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Monday, November 23, 2015

 9:12 AM 

Kind joins GOP House delegation in backing refugee screening bill

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, joined his GOP colleagues from the state's House delegation in supporting a bill that would block Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the U.S. without first going through strict background checks.

The White House pushed back against the bill. But the 289-137 vote was more than the two-thirds majority of those voting that would be needed to override a veto. Eight lawmakers did not vote on the bill, including two Republicans who could push the tally past the 290-vote mark needed for a two-thirds majority if all 435 members cast ballots.

Dems Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, and Mark Pocan, D-Madison, opposed the bill.

See the roll call:

Friday, November 20, 2015

 5:36 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Speaker Ryan seeks halt to Syrian refugee program

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan announced his intention to block the nation's intake of refugees from Syria, expressing concerns that terrorists from the region could use the program to gain entry to the United States.

At a news conference early in the week, Ryan said "we cannot allow terrorists to take advantage of our compassion. This is a moment where it is better to be safe than to be sorry." He rejected critical comments from President Barack Obama, who accused Republicans of "political posturing." Ryan called Obama's actions in the Syrian refugee crisis "remarkably unpresidential" during an appearance on Fox News.

On Thursday, the House passed a bill that would block Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the U.S. without first going through strict background checks. The White House pushed back against the bill. But the 289-137 vote was more than the two-thirds majority of those voting that would be needed to override a veto. Eight lawmakers did not vote on the bill, including two Republicans who could push the tally past the 290-vote mark needed for a two-thirds majority if all 435 members cast ballots.

Ryan had faced considerable pressure from Republicans to halt Syrian entry, with all of the GOP presidential candidates expressing support for limits on refugee intake. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee even called for the speaker to step down if unable to stop the flow of Syrian refugees, and Ben Carson penned a letter to Ryan asking for Congress to block funding for programs that resettle those fleeing Syria.

Ryan also weighed in on the GOP presidential field, anticipating a long-haul race that will prove unpredictable. He said it would be a mistake to dismiss the outsider candidates Ben Carson and Donald Trump.

But Ryan said he "can't imagine" how GOP frontrunner Donald Trump's call to detain and deport an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants would work, and said he does not support the plan. While the Janesville Republican expressed support for a pathway to legal status, he told "60 Minutes" he won't support a path to full citizenship.

Ryan said he remains open to working with the Obama Administration on other policy issues, including the federal budget and a highway funding bill.


- Paul Ryan calls for pause in refugee program

- House Speaker Paul Ryan under pressure to stop funding for Syrian refugees

- GOP Candidates Pressure Paul Ryan to Halt Syrian Refugee Funding

- House Freedom Caucus Chairman: No Commitment From Paul Ryan To Block Import of Muslim Refugees

- House Speaker Paul Ryan: GOP could block Syrian refugee funding

- Mike Huckabee to House Speaker Paul Ryan: 'Stop the Flow of Terrorists to America' or else 'Step Down'

- Huckabee Calls For Paul Ryan To 'Step Down Today' If He Can't Stop Refugees

- Paul Ryan calls for halt to Syrian refugee program

- Paul Ryan calls for 'pause' in Syrian refugee program [Gilbert]

- Paul Ryan calls for pause in refugee program [Walsh, Barrett]

- Paul Ryan moves forward on Syria refugee strategy [Plott]

- Speaker Paul Ryan wants House vote this week to 'pause' Syrian-refugee resettlement [Mascaro]

- Paul Ryan: House may pitch bill blocking Syrian refugees ... Many congressional Republicans are insisting that it's impossible to adequately vet Syrian refugees. [Foley, Fuller]

- House likely to vote Thursday on Syrian refugee bill

- Paul Ryan Steers Refugee Bill, and Some Cover, to a House Vote

- Paul Ryan, House GOP Leaders Set The Stage For Coming Cave To Obama's Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program

- The speaker of the House on 60 Minutes

- Unaired clips from Paul Ryan's '60 Minutes' interview

- Paul Ryan: 'I do not' advocate rounding up and deporting illegal immigrants

- CBS's Pelley accuses Paul Ryan of 'blowing chalk dust in the president's face'

- Speaker Paul Ryan opposes Donald Trump's immigration plan

- Paul Ryan 'can't imagine' Trump's immigration plan happening

- Paul Ryan: No mass deportations on my watch

- Paul Ryan expects protracted, unpredictable GOP race

- Paul Ryan says Trump's mass-deportation plan wouldn't pass the House

- Paul Ryan says he'll work with Obama, just not on immigration

- Paul Ryan hopes to find 'common ground' with Obama

- Ryan task force proposes power realignment

- Here's how Paul Ryan wants to start reforming the House

- Paul Ryan Faces Political Check With Steering Overhaul

- David Hoppe 'leaning into the storm' as Speaker Ryan's top aide

- Rep. Paul Ryan on Hannity: Obama's actions 'remarkably unpresidential'

