Category Archives: John Boehner

Five Photos from 41’s Lying In State Ceremony

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How to Watch Today’s U.S. Capitol Ceremony for President George H.W. Bush

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Speaker Ryan’s Remarks Honoring the Life of President George H.W. Bush

WASHINGTON—Today, President George H.W. Bush was honored in a service at the United States Capitol. The ceremony marked the arrival of his casket to the Capitol Rotunda, where the late president will lie in state until Wednesday. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke to recognize President Bush’s legacy of service, strength of character, and the indelible mark he left on our nation’s history.

Speaker Ryan’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are as follows:

As Americans, we have no more solemn duty than laying a great patriot to rest.

Here lies a great man.

To the Bush family:

On behalf of the whole House—Republicans and Democrats—we are profoundly sorry for your loss. And we are honored to celebrate this wonderful life with you.

Like so many, I feel a personal debt of gratitude today. The 1988 campaign was the first one I was involved in.

We handed out literature at the Janesville Craig Cougars ball games.

I remember going to this big rally on the Miami of Ohio campus the day after the first debate. The whole experience really drew me into politics.

He was the first president I had the chance to vote for.

And he was the first president to teach me that in a democracy sometimes you fall short. And that how you handle that is just as important as how you win.

An old preacher once said:

“Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.”

Glory is transcendent in the life of our republic. This Rotunda is a trumpet call to glory, tributes to the giants all the way up to the sky.

Grace is different, more elemental. It is not larger than life; it is the stuff of life—the connective tissue in a free society. It deepens the well of our common humanity.

Throughout his life of service, President Bush personified grace. His character was second to none.

He reached the heights of power with uncommon humility.

He made monumental contributions to freedom with a fundamental decency that resonates across generations.

No one better harmonized the joy of life and the duty of life.

There is that indelible image of him as commander-in-chief during the Gulf War waving to a sea of troops during a visit over Thanksgiving.

There are the images of him as a devoted husband—that twinkle in his eye Barbara always brought out—especially in those big family photos in Kennebunkport.

There is the image of him as a loving father reaching out to hold his son’s hand at the National Cathedral after 9/11.

And there is the letter he wrote to his children on the last day of 1990, as he wrestled with the decision over Operation Desert Storm.

He begins by recounting the family Christmas, and apologizes if he seemed distracted.

“I tried not to be,” he writes.

Then, for about a page, he elaborates on his struggle over sending young Americans into harm’s way.

Twice in the letter, he writes that “every human life is precious.”

On the original copy, he adds by hand a note wishing the family a happy new year.

In consequential times, George Herbert Walker Bush demonstrated the finest qualities of our Nation and humankind.

A great leader and a good man.

A gentle soul of sturdy resolve.

He showed us that how we live is as important as what we achieve.

His life was a hymn of honor.

His legacy is grace perfected.

His memory will belong to glory.

God bless the 41st president of the United States.

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Statement on the Passing of President George H.W. Bush

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President George H.W. Bush to Lie in State in the United States Capitol Rotunda

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WATCH: Speaker Ryan Reflects on His Congressional Career

Today, Speaker Ryan sat down for an extended conversation with The Washington Post’s Paul Kane to discuss his legislative legacy and what he’s most proud of over his two decades in Congress.

Watch the full discussion here and check out the excerpts below:

Speaker Ryan:I like to think that I took the opportunity I was given and made a positive difference in people’s lives. . . .I’m proud of the fact that the House since I was Budget Chair, every year, every session, has passed a budget that shows how we would balance the budget and how we would pay off the debt. . . .And then on the poverty issues. People don’t really report this too much but social impact bonds, opportunity zones, I think our members have gotten more attuned to this issue. It’s the stuff that Bob Woodson and I preach about. It’s the stuff I learned from Jack Kemp. Evidence-based policymaking, we’ve made a really good impact on that. And then there are just certain things, like rebuilding the military and the tax system. Those are policy achievements I’m proudest of.”

Speaker Ryan: “I think history is going to be very good to this majority. Why? The tax system was atrocious. I spent my adult life working on tax reform. Ever since I did it with Jack Kemp, working on the issue. We really did have the worst tax system in the industrialized world, and it was hollowing out American competitiveness. We have now put underneath the economy a far, far stronger foundation for a healthy economy and growth because of that. I was extremely worried about our national security posture, meaning our military. We have now put underneath that a much stronger foundation. What I have been saying to my staff all along, and our members, is our job in the majority is to improve the health and the antibodies of the American economy, of the American system. So what we were aiming to do was strengthen America’s resilience, America’s health, America’s antibodies…So whatever comes our way, we are stronger and better prepared for those things. I really believe that we have done that in this last two-year session. So there are so many things that we’ve done. I was working on enterprise zones when I was 23 years old.  It’s the law of the land now. We call them opportunity zones. I’m so excited about so many of the things we’ve done.”

