Republican nominee for Vice President; U.S. Rep. (WI-1)
We don't belong to government; the people are sovereign
Under the current President, we are at risk of becoming a poor country, because he looks to government as the great benefactor in every life. Our opponents even have a new motto. They say, "Government is the only thing that we all belong to."
I don't know about you, but I've never thought of government as something I belong to. As a matter of fact, on the seven occasions I've been sworn in as a Member of Congress, I have never taken an oath to the government.
The oath that all of us take is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, under which government is limited and the people are sovereign.
Say things like this, and our opponents will quickly accuse you of being "anti-government."
We Americans give ourselves to every kind of good cause. We do so for the simple reason that our hearts and conscience have called us to work that needs doing, to fill a place that sometimes no one else can fill.
End the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners
Listen to the way we are spoken to, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate. It's the exact opposite of everything
I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio.
Now when I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life.
I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey, where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That is what we do in this country. That is the American dream.
That's freedom and I will take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.
Fighting for greater accountability in Congress: I have proposed exposing the most egregious examples of government waste and abuse, with my Budget Boondoggle Award.
Inspired by efforts of the late Senator William E. Proxmire, I have unveiled the
Budget Boondoggle Award to highlight examples of wasteful spending. Sadly, with so much waste in Congress, finding recipients is never difficult. I recently "honored" our US farm policy with the
Budget Boondoggle Award for handing out farm subsidies to wealthy urban dwellers in New York City, including billionaires and venture capitalists.
I will continue to expose the worst examples of government waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. I hope to embarrass my colleagues into becoming better stewards of your tax dollars.
Limited government has evolved into centralized solutions
During much of this past century, our federal government, and the political philosophy which guided it, deviated greatly from the timeless principles that built this country. After winning two World Wars and a Cold War, and surviving the Great
Depression, the national philosophy about the proper role of our federal government has changed. What was once a system of limited government has insidiously evolved into one with virtually no limits at all. From the New Deal through the
Great Society and beyond, wherever a "national priority" arose--such as housing, education, or energy--we addressed the problem by centralizing solutions into new federal bureaucracies which are designed steer and micro manage these priorities in our
Well, after spending trillions of dollars on these centralized solutions, we have found that many of the problems we sought to solve with Washington money and Washington policy have actually worsened.
Pledges no new earmarks; and Line Item Veto against them
With pork-barrel spending corrupting Washington, I have been a leader in the fight against earmarks. I have pledged not to submit any new earmark requests until the abusive spending process is cleaned-up in Congress.
I have also proposed the Legislative Line Item Veto that will help combat wasteful spending and earmarks.
Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues"
, Aug 11, 2012
Government should not solve every social problem
The size of the budget is a symptom of deeper causes and it points to different ideas about government. We basically need to ask ourselves what should government be doing? What sort of people do we want to be? What kind of character do we want our
children and grandchildren to have?
The answer to this question dictates the size of government. If you believe government should be doing more to solve every social problem, you cannot also believe in limited government
Source: Speech to 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference
, Feb 10, 2011
FactCheck: all-time high government was 1943, not 2009
Ryan was off the mark with his claims about "all-time" highs and lows in the size and distrust of government. Ryan said, "It's no coincidence that trust in government is at an all-time low now that the size of government is at an all-time high."
spokesman said that the congressman was measuring size of government by spending as a percentage of gross domestic product. Federal spending as a percent of GDP was 24% in 2009--not even close to the real "all-time high" figure of 44% in 1943.
closer with his claim about public skepticism of government, but still not quite right. Only 22% of those surveyed said they trusted the federal government "almost always or most of the time," according to the source poll for Ryan's claim. But other poll
conducted over the years showed slightly lower percentages. In 1994, just 17% of respondents said they trusted the government most or all of the time.
The poll also found that the level of government trust and size of government are not connected.
I'd like to share with you the principles that guide us. We believe government's role is both vital and limited.
We believe that the government has an important role to create the conditions that promote entrepreneurship, upward mobility, and
individual responsibility. We believe, as our founders did, that "the pursuit of happiness" depends upon individual liberty; and individual liberty requires limited government.
Limited government also means effective government.
When government takes on too many tasks, it usually doesn't do any of them very well. It's no coincidence that trust in government is at an all-time low now that the size of government is at an all-time high.
The President and the Democratic Leadership have shown, by their actions, that they believe government needs to increase its size and its reach, its price tag and its power.
