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Paul Ryan looks for areas of cooperation with Obama

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January 22, 2015 | comments

By Nancy Cordes

The chairman of the House's tax-writing committee, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, says trade agreements and tax reform are high on his list, "two issues that we really want to take up this year." Ryan, who spoke with CBS News in an interview Wednesday, said he hopes trade promotion authority - which gives the president the ability to negotiate trade deals and send them to Congress for up-or-down votes without amendments or filibusters -- could be passed within the first six months of 2015.

"Trade is probably first in the queue just because of the deadlines we're looking at," Ryan said, "so we can go and build more things here at home so we can sell them abroad."

Ryan favors giving the president trade promotion authority, and in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama asked Congress again for this authority. Mr. Obama said it would help protect American workers as U.S. companies try to gain more access to global markets, because "Ninety-five percent of the world's customers live outside our borders."

Republicans tend to agree with the president on this point. Ryan added, "We have got to do this if we want to keep a growing economy. Export-related jobs usually pay more." He is confident that among his colleagues, the president "will have willing partners here on the trade agenda."

Ryan's has said that his desire to usher tax reform through the House is one of the main reasons he decided not to run for president in 2016. The 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee told CBS News, "I want to singularly focus on this... I feel that where I am I can make a huge impact." He acknowledged, however, that it won't be easy, and that democrats have a far different vision for reform than republicans do. Asked whether he could finish a tax reform bill this year, Ryan replied, "I don't know the answer to that, but it won't be for our lack of trying." 


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Tags: Taxes