Ryan: Highlight the Successes in Fighting Poverty
WASHINGTON, DC — Today Wisconsin’s First District congressman and speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, spoke with WLIP’s Bill Lawrence and RightWisconsin.com’s Collin Roth.
Excerpts of questions and Ryan’s answers follow:
Q: Let’s talk about some other things that are going on with the speaker of the House. I know we’ve got your anti-poverty bill going on.
A: Yeah, I was really happy about that. . . . So Patty Murray and I drafted legislation, now passed, and it’s on the way to the president’s desk. We have been measuring success in the war on poverty by how many programs we create, how many inputs, how much spending. We don’t measure success in the War on Poverty by outcomes—are we actually getting people out of poverty?—by results. So our bill creates a commission to design a new measuring system metrics, on how to measure the effectiveness of our poverty-fighting programs, with a goal toward measuring the effectiveness of the result.
What we wanted to do was get a commission . . . of statisticians, of experts, of people who can help us objectively decide: ‘How do we measure the effectiveness of government program? . . . Because we spent 51 years and trillions of dollars on this War on Poverty, [and] we’ve barely moved the needle. This will . . . rework and reorient our entire approach to fighting poverty from the government’s perspective so that we can get behind what works in our communities. My whole goal of this is to see what works in our communities and back those up so that we are actually success-oriented. . . . I want to highlight those successes, measure those successes, and then amplify those successes. And I think this bill will help us do that.
Q: Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry finally labeled the atrocities in the ISIS campaign against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities, genocide. This came after pressure from the House of Representatives, interest groups, and NGOs. What is the significance of labeling this action genocide?
A: [Secretary Kerry] did, because it is genocide. This was being swept under the rug for too long. We need to call it for what it is so we can respond accordingly. Now that the administration has agreed with Congress that genocide is being committed against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities, now we have to step up and do something about it. That’s why we have to call it for what it is, have a strategy to deal with it. . . . We, in the last defense bill, called the president to come up with a strategy to defeat ISIS [and] gave him a deadline for that. He missed that deadline and still has not presented a plan to defeat ISIS. . . . But by calling it genocide—because it is . . . we can get on the offensive on this issue and also hold people accountable.
Q: Also last week, the House of Representatives voted to authorize you . . . to file an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the United States v. Texas case, better known as . . . President Obama’s executive amnesty. Why is this step so extraordinary, and what do you hope to accomplish?
A: You have to remember, President Obama declared this executive order, effectively rewriting immigration law and declaring an executive amnesty. That is not his job to do that. Congress writes laws, and the president is supposed to faithfully execute those laws.
And so, what you have here, is a very rare court fight, and it’s described as being Article I and Article II. Article I of the Constitution: Congress writes the laws. Article II of the Constitution: The executive branch executes and implements the laws written by Congress. This is the executive branch trying to take over Article I powers. This really isn’t just about policy. . . . What this is about is, who writes the laws of the land: unelected bureaucrats at executive agencies or our elected officials, the people we vote for, people in Congress who are tasked under the Constitution with writing the laws? So I think it’s extremely important that Congress, in this day of the president bending the rules and stretching the Constitution beyond its limits, speak with one voice and asserts its Article I authority.