Our nation is approaching a tipping point. We need to chart a new course.
1990s Republican majority succumbed to the earmark culture
Since first elected as a 28-year-old in 1998, I have admittedly lost some of my youthfulness, but I believe that, if anything, my idealism has grown and matured. I believe in the fundamental decency and wisdom of the
American people and their ability to govern themselves under a Constitution that limits political power.
It was this relentless pressure to bring home the bacon that was the undoing of the Republican majority that came into office in 1994.
They allowed their limited government principles to be overtaken by the pressure to appease voters and donors. The Republican majority succumbed to the earmark culture.
They continued to get reelected until the corruption of the process caught up with
them; until the people got wind of the Bridge to Nowhere and rightly asked why they were being asked to pay for such things; and until their colleagues and associates started going to jail.
Create a constitutional version of the line-item veto
Rep. RYAN: You've said that you want to take a scalpel to the budget and go through it line by line. We want to give you that scalpel. I have a proposal with my home state senator, Russ Feingold, bipartisan proposal, to create a constitutional version of
the line-item veto. Problem is, we can't even get a vote on the proposal. Would you support a line-item veto in helping us get a vote on it in the House?
Pres. OBAMA: I think there's not a President out there that wouldn't love to have it. And I think
that this is an area where we can have a serious conversation. I don't like being held up with big bills that have stuff in them that are wasteful but I've got to sign because it's a defense authorization bill. One thing that you have to acknowledge, is
that the earmarks problem is not unique to one party and you end up getting a lot of pushback when you start going after specific projects of any one of you in your districts. But I am willing to have a serious conversation on the line-item veto issue.
Congressional Summary:Makes appropriations to the Senate for FY2010 for:
representation allowances for the Majority and Minority Leaders;
salaries of specified officers, employees, and committees (including the Committee on Appropriations);
agency contributions for employee benefits;
inquiries and investigations;
the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control;
the Offices of the Secretary and of the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate;
the Senators' Official Personnel and Office Expense Account; and
official mail costs.
Amends the Legislative Branch Appropriation Act of 1968 to increase by $50,000 the gross compensation paid all employees in the office of a Senator. Increases by $96,000 per year the aggregate amount authorized for the offices of the Majority and Minority Whip.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D, FL-20): We, as Members of
Congress, have responsibility not just for the institution, but for the staff that work for this institution, and to preserve the facilities that help support this institution. We have endeavored to do that responsibly, and I believe we have accomplished that goal.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. SCALISE (R, LA-1): It's a sad day when someone attempts to cut spending in a bill that grows government by the size of 7%, and it's not allowed to be debated on this House floor. Some of their Members actually used the term "nonsense" and "foolishness" when describing our amendments to cut spending; they call that a delaying tactic. Well, I think Americans all across this country want more of those types of delaying tactics to slow down this runaway train of massive Federal spending. Every dollar we spend from today all the way through the end of this year is borrowed money. We don't have that money. We need to control what we're spending.
Reference: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act;
; vote number 2009-H413
on Jun 19, 2009
Voted YES on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations.
Amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to require a registered lobbyist who bundles contributions totaling over $5,000 to one covered recipient in one quarter to:
file a quarterly report with Congress; and
notify the recipient.
"Covered recipient" includes federal candidates, political party committees, or leadership PACs [but not regular PACs].
Proponents support voting YES because:
This measure will more effectively regulate, but does not ban, the practice of registered lobbyists bundling together large numbers of campaign contributions. This is a practice that has already taken root in Presidential campaigns. "Bundling" contributions which the lobbyist physically receives and forwards to the candidate, or which are credited to the lobbyist through a specific tracking system put in place by the candidate. This bill requires quarterly reporting on bundled contributions.
We ultimately need to move to assist the public financing of campaigns, as soon
as we can. But until we do, the legislation today represents an extremely important step forward.
Opponents support voting NO because:
This legislation does not require that bundled contributions to political action committees, often referred to as PACs, be disclosed. Why are PACs omitted from the disclosure requirements in this legislation?
If we are requiring the disclosure of bundled contributions to political party committees, those same disclosure rules should also apply to contributions to PACs. Party committees represent all members of that party affiliation. PACs, on the other hand, represent more narrow, special interests. Why should the former be exposed to more sunshine, but not the latter?
The fact that PACs give more money to Democrats is not the only answer. Time and again the majority party picks favorites, when what the American people want is more honesty and more accountability.
