Paul Ryan touted his legislative victories as he announced his retirement on Wednesday, by championing his tax cut legislation and increased funding of the military. However, the Wisconsin Republican failed to repeal Obamacare, fund Trump’s border wall, and help pass a pro-American immigration reform bill.
Speaker Ryan announced on Wednesday that he will retire at the end of this congressional term in January 2019.
Ryan touted his legislative victories as leader of the House during a press conference on Wednesday, namely tax cuts and increased funding for the military. Ryan argued:
I am really proud of what we have been able to do. We passed the first major reform of our tax code for the first time in 36 years, which has already been a huge success for our country. Second, is to rebuild our nation’s military. This will make our country more prosperous and more secure.
“I think we have achieved a heck of a lot,” Ryan added.
However, he failed to include other legislative initiatives that failed, including failure to repeal Obamacare, fund the wall, and pass pro-American immigration reform.
Here is a list of Speaker Paul Ryan’s top legislative failures:
BUNGLING OBAMACARE REPEAL
Speaker Paul Ryan bungled Obamacare repeal. Republicans gained historic majorities in the House and Senate based upon their promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Speaker Ryan and the rest of House Republican leadership drafted the Republicans’ original Obamacare repeal bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), in secret. When the Republican leadership revealed the bill, conservatives and populists revolted against it, believing that the bill did not do enough to repeal Obamacare. Pundits dubbed the original bill, “RyanCare,” and “Obamacare-Lite.”
Ryan had to pull the vote on the RyanCare bill at the last minute in March 2017, believing that the bill did not have enough conservative support to pass.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) stepped up and brokered a revised version of the bill, known as the MacArthur amendment, along with Tuesday Group co-chairman Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ). The addition of the amendment collected enough Republican votes to pass the bill.
Meadows’ efforts in no small part seemed to have succeeded where Ryan failed, rallying his House Republican colleagues behind a years-long campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare–despite the fact that this bill does not constitute a full repeal of the previous president’s signature law.
With the help of Vice President Mike Pence, Republicans were able to garner enough votes in the House in May to pass a revised American Health Care Act. Obamacare repeal ultimately failed in the Senate on multiple occasions, largely due to the opposition of Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
PASSING A $1.3 TRILLION, 2,322-PAGE OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL
Speaker Ryan, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), passed a $1.3 trillion, 2,232-page omnibus spending bill last March.
Republican leadership gave lawmakers less than 17 hours to read the bill before voting on the $1.3 trillion spending bill.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Meadows lamented in an interview with Breitbart News Daily on Tuesday that the “Senate Democrats seem to be calling most of the shots.”
As Breitbart News reported, the omnibus spending bill contains language that explicitly bars funding for a southern border wall, although the bill did not include a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal alien amnesty.
The omnibus also contains provisions that expand the H-2B visa-worker program, which would reduce market pressure on companies to offer American workers higher wages.
Republican leadership also included provisions that will allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct gun research. And the omnibus includes the Fix NICS Act, which would allow unelected bureaucrats to remove Americans’ right to purchase firearms without due process.
The omnibus spending bill includes funding for the New York Gateway Bridge project that will benefit Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The House Freedom Caucus argued that the bill “outright rejects” the promises conservatives made to the voters.
Schumer declared victory after the omnibus passed, saying, “We’re able to accomplish more in the minority.”
IGNORING BORDER WALL FUNDING AND IMMIGRATION REFORM
The 2018 omnibus spending bill includes funding for roughly 33 miles of new border fence and denies funding for President Trump’s preferred border walls. As Breitbart News noted in March, Congress could have funded the southern border wall for less than two percent of total omnibus spending.
Speaker Ryan has also opposed cutting legal immigration levels, calling them, “arbitrary.”
“I just think arbitrary cuts to legal immigration don’t take into effect the economy’s needs as the boomers are retiring,” Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on last August. “With baby boomers leaving the workforce, we’re still going to have labor shortages in certain areas and that is where a well-reformed legal immigration system should be able to make up the difference.”
A recent Harvard-Harris poll suggested that 42 percent of GOP voters felt that immigration was the most important issue facing the country, more than Republican-passed tax cut legislation and Obamacare repeal.
Chairman Meadows argued in a press conference in February that the current immigration debate “is the defining moment” for Paul Ryan, and that there would be “consequences” should he fail the American people.
The House GOP revealed in February that they have starting whipping votes for the Goodlatte-Labrador bill, largely due to pressure from conservatives in the Freedom Caucus. The Goodlatte-Labrador bill would end chain migration, the diversity visa lottery, catch-and-release, and build a wall on the southern border. President Trump endorsed the Goodlatte legislation in January.
Mark Meadows charged:
It is the defining moment for this Speaker. If he gets it wrong, it will have consequences for him but it will also have consequences for the Republican party. We cannot afford to miss the opportunity and do it right because we promised the American people we would do it right.
The House Freedom Caucus chairman declared, “This president was elected on largely an immigration platform that defined him differently than every other candidate and it is the defining moment more than the budget, or anything else that we passed.”