyer and lobbyist is incredibly accomplished


- PolitiFact: Paul Ryan says 'if you were raised poor, you're just as likely to stay poor' as 50 years ago [True]

- CNN's Lemon touts Twitter attack on Paul Ryan; labels him 'attack dog'

- Greg Sargent: Paul Ryan attacks Barack Obama for agreeing with Paul Ryan

- NYT editors: Paul Ryan attacks Obama for criticizing Muslim ban 

- Mort Kondracke: Why I'm going to write in Paul Ryan

- Robert Reich annihilates Paul Ryan's goals in new video, 'Beware Paul Ryan,' emailed to MoveOn members

- Paul Ryan promises House will do everything possible to sabotage peace with Iran

- After Paul Ryan funds visas for 300,000 Muslim migrants, House Republicans give him standing ovation

- Jonah Goldberg: Will Paul Ryan's House stand up for itself?

- Ronald Brownstein: Why Paul Ryan is becoming the counter-Trump

- CBO: 2016 deficit jumps $130 billion after House Speaker Paul Ryan's omnibus budget deal


Thursday, January 21, 2016

 2:05 PM 

Column: Advantageous Advocacy: An introduction

By Wendy Riemann

WASHINGTON, DC -- “We gave the Hill our bill language during our fly-in last year, and the Representative introduced it, so why isn’t it law yet,” the leader of the group asked me in genuine frustration.

The leader did not realize that in the 113th Congress, January 3, 2013 – January 2, 2015, a total of 10,637 bills and resolutions were introduced, and only 296, or a mere 3 percent, were enacted
into law, according to GovTrack.  In the 114th Congress, starting January 6, 2015 until January 15, 2016, a total of 7,993 bills and resolutions had been introduced, with 115, or 1 percent, enacted into law.  As the Schoolhouse Rock video, “I’m Just a Bill,” reminds us, the vast majority of bills introduced in Congress never even get a committee hearing, let alone actually become law.

It was experiences like this one that compelled me to create this column.

During the past decade of working at various levels of government, I observed countless businesses, groups, and associations advocating a cause and lobbying on legislation.  Sometimes it was done well and led to the launch of a governor’s initiative, or resulted in a bill becoming a law, or caused language in a proposed federal rule to be withdrawn.  Other times, I privately shook my head in disbelief as a group was not invited back or witnessed an issue fade quickly because of poor advocacy.

Last October, I left Gov. Scott Walker's D.C. office after more than four years as Wisconsin’s director of federal relations.  Prior to that, I spent time on Capitol Hill, at a federal agency, and in Florida’s governor’s office.  I have been lobbied a lot.  I have friends and co-workers who have been lobbied even more than me, and I’ve listened to many of their experiences.  In so many cases, better communication and interaction would have led to much better outcomes.

This column's primary goal is to help readers become more successful in communicating and advocating their message to government offices.

Twice each month I will share messages about honesty always being the best policy, the importance of the FUP (What’s a FUP? You’ll need to read!), timeliness, thank you notes, some D.C. nuts and bolts, and more.

Advantageous Advocacy is not a gossip column, so I will never, ever “out” anyone, but I hope we will all grow from various examples.

If you have experiences or comments you would like to share – good or bad – please do.  

-- Riemann is president of 1492 Communications, a consulting firm. She can be reached at: wendy@1492communications.com.

Friday, January 15, 2016

 12:05 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Ryan prominent at State of the Union, anti-poverty summit

In this week's Ryan Rundown: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan attended his first State of the Union as speaker of the House.

He criticized Barack Obama's speech, saying the president's critical tone of Donald Trump and other GOP candidates "degrades the presidency."

Ryan sat next to Vice President Joe Biden during the speech, prompting commentary on Twitter for the speaker's "poker face" over the president's shoulder. While Ryan used Obama's final State of the Union address to underscore his differences with the president, the speaker praised South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's Republican response, calling her a "visionary … inclusive leader."

The Janesville Republican was the subject of praise for his speech at the recent Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity. Ryan said conservatives must develop a strategy to respond to the 45 million Americans who live in poverty, prompting some to declare him the winner of the anti-poverty summit, which drew several GOP presidential candidates.

But Ryan also continued to clash with House Republicans, this time over the time allocated for voting. After warning lawmakers he would not accommodate late votes, Ryan closed voting on Iran sanction legislation after the allocated 15 minutes, leaving 137 lawmakers out of the vote.

The bill passed 191 to 106, but GOP leaders vacated the vote, citing protests from absent Republicans. The House will vote again on the measure during the week of Jan. 25.


