Speaker Ryan Can Already Chalk Up June as a Loss

Tuesday, June 14

The Speaker who fancies himself a “serious” ideas man is struggling to be taken seriously even more than usual this month after admitting Trump’s rhetoric is “racist” while still endorsing his candidacy; regurgitating his purported anti-poverty plan that actually drives millions of Americans into it; and offering a hollow moment of silence in response to the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history rather than reversing his opposition to closing the Terror Gap Loophole that allows people on the “No-Fly List” to legally buy guns including military-style assault rifles. Ryan is every bit as serious as a degree from Trump U.

Cartoons via Nick Anderson and Dave Granlund
  • New York Times, June 8: Paul Ryan Calls Donald Trump’s Attack on Judge ‘Racist,’ but Still Backs Him : Mr. Ryan said Mr. Trump’s criticism of the judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel of United States District Court, was “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” But Mr. Ryan also reiterated his support for Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. “I disavow these comments — I regret those comments that he made,” Mr. Ryan said. “I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable. But do I believe that Hillary Clinton is the answer? No, I do not.”
  • Washington Post Editorial, June 2: Mr. Ryan’s endorsement of Trump: A sad day for the GOP — and America : Mr. Ryan capitulated to ugliness… Mr. Ryan has endorsed a man whose “solutions” include banning Muslims from entering the country, who casts aspersions on judges because of their ethnicity, who mocks people with disabilities, who lies repeatedly, who would muzzle the free press. Each one of these is disqualifying — particularly for anyone who believes in conducting the nation’s politics in a constructive, reasonable manner or who claims to have the long-term interests of the nation, rather than a short-term win at the ballot box or in Congress, in mind. Following Mr. Ryan’s endorsement, some insisted that the speaker had little choice. This is false. “My dad used to say, ‘If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem,’ ” Mr. Ryan said in March. When he has a comparable conversation with his children, how will Mr. Ryan explain the decision he made in this campaign?
  • Washington Post Editorial, June 11: Paul Ryan’s poor anti-poverty plan : The outline spends much more time on bromides such as working with nonprofit groups and giving states more flexibility. These reflect Republican federalist principles, but with a fatal lack of specificity. The program offers no real sense of how states might work through a series of thorny issues in practice … [h]is latest agenda seems designed to win acceptance from a fractious House Republican caucus, a vocal minority of which has no interest in affirmative policymaking of any kind, least of all fighting poverty. It’s thin gruel to justify endorsing a man Mr. Ryan knows is unfit for the presidency.
  • CAP Action, June 7: Speaker Ryan’s Poverty Hypocrisy; Paul Ryan Offers To Show Us “A Better Way” To Gut Programs That Help Struggling Families : Ryan’s policies remain a blueprint for exacerbating poverty and inequality, by slashing the investments that help families access child care, nutrition, education, and more. Speaker Ryan’s “poverty plan” comes on the heels of years of House GOP’s budgets that have repeatedly attacked vital programs that serve the very people Ryan claims he’s trying to help “move up the ladder of opportunity.” In fact, the Ryan-endorsed budget that the House Budget Committee Republicans adopted in March of this year gets three-fifths of its cuts from programs that help low- and moderate-income Americans, cutting these programs by 42 percent overall by 2026, all while protecting tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. And while Ryan says he wants to “push wages up,” he opposes raising the federal minimum wage.
  • Roll Call, June 13: Democratic Uproar Follows Moment of Silence; "Now do something" was heard over Speaker Ryan call to order : Following Ryan's moment of silence, an unidentified woman yelled, "Now do something."  Ryan tried to get back to the day's business. But then, South Carolina Democrat James E. Clyburn yelled, "Mr. Speaker!" in an attempt to be recognized. Other Democrats continued to yell, "No leadership" and "Where's the bill?"  They were referring to a bill to ban people who are on the Terrorist Screening Center 's no-fly list from being able to purchase a gun, but the point was to push for legislative action generally, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., told reporters.  Ryan tried to talk over the shouting, paused, recognized Clyburn, and then almost immediately cut him off to move to the next vote.  "He gaveled me quiet," Clyburn, assistant Democratic leader, told reporters afterward.   
  • FLASHBACK: Associated Press, November 20, 2015: Paul Ryan Balks Over Blocking Gun Sales To People On Terror Watch ListPeople on the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list often can’t board commercial airliners, but they can walk into a gun store and legally buy pistols and powerful military-style rifles. Sensing a political opening from last week’s Paris attacks, Democrats are renewing calls for Congress to pass legislation aimed at preventing terrorists from buying guns. Similar bills — including a post-9/11 measure backed by the Justice Department under Republican President George W. Bush — have been stymied for years, thanks in large part to opposition from gun-rights groups and congressional Republicans. According to a March analysis by the Government Accountability Office, people on the FBI’s consolidated Terrorist Watchlist successfully passed the background check required to purchase firearms more than 90 percent of the time, with more than 2,043 approvals between 2004 and 2014. The office is an investigative branch of Congress. The FBI is notified when a background check for the purchase of firearms or explosives generates a match with the watch list, and agents often use that information to step up surveillance on terror suspects. Under current federal law, however, association with a terrorist organization doesn’t prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives. […] House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., did not respond directly when asked Thursday if he favored barring people on the watch list from buying guns, saying, “We are just beginning this process of reassessing all of our security stances.”
  • Salon, June 14: Another moment of silence — when will we act? : Democrats turn their backs on Paul Ryan’s empty gesture for Orlando; One day after the worst shooting massacre in modern U.S. history, House Democrats erupt in protest at GOP inaction :  “Members have just had enough of having a moment of silence on the floor and take no action,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said to reporters after the vote.

Posted by Jimmy


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