Reference: Honest Leadership and Open Government Act;
Bill H R 2316
; vote number 2007-423
on May 24, 2007
Voted YES on granting Washington DC an Electoral vote & vote in Congress.
Bill to provide for the treatment of the District of Columbia as a Congressional district for representation in the House of Representatives, and in the Electoral College. Increases membership of the House from 435 to 437 Members beginning with the 110th Congress. [Political note: D.C. currently has a non-voting delegate to the US House. Residents of D.C. overwhelmingly vote Democratic, so the result of this bill would be an additional Democratic vote in the House and for President].
Proponents support voting YES because:
This bill corrects a 200-year-old oversight by restoring to the citizens of the District of Columbia the right to elect a Member of the House of Representatives who has the same voting rights as all other Members.
Residents of D.C. serve in the military. They pay Federal taxes each year. Yet they are denied the basic right of full representation in the House of Representatives.
The District of Columbia was created to prevent any State from unduly influencing the operations of the Federal Government. However, there is simply no evidence that the Framers of the Constitution thought it was necessary to keep D.C. residents from being represented in the House by a voting Member.
Opponents support voting NO because:
The proponents of this bill in 1978 believed that the way to allow D.C. representation was to ratify a constitutional amendment. The Founders of the country had the debate at that time: Should we give D.C. a Representative? They said no. So if you want to fix it, you do it by making a constitutional amendment.
Alternatively, we simply could have solved the D.C. representation problem by retroceding, by giving back part of D.C. to Maryland. There is precedent for this. In 1846, Congress took that perfectly legal step of returning present-day Arlington to the State of Virginia.
Reference: District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act;
Bill H R 1905
; vote number 2007-231
on Apr 19, 2007
Voted YES on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination.
Expands the types of whistleblower disclosures protected from personnel reprisals for federal employees, particularly on national security issues.
Proponents support voting YES because:
This bill would strengthen one of our most important weapons against waste, fraud and abuse, and that is Federal whistleblower protections. Federal employees are on the inside and offer accountability. They can see where there is waste going on or if there is corruption going on.
One of the most important provisions protects national security whistleblowers. There are a lot of Federal officials who knew the intelligence on Iraq was wrong. But none of these officials could come forward. If they did, they could have been stripped of their security clearances, or they could have been fired. Nobody blew the whistle on the phony intelligence that got us into the Iraq war.
Opponents support voting NO because:
It is important that personnel within the intelligence community have
appropriate opportunities to bring matters to Congress so long as the mechanisms to do so safeguard highly sensitive classified information and programs. The bill before us suffers from a number of problems:
The bill would conflict with the provisions of the existing Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998, which protecting sensitive national security information from unauthorized disclosure to persons not entitled to receive it.
The bill violates the rules of the House by encouraging intelligence community personnel to report highly sensitive intelligence matters to committees other than the Intelligence Committees. The real issue is one of protecting highly classified intelligence programs and ensuring that any oversight is conducted by Members with the appropriate experiences, expertise, and clearances.
This bill would make every claim of a self-described whistleblower, whether meritorious or not, subject to extended and protracted litigation.
Reference: Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act;
Bill H R 985
; vote number 2007-153
on Mar 14, 2007
Voted YES on requiring photo ID for voting in federal elections.
Requires that to vote in federal elections, an individual present a government-issued, current, and valid photo identification. After 2010, that ID must require providing proof of US citizenship as a condition for issuance. An individual who does not present such an ID is permitted to cast a provisional ballot, and then present the required ID within 48 hours. Exempts from this requirement the absentee ballot of any eligible overseas military voter on active duty overseas.
Proponents support voting YES because:
The election system is the bedrock that our Republic is built on and its security and oversight is of paramount concern. Only US citizens have the right to vote in Federal elections, but our current system does not give State election officials the tools they need to ensure that this requirement is being met.
This bill is designed to increase participation by ensuring that each legitimate vote will be counted and not be diluted by fraud. There are many elections
in this country every cycle that are decided by just a handful of votes. How can we be certain that these elections, without measures to certify the identity of voters, are not being decided by fraudulent votes?
Opponents support voting NO because:
There is something we can all agree on: only Americans get to vote, and they only get to vote once. But what we are talking about in this bill is disenfranchising many of those Americans. It is already a felony for a non-American to vote. We had hearings and what we found out was that the issue of illegal aliens voting basically does not occur.
