Ryan: No Comprehensive Immigration Bill, ‘Work On’ Enforcement If We Get ‘Consensus’

House Speaker Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) stated that he wouldn’t do a comprehensive immigration bill with President Obama in office, but “f we can get consensus how to better secure the border, do things like interior enforcement, that’s something I’d think we’d want to work on” and that Republicans need to “show the people of this country how we would do things differently” and not stop “trying, and from offering ideas” even if they can’t pass everything they want into law on Wednesday’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” on the Fox News Channel.

Ryan said, “I don’t think on this issue, a big comprehensive immigration reform is something we should consider with this presidency, for the mere fact that the president tried to go around Congress. … If we can get consensus how to better secure the border, do things like interior enforcement, that’s something I’d think we’d want to work on. But as far as a big immigration bill, I just don’t think that this is a White House we should work with on this.”

Earlier, when asked how we would keep the House together, Ryan responded, “By having an agenda and a vision, which we do not now have. So look, some people get upset about this tactic or that tactic, and we end up getting into debates about tactics. What we need to do is advance principles, solutions, results, ideas, and we have to create an agenda with a vision based on our principles, and show the people of this country how we would do things differently, so the people of this country get to choose what kind of country we are going to have. What do we replace Obamacare with? What’s a new tax system look like? How do we move millions of Americans from welfare to work so that they can make the most of their lives? How do we grow the economy? How do we get people in better jobs? How do we hold this government accountable and get rid of the waste and the abuse? We have to show what that looks like in detail and give the country, the people of this nation, an actual choice for what kind of country they want to have. We haven’t done that as a Republican Party, and we have to do that.”

When asked if he thought about how he would work with the recognition that in order to pass anything, he’d need to get past the Senate, Ryan said, he had, and “I think ultimately we’re going to have to take this to the people, so that they can — so we can have the kind of election we need, so we can pass what we need to do so save the country.” He added that even though Republicans can’t pass everything into law that they want at the moment, it shouldn’t stop them from “trying, and from offering ideas.”

Ryan added, “I do there that are things we can find common ground in working on [with the president] without compromising our principle. I’ve learned — I have shown that I know how to do that, it’s one of the reasons why my colleagues asked me to be speaker.”

When asked what he thought he could get done, Ryan answered, “Well, right now, we have to fund the government. So, there are spending issues that have to be dealt with. We want to rebuild the military. We finally got a two year budget for the military, very important for our military planners, and so we want to get past this presidency with the kind of military problems we’ve had, but we want to do some things to shore up the military and we want to work with the president on that. There are a lot of other issues that will arise, that hopefully we can find some common ground on.”

He continued that “fixing our military, in the meantime, I think is one of the top priorities. … No two ways about it, we’ve been funding the military on ad hoc basis, and waste like this [spending $43 million on a gas station in Afghanistan] occurs. One of the reasons why we have now a two year agreement, to have better planning for the military is to stop funding it on this ad hoc basis. The second thing I’d point is, we now have a chairman of the Armed Services Committee, a guy named [Representative] Mac Thornberry from Texas. He is one of best visionary leaders for our military, but also, he knows how to get after waste. That is his specialty, is rooting out waste and fraud, and bringing accountability to our military. So, we have a good person on the job as a cop on the beat. We terminated this program, and now have a budget system that gives a little bit of certainty so that the military’s not doing this sort of ad hoc kind of thing that create[s] that waste in the first place.”

Ryan added, “The House, for five years in a row, has passed a budget, that cuts trillions of dollars of spending out of the federal government, that balances the budget and pays down the debt.”

When asked about tax reform, Ryan called for tax reform, but said that Republicans have to control the White House to get tax reform implemented. He added, “So, what we Republicans need to do, is show how we would do things differently.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett