Paul Ryan Stands by Trump Endorsement, but Says It’s No ‘Blank Check’ – By REBECCA BALLHAUS and MICHELLE HACKMAN Aug. 4, 2016 12:39 p.m. ET

Paul Ryan in Janesville, Wis., in June.

Paul Ryan in Janesville, Wis., in June. |Photo: Associated Press

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday stood by his endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying he had won the Republican presidential nomination “fair and square.”

In his first live interview since Mr. Trump refused to endorse him in his upcoming primary election next week, Mr. Ryan said the New York businessman had been on a “pretty strange run” since July’s Republican convention.

Speaking with Wisconsin-based radio station WTAQ, the Wisconsin Republican criticized the nominee’s recent attacks on the parents of a Muslim soldier killed in the Iraq war, calling his comments about Khizr and Ghazala Khan “beyond the pale.”

He said he wouldn’t rescind his June endorsement of Mr. Trump out of respect for the voters who had elected him during the primary. But asked whether there was anything Mr. Trump could say that would prompt him to withdraw his endorsement, Mr. Ryan replied, “None of these things are ever blank checks.”

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Rebuffed by Ryan, Dems plot next move on guns – By RACHAEL BADE and JOHN BRESNAHAN 07/05/16 10:04 PM EDT

The House speaker tells Democrats he won’t call for votes on gun control.90

The House speaker tells Democrats he won’t call for votes on gun control.

Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday rejected Democratic demands for votes on their proposals to reduce gun violence, and Democrats warned they may renew their unprecedented sit-in on the floor until they get what they want.

Three weeks after the Orlando massacre, the issue of guns and what to do about gun violence continues to roil Capitol Hill, but there is no sign Congress is going to act before it adjourns for the summer recess and the party conventions.

Ryan met with Democratic Reps. John Lewis of Georgia and John Larson of Connecticut, leaders of last month’s sit-in, for about 30 minutes in a bid to defuse the partisan tension between the two parties over guns.

The two Democrats said afterward that although Ryan was respectful and courteous, the Wisconsin Republican would not agree to allow votes on their gun proposals. Democrats had invited Ryan to speak to their full caucus on the issue, but Ryan decided to meet with Lewis and Larson instead.

House goes on break until July 5, pre-empting guns sit-in – By RACHAEL BADE, JOHN BRESNAHAN and HEATHER CAYGLE 06/23/16 01:09 AM EDT Updated 06/23/16 02:39 AM EDT

Republicans use a late-night parliamentary maneuver to disrupt the protest, but Democrats vowed to continue.

House Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled a 23-page document that rebuked both President Barack Obama's and Donald Trump's foreign policy.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was drowned out by the chants of House Democrats on the chamber’s floor. | AP Photo


After a chaotic, daylong occupation of the House floor, Republican leaders moved in the middle of the night to cut off House Democrats’ gun control “sit-in” by adjourning the House through the July 4 — without a vote on gun control.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sought to to quell the Democratic demonstration by having lawmakers vote at 2:30 a.m. on several bills they had to pass this week, including one to combat the Zika virus. After that, Republican leaders sent lawmakers home until July 5, starting their already-scheduled recess a few days earlier than planned.

The move will deny Democrats any chance of votes on gun control legislation.

Democrats, though, continued their sit-in after the House adjourned, and plan to continue to do so at least through Thursday and maybe longer. They vowed not to stop Ryan and GOP leaders relent.

“This is just one bridge. We have other bridges to cross,” Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) told his colleagues after the House adjourned. Lewis, a civil rights icon, helped lead the sit-in.

The GOP leadership’s move came 15 hours after Democrats seized the House floor, vowing to block any House legislative action until Ryan promised to allow votes on what they believe are reasonable proposals: blocking suspected terrorists on the no-fly list from purchasing guns, as well as expanded background checks for gun sales.

Ryan refused. And Democrats said they were willing to hold the floor hostage for however long it took.

“I couldn’t predict” how long it will go on, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters around 10 p.m. “I mean tomorrow, and the next day… You’ve seen folks in the [House] gallery, they’re pretty fired up on this. It could go through Friday.”

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Ryan presents stark choices to conservatives on spending – By LAUREN FRENCH and BEN WEYL 02/12/16 01:38 PM EST

The speaker tells rank-and-file members that failing to pass a budget could lead to a much worse outcome.

Ryan opened the Republican meeting by describing the realities of tackling a budget, stressing there was an opportunity to act on a conservative agenda if the House can move past the current budget stalemate. | AP Photo

The speaker tells rank-and-file members that failing to pass a budget could lead to a much worse outcome.

House Republicans can do three things with the 2017 budget: pass it, punt on it or just give up.

That’s the message Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) delivered to his conference Friday morning during a prolonged meeting in the Capitol that was described by attendances as an airing of grievances about the funding blueprint before the House.