Speaker Ryan: “Take a look at this session we’re completing. We will have passed over a thousand bills out of the House. That is a record pace. You haven’t seen a pace like that since the early 1980s…It doesn’t get a lot of play, but that’s what I would call ‘governing.’ For the first time in 22 years, 75 percent of all discretionary spending is done, it’s passed, it’s in law, it’s on time, ahead of the fiscal year deadline. You know these things. So, I’d say we became a pretty good governing party.”

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Speaker Ryan Thanks Wisconsin’s First District, Staff in Remarks on House Floor

WASHINGTON—This afternoon, in remarks on the House floor, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) thanked the people of Wisconsin’s First District and paid tribute to members of his Wisconsin staff for their dedication.

His remarks are available in full here and below:

My colleagues, I rise today to express profound gratitude to the people of the First District of Wisconsin.

Any time I get to swear in a new member, like we just did, it brings me back to the time when I was first sworn in here in 1998.

I remember just being awestruck the first time I walked down that center aisle. That feeling just never goes away. I still feel it when I walk onto the floor, each and every time.

I am immensely grateful to the people of Southern Wisconsin for their trust and their confidence.

I have always had this thing about calling the people I represent not my constituents but my ‘employers.’

It’s the way I’ve always thought of this, and I think it’s important that we as members understand that we work for the people and not the other way around, that we are in this to make a difference for them.

We work every day to keep that obligation, especially, actually, when it comes to constituent service. It is the lifeblood of the work we do here as representatives.

And it’s something that goes unreported, but it is extremely important, extremely valuable, and very gratifying.

Any success that we have had is really, in my case, due to our humble and our hard-working staff.

I have had the chance to work for, and to work with, the very best people, I really have.

Before I was a member, I was a part of the legion of Hill staffers. I was a staffer here before I got elected as a member. I started as an intern in the mail room, and I worked my way on up: legislative correspondent, legislative assistant, legislative director, chief of staff—all of those things.

And I figured I knew everything about these jobs, all the long hours and all the sacrifices.

But nothing can truly prepare you for having people willing to help you in such a big undertaking on the front lines.

And so I am profoundly grateful for the dedicated public servants who have helped us serve the people, my employers, of the First Congressional District.

I want to thank the members of our team who have stayed with us to the very end.

I want to thank Rebekah Cullum, Jordan Dunn, Brandon Farnsworth, Megan Wagner, Laura Wiley.

I want to thank Allison Steil, our deputy chief of staff who’s been with us for 10 years.

I want to thank Tricia Stoneking, our director of scheduling and office operations, who’s been with us for 15 years.

I want to especially thank the members of our team who have been with us from the very beginning, from the start. We call ‘em the ‘lifers.’

Danyell Tremmel, my chief of staff. Chad Herbert, director of military and veterans services.

Chad—he’s a hunter, he’s a veteran. Danyell is just—she came from my predecessor, she knows every nook and cranny of the federal government, how to help constituents navigate their problems. Chad has helped countless veterans. He knows the veterans system so well, and he’s done so much good for the veterans of Southern Wisconsin.

Susie Liston, our district director. She has one of the most pleasant and happy demeanors. You can get a lot of angry constituents walking into a district office. She handles them better than anyone I have ever known.

Teresa Mora, director of outreach. Teresa has run my bilingual services, she has helped me with all my Hispanic, bilingual town hall meetings, she has done a spectacular job of doing constituent outreach throughout my district.

Joyce Meyer—many of you know Joyce. She was my first legislative director.

Andy Speth. Started off as my district director, then my longtime chief of staff—my silent partner. Andy and I met in sixth-grade basketball camp at St. Paul Lutheran School, where he went, where his kids go, and we have been friends ever since. We went to high school together. When I moved home to run for Congress, he was the guy who helped me. He’s been my partner in this venture all along, and I am so grateful for his friendship, I am so grateful for his partnership.

I also am just grateful for the people of Janesville, Racine, Kenosha, Oak Creek, Elkhorn, Lake Geneva, Walworth County, Racine County, Kenosha County, Rock County, Waukesha County, everyone in between.

Since becoming speaker of the House, which was not something that we’re used to in Wisconsin—I’m the only one who’s done that—I appreciate the indulgence of the people I work for who indulged the fact that I had other responsibilities in addition.

And when I took on these additional responsibilities, the people of our staff really stepped up. And really helped serve our constituents, so that they continued to enjoy those flawless constituent services.