- Paul Ryan: Obama "Playing Politics" Over Refugees Is "Remarkably Unpresidential," Pause Flow Until They Can Be Checked Properly

- Paul Ryan Tells Sean Hannity He Will Not Support Any Cuts To Muslim Immigration: 'That's Not Who We Are'

- Paul Ryan Loses House Judiciary Chairman On Syrian Refugees Plan: ABC station reports GOodlatte wants 1-yr moratorium on Syrian refugees

- House Speaker Paul Ryan warns of budget, Guantanamo confrontations with White House

- House Freedom Caucus Eyes Paul Ryan and Its Bolstered Relevance

- With Paul Ryan as speaker, what's in it for Wisconsin?

- Paul Ryan stays close to home while others junketeer


- Dan Bice: Paul Ryan won't return $25,500 in donations from disgraced ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert

- Ellin Jimmerson: The trouble with Jim Wallis's promise to Paul Ryan on immigration

- Coen ter Wal: Speaker Paul Ryan: Policy wonk or ideologue?

- U.S. Rep. Dave Brat: What Americans want Paul Ryan (and other lawmakers) to do

- Sarah Jones: Pathological liar Paul Ryan shows he knows nothing about ISIS and refugees

- Laura Ingraham: Paul Ryan Is "Using The Language Of The Left To Advocate A New Republican Way Forward"

-- By Samantha Nash


Friday, November 13, 2015

 6:35 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Ryan enjoys early wins; budget concerns and congressional approval loom

In this Ryan Rundown: Speaker Paul Ryan's week was off to a strong start with an early victory in the House passage of a multiyear transportation bill with some bipartisan support. The funding plan authorized around $340 billion over six years, with a last-minute amendment that could add another $40 billion to the total.

And Ryan's chosen successor for the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee, U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, beat out challenger U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, in a closed-door meeting of the House Steering Committee. The vote is predicted to be the last of the Steering Committee in its current form, as Ryan has vowed to overhaul the internal functions of the committee-assigning panel before Thanksgiving.

Despite early wins, some news outlets questioned how long Ryan's honeymoon phase with Republican lawmakers will last. The specter of government shutdown still looms as conservative Republicans remain skeptical of the $80 billion two-year budget ahead of the Dec. 11 deadline. In response, Ryan formed an advisory group that will hold weekly sessions to discuss policy items like Planned Parenthood funding and increased control of the Environmental Protection Agency, which are sticking points for some conservative contingents.

The Janesville Republican was the target of criticism from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, for his pledge to delay immigration reform until President Barack Obama leaves office in 2017. Durbin pointed to Ryan's previous support of a "path to earned legalization," excerpted from a speech in 2013, entreating the speaker to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Finally, Ryan's biggest hurdle may be overcoming a 41-year low in congressional approval. Shortly after he assumed the speakership, a new Gallup poll found 86 percent of Americans disapprove of the U.S. Congress. Just 8 percent of Republican respondents said they approved of Congress, dipping below a similarly low 11 percent approval from Democrats, and 13 percent from independents.


- Ryan notches a transportation win

- House passes highway bill under new Speaker Paul Ryan

- Disapproval of Congress at 41-year high

- Americans welcome Paul Ryan by giving Congress its worst rating of the year

- Top Democrat slams Paul Ryan's reversal on immigration reform

- Durbin pressures Ryan on immigration reform

- Ex-immigration reformers Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan tack right as their profiles rise

- House GOP seeks flood of foreign 'guest workers,' Offers 'seasonal' help to tourism, hospitality, trucking, forestry, seafood industries

- Will Paul Ryan measure up to his mentor Jack Kemp?

- Kevin Brady set to take Paul Ryan's tax-writing chairmanship in House

- Powerful House panel likely to dump committee chairs

- Ryan forms task force to overhaul powerful Steering Committee

- Paul Ryan's first week as House speaker: 'Wiping the slate clean,' but for how long?