- Barack Obama and Paul Ryan share the stage at State of Union speech

- Paul Ryan: Obama's State of the Union 'degrades the presidency'

- Paul Ryan's SOTU 'poker face' mocked on Twitter

- Ryan practicing his 'poker face' for State of the Union

- Joe Biden and Paul Ryan: The State of the Union's odd couple

- Paul Ryan's beard is shaved for 'fresh' look for the State of the Union

- It's official: President Obama has broken up with Congress

- Paul Ryan: Nikki Haley has 'extremely bright' future in GOP

- House Conservatives: Not willing to 'play dead' for Ryan

- Ryan, McConnell lead in different directions

- McConnell and Ryan try to get along

- Paul Ryan is rapidly emerging as Republicans' anti-Trump

- Paul Ryan dreams of a kinder, more substantive GOP

- Paul Ryan calls on Republicans to be 'inspirational and inclusive'

- Ryan: GOP must be 'inspirational, inclusive'

- Ryan says House will go 'on offense' in 2016

- Why Paul Ryan may have to give up on his legislative agenda

- Ryan emerges as 'big winner' from poverty summit featuring GOP prez candidates

- Paul Ryan, haunted by the past and concerned for the GOP's future, puts poverty in the spotlight

- Paul Ryan thrusts poverty into 2016 conversation

- Paul Ryan turns the GOP presidential race toward a forgotten issue: poverty

- Why Paul Ryan stopped referring to 'makers' and 'takers'

- As Speaker Paul Ryan focuses on poverty, he admits he was 'wrong' to refer to people using government assistance as 'takers'

- Paul Ryan regrets skipping poor neighborhoods in VP run

- Paul Ryan pushes Republicans to make poverty an issue

- Speaker Ryan chastises lawmakers for late votes

- Speaker Ryan closes Iran vote swiftly to punish tardiness

- Paul Ryan to House: When there's a vote, folks have to show up on time

- Paul Ryan cuts off Iran vote in rebuff to tardy lawmakers

- Hey, Congress! Paul Ryan does not like it when you're tardy

- How a third of Congress just thumbed their noses at Paul Ryan

- Can Paul Ryan save the GOP from itself?

- How Paul Ryan is quietly shaping the presidential race

- S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, House Speaker Paul Ryan offer new GOP answer to Trump

- Paul Ryan: 'Of course I will' support Donald Trump if he is the nominee

- Paul Ryan brings a dose of Kemp optimism into the 2016 campaign

- Ryan, Haley offer messages of diversity as antidote to Donald Trump

- Speaker Paul Ryan uses Gov. Nikki Haley to stab at Trump's immigration-reform plans

- Paul Ryan wonders why Obama didn't cry over ISIS attacks

- Paul Ryan wants to know why Obama cried over 20 murdered first-graders but not ISIS beheadings

- Paul Ryan orders closer look at authorizing war against ISIS

- Three things we didn't know about Paul Ryan

- House Speaker Paul Ryan: A day in his life, his thoughts on the candidates

- CBS host hits Paul Ryan for latest Obamacare repeal attempt: 'How is that an alternative?'

- Ryan formally signs Obamacare repeal bill

- Congress sends health law repeal to Obama for first time

- Paul Ryan invites nuns fighting Obamacare mandate to SOTU

- For all their political differences, Biden and Ryan share striking similarities


- Dick Morris: Paul Ryan backed huge budget bill to avoid shutdown

- Rebecca Vallas: Paul Ryan's anti-poverty summit: A test of Republicans' sincerity on poverty

- Tommy Christopher: Friendly fire: Paul Ryan busts Paul Ryan for saying there's no gun show loophole

- Steve Benen: Paul Ryan captures what's wrong with the gun debate

- Bob Lonsberry: Hey Paul Ryan -- Thanks for nothing

- CO editorial: Paul Ryan's push against poverty

- Charles Pierce: Reminder: Paul Ryan is the biggest fake in American politics ... What are the gobshites saying these days?

- Aaron Hanlon: Ayn Rand will destroy the GOP: Paul Ryan, gun control and the brazen, cynical politics of self-interest

- Julia Hahn: House of cards: Paul Ryan's campaign to mislead voters on his immigration stance

- Paul Ryan: Water rules show EPA's overreach

- Yael Abouhalkah: Speaker Paul Ryan mocked mercilessly after dissing President Obama

- Jennifer Rubin: Paul Ryan says what few pols say

- David Dagan: Paul Ryan could take the easy road on criminal justice reform. He shouldn't

- Paul Krugman: Paul Ryan dada

- Steve Benen: Paul Ryan struggles to explain Obama-era economy


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