The top-line numbers for the budget, which were agreed to last year, have met a familiar roadblock with conservative lawmakers who question why spending levels were increased for 2017 as part of an omnibus debate with Democrats.

Ryan opened the Republican meeting by describing the realities of tackling a budget, stressing there was an opportunity to act on a conservative agenda if the House can move past the current budget stalemate.

But lawmakers need to act, Ryan said. He asked whether Republicans were willing to give up on the appropriations process and a potential chance at entitlement reform over a relatively small funding increase.

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Down goes Perry! The GOP’s “deep bench” just completely fell apart – SATURDAY, AUG 16, 2014 10:31 AM UTC

Down goes Perry! The GOP's "deep bench" just completely fell apart

There was a time, long ago, when the Beltway media had a comforting narrative for Republicans, as they faced the loss of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in 2012. And it was: Unlike the Democrats, who were relying on flawed hero Hillary Clinton, the GOP had a “deep bench” of candidates for 2016, one that was especially thick with pragmatic governors.

But that bench has been splintering for a while, and now it’s a small pile of wood shavings that might be used as tinder for a fire that could ignite in 2020 or later – or not. Actually, it’s probably not even that useful.

We’ve seen New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at least partly sidelined by his various scandals. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker seems to have survived two damaging John Doe investigations, only to wind up tied with political newcomer Mary Burke in his November re-election race. Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell – oh, never mind, everyone crossed him off that list at least a year ago.

Now, shockingly, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been indicted for his role in a state scandal, on Friday night. The charges center on Perry’s decision to veto funding for the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, charged with investigating public corruption – her office’s work indicted former Texas congressman Tom DeLay in 2005 – after she was arrested for drunk driving.

Back when Perry vetoed the funding, Lehmberg was investigating the state’s Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, after multiple allegations of corruption under Perry, including the indictment of one official for mishandling a multimillion-dollar grant.

“The governor has a legitimate statutory role in the legislative process,” Texans for Public Justice director Craig McDonald, who originally filed the complaint,told the New York Times. “In the case of the Travis County district attorney, the governor had no authority over the district attorney’s job — a district attorney who was elected by Travis County voters and serves exclusively at their will.”

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No, America Is Not Turning Libertarian – By Jonathan Chait August 7, 2014 4:26 p.m.

Barack Obama’s first term provoked the Republican Party’s most libertarian moment since the Goldwater campaign, or perhaps even the advent of the New Deal. Several things thrust the GOP in this direction. Needing to distance themselves from the failures of the now-departed Republican administration, most lurched toward the conclusion that George W. Bush had failed because he had embraced big government and forsaken the true free-market path. As it had under Bill Clinton, the Republican base grew more suspicious of the use of military power with a Democrat in office. And the scope of Obama’s economic agenda tended to overshadow social fissures. The result was an anti-statist outburst, bringing to the Party’s fore such libertarian figures as Glenn Beck, Rick Santelli, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, and the Koch brothers; a huge spike in sales of Ayn Rand novels; and a flowering of bluntly anti-statist policy and rhetoric.

The force of this moment has already receded, as most Republicans have subsequently recognized that their dalliance with Randian themes saddled them with a massive political liability that they are working diligently to undo. The political energy lies in downplaying its anti-government extremism and repositioning the Party — either substantively or rhetorically, depending on your view — as a more middle-class-friendly entity.

Robert Draper’s New York Times Magazine cover story oddly presents libertarianism as the GOP’s possible future path and obvious salvation rather than a liability it is trying badly to shake off.

The premise undergirding the story is that libertarians hold a unique generational claim to America’s political future. Draper quotes the Reason Foundation’s pollster, who tells him that voters under 30 “agree with Democrats on social issues, and on economic issues lean more to the right.” The premise that young voters lean distinctly libertarian returns through the story repeatedly

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Paul Ryan’s Faux Populism Isn’t Going to End Poverty or Reduce Inequality – by John Nichols on July 24, 2014 – 2:29 PM ET

Paul Ryan

Congressman Paul Ryan (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Paul Ryan’s fellow Republicans are quick to dismiss Elizabeth Warren as too radical, too progressive, too populist.

But Ryan is trying—a bit clumsily, but trying all the same—to borrow a page from the Massachusetts senator as he seeks to remake himself in anticipation of a potential 2016 run for the Republican presidential nomination. He’s talking about poverty, about inequality, about shifting the focus away from meeting the demands of corporations and toward meeting the needs of Americans.

Mitt Romney’s running mate is abandoning Romneyism for populism—or what former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has referred to as “Paul Ryan’s Faux Populism.”

Instead of repeating the Mittnomers of 2012—“Corporations are people, my friend”—Ryan is suddenly informing fellow conservatives, “There’s another fallacy popular among our ranks. Just as some think anything government does is wrong, others think anything business does is right. But in fact they’re two sides of the same coin. Both big government and big business like to stack the deck in their favor. And though they are sometimes adversaries, they are far too often allies.”

