Politics

Paul Ryan on Trump: ‘Our relationship is fine‘

Speaker plans to coordinate with president-elect on lame-duck, next Congress

Speaker Paul Ryan says the Republican Congress wants to work with president-elect Donald Trump to “hit the ground running” come January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is not worried about being able to work with President-elect Donald Trump, he told reporters Wednesday, touting plans to coordinate with the incoming administration to “hit the ground running” come January.

“I think our relationship is fine,” Ryan said when asked if his dealings with Trump and the conservative members of his conference are intact. 

The Wisconsin Republican said he’s spoken with Trump twice in the last 24 hours — once late Tuesday and again early Wednesday.

“We had great conversations about how we work together,” Ryan said. 

Asked about members of Trump’s campaign reportedly working behind closed doors to push him out as speaker, Ryan said, “I don’t worry about things like that. I don’t worry about intraparty issues.”

After a month in which he tried to distance himself from Trump in order to protect House Republicans majority, the speaker attributed the GOP’s down-ballot wins in part to Trump’s performance at the top of the ticket.  

“Donald Trump pulled off a major political feat,” he said. “He deserves credit for that. It also helped us keep our majorities.”

[Pence Says Trump’s Agenda in Step With House GOP]

House Republicans, specifically, “won more seats than anyone expected, and much of that is thanks to Donald Trump.”

The speaker said he and Trump are trying to line up their schedules so they can meet soon and review transition plans. Trump is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House Thursday to discuss transition of the executive branch. 

Ryan and Trump’s discussion will likely be more focused on Congress and what Republicans can achieve with an ally in the White House for the first time in eight years.

“He just earned a mandate, and we now just have a unified Republican government,” Ryan said. Republicans will “offer a very specific and clear coherent agenda,” he added. 

Likely one of the issues on top of that agenda is repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law. Ryan said the Republican Congress has already proven it can send a repeal bill to the president’s desk; now there is a president who is willing to sign it.

“It’s not just the health care law we can replace,” Ryan said “There are so many more things that I’m excited about.”

The speaker cited GOP plans to cut back on burdensome government regulations like energy mandates that have led to layoffs of coal workers and instances in which the Environmental Protection Agency has harassed farmers.

“There is relief coming,” Ryan said. “This is good for our country.”

Ryan declined to specify what Republicans hope to accomplish in the lame-duck session or how they plan to use the budget reconciliation process to advance their agenda, citing the need to coordinate with Trump’s team.

“This is something that we’re going to have to plan with our president-elect,” he said. 

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