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Ryan Talks ISIS and Bipartisan Accomplishments in Congress

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December 07, 2015 | Ian Martorana (202-225-3031) | comments
WASHINGTON, DC — This morning, Wisconsin’s First District congressman and speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, spoke with the Big 1380 AM’s Stan Milam and Wisconsin State Journal’s Mark Sommerhauser.  

Excerpts of Ryan’s remarks follow:  

On the President’s remarks and combating ISIS:
“What I heard more was a defense of his containment strategy—not an adjustment to a new strategy. We should not try to defend what has been our failing policy.”  

“And, I do believe we need a new strategy. That’s not just my opinion—an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House and the Senate as part of the defense authorization bill called on the Obama administration to present to Congress a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS. My concern is that the president more or less resuscitated what he had been saying and what he had been doing, which clearly has been inadequate. . . . What I was hoping to hear were the elements of a new strategy that was actually focused on defeating ISIS. I’m hoping that the president, as now required by law on a bipartisan basis, actually comes up with a more comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS.”  

We will be bringing a bill to the floor this week, cracking down on the loopholes in the visa-waiver program. There are 38 countries that are in the visa-waiver program. What does that mean? That means a radical with a French passport or a Belgian passport can get on a plane in Brussels or Paris today and come to America, no questions asked, and be here for 90 days without us knowing anything. And so, there are loopholes—gaps in our system—that need to be dealt with. We’ve identified this with our taskforce in Congress, and we are working on bipartisan legislation to plug that loophole, just like we did two weeks ago on the issue of Syrian refugees.”

On recent bipartisan accomplishments in Congress:
“We have a full, completed five-year [highway bill] that paid for five years and it’s 10 percent above where spending was for highways. . . . And why this is important is, take a look at Rock County. Widening the interstate, I-90, from the state line up to Madison, is a multi-year project. In order to have the commitments by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, they need multiple years of funding for the transportation trust fund. Well, now we have that, and it’s the first time we’ve done that in a decade. We had something like 37 short-term extensions over the last number of years. Being able to unlock a bill that we haven’t been able to pass in a decade, getting a multi-year, five-year highway bill is one of the big accomplishments that I’m very happy about.”  

“Well, we have replaced No Child Left Behind. And I, along with lots of educators and concerned parents in the First District of Wisconsin had big of problems with No Child Left Behind. I think we fixed those programs, and we had an enormous bipartisan vote—359 out of 435 voted for a new Title I bill. We have now replaced No Child Left Behind, given more power to the states and the school districts to customize our primary and secondary education plans to meet the needs of our community. We are very happy with this; it’s been years in the making. It’s a huge accomplishment. No Child Left Behind was written in 2002. This is the biggest rewrite of this area of education law in 25 years, and it was a very big bipartisan accomplishment. Just those two things—two big issues: transportation, education—these have been thorny issues that haven’t been acted on for a long time. We finally delivered some big, comprehensive solutions.”
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