It is hard to argue with Ryan’s reasoning. Populists and progressives have warned for more than a century that corporations are “boldly marching, not for economic conquests only, but for political power.” The author of those words, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Edward Ryan , asked in 1873: “Which shall rule—wealth or man; which shall lead—money or intellect; who shall fill public stations—educated and patriotic free men, or the feudal serfs of corporate capital?” Elizabeth Warren confirmed Ryan’s worst fears when she addressed Netroots Nation last week and declared, “The game is rigged and the rich and the powerful have lobbyists and lawyers and plenty of friends in Congress. Everybody else, not so much.”

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Thomas Piketty terrifies Paul Ryan: Behind the right’s desperate, laughable need to destroy an economist – PAUL ROSENBERG WEDNESDAY, APR 30, 2014 11:00 PM UTC

Five years post-collapse, Piketty and Elizabeth Warren offer a way ahead. That’s why the right must destroy them

Thomas Piketty terrifies Paul Ryan: Behind the right's desperate, laughable need to destroy an economist

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the 21st Century” hit No. 1 at Amazon, right around the time that Elizabeth Warren released her book “A Fighting Chance.” Far from being the only figures addressing the failure of unregulated market capitalism to produce fair outcomes and broad prosperity, they embody two key facets of that criticism: the intellectual/academic and pragmatic/political. But there are a host of other figures criticizing the workings of actually existing capitalism and the increasingly destructive inequalities of wealth we see it producing all around us.

It may have taken more than five years since the financial crisis hit in late 2008, but are we finally seeing signs of a coherent response coming together? A number of recent developments suggest that we are. Just in the last few weeks, for example, another hot new book is “Flash Boys,” the latest from Michael Lewis on the most recent form of mass-scamming on Wall Street, and there’s new attention being drawn to the work of Martin Gilens demonstrating the power of elite control of our political system. His book “Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America” was an award-winner in political science last year, but his follow-up study with Benjamin I. Page, the essay “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” has touched a broader nerve, with stories at the New Yorker, Huffington Post, and by Michael Lind here at Salon, among others, with added notice on cable TV. And of course, Pope Francis keeps mouthing off against inequality, too (which routinely causes Paul Ryan to comically insist – almost Stephen Colbert-style – that the pope is actually inveighing against the welfare state).

What makes Piketty and Warren stand out, in particular, is that real change needs both a framework of shared knowledge and possibility — which Piketty’s vast store of data helps provide — and exemplars of articulate, high-level struggle setting the terms of public debate, which is where Warren comes in.

This is not to say that Piketty’s work is something simply to rally around. That’s more of the pope’s territory. There is plenty to debate about Piketty’s work. But so far, criticism from the right has been ludicrous, while criticism from the left has been largely overlooked — a situation that must inevitably change if something is really to be done about inequality.

Paul Ryan’s much-needed history lesson: What he really needs to learn about urban poverty1

Paul Ryan's much-needed history lesson: What he really needs to learn about urban poverty

Paul Ryan is intent on learning about poor people, a new glowing profile by BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins explains, and he’s going to do it by talking to some. Ryan, you’ll recall, recently opined that a “tailspin of culture” within inner cities is effectively causing urban poverty, remarks that demonstrate just how much the congressman is in need of education on the topic.

The central problem with his remark about culture is that it ignores the long history of poverty within the urban centers of our country. Whereas Ryan and the GOP would like to present this dilemma as merely a cultural divide, a closer look at U.S. history shatters this oversimplified narrative. Back in the late 1800s, muckrakers like Jacob Riis and Lincoln Steffens described a strikingly familiar world where gangs, crime, and corruption reigned within American cities. This was an era when inner cities were dominated byEuropean immigrants, not African-Americans, yet still faced the same poverty and strife of today.

Written in 1890, “How the Other Half Lives” by Jacob Riis provides a glimpse of urban life familiar to the inner city youth of 2014. For example, gangs were as much a product of their environment back then as they are today. As explained by Riis, “The gang is the ripe fruit of tenement-house growth. It was born there, endowed with a heritage of instinctive hostility to restraint by a generation that sacrificed home to freedom, or left its country for its country’s good.” In this quote about gangs, Jacob Riis isn’t speaking about African-Americans. He is referring to European immigrants; Irish, Italian, Jewish, and Polish immigrants who lived in crowded New York tenements.

Riis doesn’t blame the various social and economic dilemmas of the tenements on a “tailspin of culture.” Rather, the famed journalist goes into great detail, uncovering the multitude of reasons why tenement life was so difficult on recent European immigrants. He describes the inhabitants of the tenements as suffering from overcrowded dwellings, corrupt political machines, life-threatening public health conditions, child labor, gangs, and juvenile crime. As Riis states in “How the Other Half Lives,” endemic poverty was entrenched in the tenements:

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