- What Paul Ryan's first week says about his future

- Looming shutdown may end Paul Ryan's honeymoon with conservatives

- Paul Ryan seen as boost to criminal justice reform push, members of the House and Senate told The Hill

- New Speaker Paul Ryan presides over a more open House, for now, for better or worse

- How Paul Ryan is already changing Congress

- Paul Ryan Serves Warning to Obama: 'He Can't' Close Guantanamo

- Paul Ryan warns Obama against closing Guantanamo Bay

- Newt Gingrich, at La Crosse book-signing, reflects on speaker Paul Ryan

- Rand Paul on Paul Ryan: He will be no different than Boehner

- Ryan: I'm OK with bills failing

- Speaker Paul Ryan: I've always been a flat tax guy

- Ryan takes crowdsourcing approach to spending bills

- De Blasio joins call from mayors across the country for House Speaker Paul Ryan to renew Zadroga Act for 9/11 responders

- New York pols ask Speaker Ryan to renew 9/11 responders bill

- House Republicans eye targets beyond Planned Parenthood

- Even as House Speaker, Paul Ryan Sleeps in His Office

- Paul Ryan, highest-ranking member of Congress' cot club

- [photographic] Highlights From the Fourth Republican Presidential Debate ...
Scott Walker and Paul Ryan, Looking On at What Might Have Been [pictures of Walker, Ryan and spouses in audience]

- Paul Ryan pays tribute to veterans in Racine


- Paul Mirengoff: Paul Ryan should stay away from entitlement reform next year

- Chad Pergram: Ryan extends honeymoon by saying, doing right stuff, but tough, standalone choices lie just ahead

- U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood: Paul Ryan: The fresh face the GOP needs

- Dana Milbank: How Paul Ryan can kick-start fixing Congress

- Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman: A message to Speaker Ryan: Let it go

- Michele Hickford: Uh-oh! First bill under Paul Ryan is BAD NEWS for conservatives

- Jim Manley: Paul Ryan's Spending Battle

- Anthony Wiener: Don't scoff at Paul Ryan's family-balance demands: He may have just improved our democracy

- Policy Points: Analyzing Paul Ryan's tax agenda


Friday, November 6, 2015

 3:06 PM 

Introducing the Ryan Rundown: New House speaker faces great expectations, familiar challenges

This is the first edition of the Ryan Rundown, a weekly look at news about Wisconsin's first speaker of the House.

In the week since House Republicans selected U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to succeed John Boehner as speaker, the congressman has enjoyed an outflow of support from fellow conservatives, tempered by opposition from several GOP legislators.

In addition to the challenge of uniting Republican factions within the House, observers say Ryan must work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to improve the relationship between the bodies if he wants to advance his legislative agenda. While Republicans control both chambers, many view McConnell's grip in the Senate as more tenuous due to the Democrats' ability to filibuster.

Shortly after his election, Ryan announced his reluctance to work with the White House on immigration reform. During his maneuvering before the vote, he caught flack from some critics for focusing on his family time as a condition of taking the job while continuing to oppose the expansion of paid family leave.

And although Boehner left a completed budget framework as a parting gift, Ryan will still need to ensure the measure receives congressional approval before Dec. 11. He also faces work on divisive issues such as Planned Parenthood funding, tax reform, and the highway budget bill.

Ryan also made some staff changes in the wake of his elevation to speaker. Andy Speth has moved from chief of staff to become senior advisor and Danyell Tremmel is now Ryan's chief of staff after serving most recently as his district chief of staff. Allison Steil is moving from policy director to deputy chief of staff and Katie Donnell, who joined Ryan's office in January as a legislative assistant, is now his legislative director.

See more on those changes

See below for news and opinion links on Ryan.


- Ryan notches a transportation win

- Ryan: I'm OK with bills failing

- Republicans back Paul Ryan as speaker

- Paul Ryan Set to Take Over as Speaker, Hoping to Manage the Chaos

- How Paul Ryan went from no-chance to next speaker of the House

- Paul Ryan elected House speaker: 'The House is broken'

- John Boehner hands over speaker reins to Paul Ryan

- As speaker, Paul Ryan may need to pare lofty goals

- White House offers quiet praise for one-time adversary Paul Ryan

- White House disappointed Paul Ryan won't bring up immigration reform

- Ryan fires warning shot at White House ahead of shutdown deadline

- The spending conundrum Paul Ryan still faces

- With honeymoon over, Paul Ryan vows 'to go on offense'

- Paul Ryan is a speaker everyone can get behind, but it wasn't always that way

- Paul Ryan sends a signal to the GOP's right wing

- Ryan's move could be big boost for tax reform

- Highway bill could present bumps for Paul Ryan's first week as speaker

- Highway bill debate tests Paul Ryan's promise for a more open House

- Paul Ryan defends his opposition to mandated paid family leave [Spicuzza]

- John Boehner: Paul Ryan 'recognizes' this ends White House chances

- Speaker Paul Ryan moves fast to 'detoxify' Boehner's smoky suite

- At Paul Ryan's invitation, image of Hastert takes an 'appropriate' leave from speaker's lobby

- Paul Ryan staffs up political team

- Paul Ryan doubtful about defunding Planned Parenthood

- Top Rules Committee Democrat Slaughter urges Paul Ryan to disband Benghazi, Planned Parenthood committees

- New Speaker Paul Ryan aims to ease tension with Senate

- Can Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell work together?