I am just so grateful for these people in my life.

I am so grateful that they were able to serve the people of Southern Wisconsin so well.

And I am absolutely grateful to the people of Southern Wisconsin for entrusting me as their representative.

Thank you and I yield.

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Speaker Ryan to Deliver Farewell Address at Library of Congress

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Speaker Ryan Highlights Results Delivered by House Republicans’ Policies

Summary: At today’s House Republican leadership press conference, Speaker Ryan spoke about the number of historic legislative initiatives accomplished on behalf of the American people by this Congress. He also previewed some items Republicans are continuing to work on, including the farm bill and criminal justice reform.

Opening Statement:

“It’s good to see all of you. So I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.

“We’re coming up on the close of one of the most productive Congresses in recent memory.

“Two years ago, we took a hard look at what was holding our communities back, and we came up with very thoughtful policy solutions.

“Those policies have delivered results.

“There may be no better example than historic tax reform.

“Week after week, we’ve told stories of economic resurgence that this country has experienced.  

“It goes beyond the economy, too.

“Years of work went into legislation to bring true reforms to the veterans’ administration—to veterans’ health care.

“We passed policies to secure new opportunities, including overhauling the career and technical education system, so that we can close that skills gap, and get people to the careers that they want to get.

“We’re back on the path to rebuilding our military.

“This year, we’ve already funded 75 percent of government. That means funding for the military, for veterans, for health, for labor, for education programs, to name a few, are already in place—the most that has been done on time, before the deadline, in 22 years.

“So, we have accomplished quite a bit.

“And our nation is very much the better for it. Our nation is safer, our nation is stronger for it.

“We have an opportunity in the next coming weeks to get a few more things done. To get some good things done.

“We want to reform our criminal justice system to give people another shot at contributing to their communities.

“We’re still working on a farm bill. We’re getting very close on the farm bill.

“We’ve got bipartisan initiatives to build on the success of tax reform.

“These are outstanding issues. And of course, as you can see, we want to secure our border.

“It’s very important for the national security of our country that we actually secure our border.

“So in the next few weeks, we’re going to continue to work to create a more prosperous, more confident, more secure America. And that’s what we intend to do.”

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Speaker Ryan Honored at Department of Defense Ceremony

WASHINGTON—Today, in an award ceremony at The Pentagon, Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis honored House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. The award, which is the highest award given to civilians by the Department, recognizes Speaker Ryan’s commitment to the men and women who serve in the United States Military.

His remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

Thank you, Mr. Secretary. This is truly a great and unexpected honor.

Permit me, Mr. Secretary, to express what a privilege it has been to work alongside you for the last two years.

I certainly share in the American people’s admiration for your service to our country.

As fortunate as I feel at this moment, I am simply a temporary steward of a solemn obligation.

The role that America plays in the world is so vital and so indispensable.

Nothing and no one—especially politics—should get in the way of making sure our servicemembers have what they need to sustain this great cause.

I am gratified that my colleagues and I could do our small part to fulfill this duty on behalf of the American people.

I want to especially thank Chairman Mac Thornberry and the members of our Armed Services Committee.

Without their vigilance, we would not have been able to achieve this breakthrough.

We see the two-year budget agreement as a first step in rebuilding our military. Now this work must continue, and I am confident it will.

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit our servicemembers in Afghanistan. It was the one thing I really wanted to do before leaving office.

No matter how many times I have done this, in no matter how many theatres, it is no less rewarding.

And it is personal, too.

Like any civilian, I treasure the servicemembers I have crossed paths with in my life.

One of the buddies I lived with in college is a Navy SEAL. My hunting buddy is a Green Beret. My close college friend is an Army engineer. And my childhood friend is the commanding general of the 101st Airborne.

There are many others, especially those I have had the privilege to represent who hail from Southern Wisconsin.

In faith, from the district I serve, nearly two dozen have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But what I see in these patriots who have served since 9/11 is our next great generation.

You know, here at home, we see all these little tears in our social fabric, all these threads being pulled at. The biggest fights over the smallest things.

But over there, in the middle of the desert, these men and women—many on multiple deployments—collaborate in a common pursuit under constant strain.

And all they want to talk about is the difference they are making, the good that they are doing.

Their bonds of trust with one another—it is all second nature to them.

For me, it was just this infusion of hope and perspective, this reaffirmation of humanity.

We are all heirs to a bigger story, a larger cause—a miracle, really.

And we can all do our small part to preserve and protect that…and to look out for one another.

Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for this great honor.

Thank you to all who serve, and to your families.

And God bless our great country.

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