Washington, DC — At his first Capitol press briefing as speaker today, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) shared his vision for a House of Representatives that is more open, inclusive, and transparent. He also praised the bipartisan work on a long-term highway bill that will help create good-paying jobs. Following are excerpts from Speaker Ryan’s remarks:
“It has been a great week in the people’s House. We just completed the work on a bipartisan highway bill. It cuts waste. It prioritizes good infrastructure. It will help create good-paying jobs. And it is the result of a more open process. Over these last four days, the House has debated more amendments than in the last four months combined.
“On this bill, Chairman Shuster worked through more than 100 amendments on the floor. When his father had this bill on the floor in 1998, there were five amendments. This is a good start. It’s a glimpse of how we should be doing the people’s business. But we still have a ways to go.
“This morning, the House Republican Conference held a policy conference to discuss the weeks ahead. Most notably, the government runs out of money on December 11. Normally, we wouldn’t be talking about this yet; it’s November. I’m sure someone somewhere would be writing a bill, but only when the deadline approaches would anyone actually see the legislation. At that point, the bill would be pre-negotiated and the outcome predetermined. That’s no way to conduct the people’s business.
“So here is what we’re going to do: The House has already passed six appropriation bills. Negotiations on those bills are already underway. As for the remaining bills, Chairman Rogers of the Appropriations Committee and his members will hold a series of executive sessions with our members. At these sessions, every member will have the chance to review each bill and give their input on their priorities.
“We’ve never done this before, but that’s how we should work. And now on, that’s how we will work.”
“Look, this was not a job I was looking for or seeking; it kind of sought me. I realized that it was a duty and obligation. Now I realize it’s an honor. And it’s an honor that I have this responsibility and this opportunity to serve.
“And the way I am trying to do this job is the way that I always thought it should have been done, and that is to make this a more open process so that every citizen in this country, through their elected representatives, has an opportunity to make a difference. That is the People’s House. This is the branch of government closest to the people.
“And so I wanted to have a process that is more open, more inclusive, more deliberative, more participatory, and that’s what we’re trying to do.“