- Paul Ryan lands at center of a rivalry for the soul of the GOP

- 10 anti-Boehner Republicans who didn't vote for Ryan

- Two Texas Republican holdouts [Gohmert, Weber] vote against Paul Ryan for speaker


- David Brooks: The Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio moment

- Jeffrey Toobin: Paul Ryan won the right to do nothing

- GOPAC's David Avella: Paul Ryan: What to expect with new speaker in charge of the House

- Chris Cillizza: Paul Ryan is right about the House being broken. But he probably can't fix it.

- Sophia Tesfaye: Elizabeth Warren eviscerates Paul Ryan's breathtakingly bad budgets, nails roots of GOP's dysfunction

- Judd Legum: Paul Ryan Asked To Name One Thing He Can Accomplish In The Next 6 Months, Can’t Come Up With Answer

- Timothy Carney: As Ryan takes over, can he tame the reckless establishment?

- John Nichols: Paul Ryan, R-Wall Street

- PolitiFact: Paul Ryan, Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson -- our week in review

- Joan Vennochi: Paul Ryan stays in a bubble

- Jim Newell: Paul Ryan's first shutdown fight

- Stephen Myrow: Why Paul Ryan's run as speaker may be short

- Hugh Hewitt: A conservative surge from Paul Ryan, Kentucky win

By Samantha Nash


Monday, November 2, 2015

 9:52 AM 

Ryan says 'two-week conversion' led him to speaker's post

Rep. Paul Ryan may be speaker of the House now, but he's "still Paul Ryan, living in Janesville," he told Wisconsin reporters today.

He said his newest job isn't "all that different than other responsibilities" he's assumed since first taking office in 1999 at the age of 28. As chairman of the Budget Committee and then the tax-policy Ways and Means panel, he always focused on the 1st District and the Badger State, Ryan said.

"I consider the 1st District my family," Ryan said.

In explaining how he went from having no interest in succeeding John Boehner, R-Ohio, to becoming, at 45, the youngest House leader in more than 150 years, Ryan said it was a "two-week conversion."

"Mr. Speaker," is "something I never thought I'd be called," Ryan said. "I always just completely rejected it," he said of attempts over the years by colleagues to draft him for the post.

But once Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's bid to move up the ladder fizzled, Ryan went home for the scheduled weeklong recess and talked to family, friends and a lot of people whose opinions he values.

He concluded he was "called to serve" and had a duty to take on the task of trying to unify a chaotic House GOP Conference.

He also concluded the role needed a complete overhaul.

"I don't think this job would work if you just pick up where John Boehner left off," he said. He laid out his vision to fellow Republicans and most liked what they heard. Ultimately, 236 chose him as speaker, including all but six members of the rebellious House Freedom Caucus that helped drive Boehner into retirement.

That vision includes a return to "regular order" where committee chairmen will drive the legislative process and rank-and-file members will have their voices heard, Ryan told the chamber Thursday during his acceptance speech.

"The House is broken," he said. "We need to make some changes, starting with how the House does business. We need to let every member contribute. ... In other words, we need to return to regular order."

He said he's tackling the position from "a different path" than the one charted by Boehner and former Speaker Dennis Hastert where leadership often took over drafting major legislation with little input from rank-and-file members, or even chairmen. Massive bills were presented to lawmakers mere hours before coming to the House floor and sweeping spending and debt packages were negotiated behind closed doors among only a handful of congressional leaders.

Ryan wants to encourage a "more participatory" approach where policy is written at the committee level, consensus is reached and debate is robust.

"Power has been too concentrated," Ryan said. The House is "too bottled up." He will allow more amendments and more legislation to hit the House floor. "Bills may fail because Congress will work its will," he said, offering a view that goes against the grain.

For at least the past 15 years, speakers have scheduled for floor consideration only bills they know can pass, or are very confident can find last-minute support. When a bill, or even a rule governing debate, is in jeopardy, they usually pull the legislation to give themselves more time to ensure victory.

The once reluctant Republican leader says he's now excited to lead his party into a new era. He plans to make House Republicans "a proposition party; an alternative party," not just a group that rejects most proposals, Ryan said.

Republicans must offer a clear vision to the country, he said. And they must unify.

"If I'm in for a dime, I'm in for a dollar," he said.

-- By Nicole Duran for WisPolitics.com


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