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Speeches and Floor Statements

Paul Ryan Discusses Trade Negotiations, Anti-Poverty Programs, and the Select Committee on Benghazi

The Jay Weber Show, AM 1130 WISN

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May 12, 2014 | comments

Wisconsin’s First District Congressman Paul Ryan spoke with WISN’s Jay Weber about his recent trip to Asia, the effectiveness of our federal anti-poverty programs, and the new select committee on Benghazi.


Opening Foreign Markets for Wisconsin Products

“I see huge potential in markets for agricultural products: our corn, our soybeans, and our dairy.  I see huge potential for our manufactured goods because Japan is the third largest economy which, in many ways, has closed its doors to a lot of our exports, particularly in autos, auto parts, and agriculture.  This would be an enormous market for all Wisconsin-made goods to go there—if we can get these markets open.  Now, that’s the key here.  The secret is opening these markets to our products.   When 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of this country, you’ve got to open these markets to our products so we can build more and sell things to them if we want to have a good, fast-growing economy with good jobs.  We’ve got to open these markets to our products, and we’ve got to make sure that if they want to have trade with us, then it goes both ways.  We need to be able to sell our products in their countries...

“The other reason I went there was to spend time with our Navy and our southern fleet and Pacific command.  When our adversaries and allies see us retreating from the world, bad things happen.  More aggression occurs.  That makes us less safe, and it also makes us less prosperous.  It means that the sea lanes that we’ve taken for granted are more disputed and we can’t move our goods or services.  It means more aggression like Ukraine or Syria, and these marine disputes in the South and East China Seas are going to occur, and that makes America less safe, and makes America less prosperous.  So, you have to have a stronger America, and the fact that we have seen less of that in this administration is case-in-point.”

Re-Evaluating How We Fight Poverty

“There are amazing people doing amazing things to get people out of poverty, to attack it at its core.  But, in many ways, the government is doing a lot of counterproductive activity.  When I think of reforming our welfare system, the fact that the federal government spends $800 billion on 92 programs, we’re not getting our money’s worth. We’re not being effective and actually getting at the root cause of poverty.  It’s as if we’re just treating the symptoms and managing poverty, instead of helping people get out of poverty.  Our principles—limited government, free enterprise, personal responsibility, accountability—those things are necessary here more than ever. 

“What I’ve learned is, you can learn a lot from people fighting poverty effectively, and get behind them and support them.  The government is going to be involved, but the government should have a supporting role and not a commanding role, not a suffocating role.  I think one of the things that this War on Poverty has inadvertently created is this notion among citizens that if you’ve seen poverty in your community, if you’ve seen these kinds of problems plaguing your area, the government is going to handle it.  ‘Don’t worry about it, pay your taxes, the government is going to do this.’  People think, ‘I’ve got to pay my taxes, I’m busy in my life, that’s something that government does.’  That’s just not true. That doesn’t cut it anymore.  We need to reintegrate people.  We need to stop isolating and marginalizing the poor and get our communities reinvigorated."

Supporting the House Select Committee on Benghazi

“This is why the Select Committee is being formed in the first place—because of [the] White House[’s] stonewalling.  We now know that they have been withholding very critical information from the public, from Congress, and that’s why we’re doing this.  We will get to the bottom of this.  It may take time.  It may take past this November, which will mean we’ll have to reconstitute the committee in the new session of Congress.  The point is, justice has to be done.  The truth has to come out so that we can hold people accountable, so that things like this don’t happen again.  Everybody asks me, ‘Why is this different?’  Well, number one, these members have a full range of subpoena powers and access to classified intelligence information in one committee, which is very important.  Not all committees have all of that.  There are three areas of inquiry, it’s not just one.  What I tell people is ‘before, during, and after.’  What happened before?  They requested more security. It was degraded. Those requests were denied.  Why did that happen?  During—this was a siege.  This didn’t take place over the course of an hour or two. This took place over pretty much the entire evening. And there are a lot of unanswered questions there.  And then after—the false narrative that was peddled by the administration after civilian and military authorities knew full well that this was a terrorist attack and was not because of some video.  All of those questions still have not been answered, and that’s why this is necessary." 


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