The impact of this will disproportionately affect poor people and African Americans, because many are too poor to have a car and they do not have a license. We have no evidence there is a problem. We have ample evidence that this will disenfranchise many Americans. This is the measure to disenfranchise African Americans, Native Americans. It is wrong and we will not stand for it.
Reference: Federal Election Integrity Act;
Bill H R 4844
; vote number 2006-459
on Sep 20, 2006
Voted YES on restricting independent grassroots political committees.
A "527 organization" is a political committee which spends money raised independently of any candidate's campaign committee, in support or opposition of a candidate or in support or opposition of an issue. Well-known examples include MoveOn.org (anti-Bush) and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (anti-Kerry). Voting YES would regulate 527s as normal political committees, which would greatly restrict their funding, and hence would shift power to candidate committees and party committees. The bill's opponents say:
This legislation singles out 527 organizations in an effort to undermine their fundraising and is a direct assault on free speech.
This bill would obstruct the efforts of grassroots organizations while doing nothing to address the culture of corruption in Congress.
H.R. 513 is an unbalanced measure that favors corporate trade associations over independent advocates. Corporate interests could continue spending unlimited and undisclosed dollars for political purposes while independent
organizations would be subject to contribution limits and source restrictions.
H.R. 513 also removes all limits on national and state party spending for Congressional candidates in primary or general elections--an unmasked attack on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and clear evidence that the true intention in advancing H.R. 513 is not reform, but partisan advantage in political fundraising.
The bill's proponents say:
527s' primary purpose is to influence the election or defeat of a Federal candidate. They have to file with the FEC because after Watergate in 1974 this Congress passed a law that said if you are going to have a political committee whose primary purpose is to influence an election, then they have to register with the FEC.
The FEC ignored 30 years of congressional actions and Supreme Court jurisprudence in allowing 527s to evade the law. In short, the FEC failed to do its job and regulate 527s as required under the Watergate statute.
Reference: Federal Election Campaign Act amendment "527 Reform Act";
; vote number 2006-088
on Apr 5, 2006
Voted YES on prohibiting lawsuits about obesity against food providers.
The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act ("The Cheesburger Bill") would prevent civil liability actions against food manufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, sellers, and trade associations for claims relating to a person's weight gain, obesity, or any health condition associated with weight gain or obesity. A YES vote would:
Prohibit such lawsuits in this act in federal or state courts
Dismiss any pending lawsuits upon this bill's enactment
Maintain an individual's right to bring a lawsuit to court for false marketing, advertising or labeling of food when such information led to injury, obesity or weight gain
Reference: The Cheesburger Bill;
Bill HR 554
; vote number 2005-533
on Oct 19, 2005
Voted YES on limiting attorney's fees in class action lawsuits.
Class Action Fairness Act of 2005: Amends the Federal judicial code to specify the calculation of contingent and other attorney's fees in proposed class action settlements that provide for the award of coupons to class members. Allows class members to refuse compliance with settlement agreements or consent decrees absent notice. Prohibits a Federal district court from approving:
a proposed coupon settlement absent a finding that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate;
a proposed settlement involving payments to class counsel that would result in a net monetary loss to class members, absent a finding that the loss is substantially outweighed by nonmonetary benefits; or
a proposed settlement that provides greater sums to some class members solely because they are closer geographically to the court.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA];
; vote number 2005-038
on Feb 17, 2005
Voted YES on restricting frivolous lawsuits.
Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004: Amends the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to:
require courts to impose sanctions on attorneys, law firms, or parties who file frivolous lawsuits (currently, sanctions are discretionary);
disallow the withdrawal or correction of pleadings to avoid sanctions;
require courts to award parties prevailing on motions reasonable expenses and attorney's fees, if warranted;
authorize courts to impose sanctions that include reimbursement of a party's reasonable litigation costs in connection with frivolous lawsuits; and
make the discovery phase of litigation subject to sanctions.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Lamar Smith [R, TX-21];
; vote number 2004-450
on Sep 14, 2004
Voted NO on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions.
Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Overhaul: Vote to pass a bill that would ban soft money contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT, and Meehan D-MA;
Bill HR 2356
; vote number 2002-34
on Feb 14, 2002
Voted YES on banning soft money donations to national political parties.
Support a ban on soft money donations to national political parties but allow up to $10,000 in soft-money donations to state and local parties for voter registration and get-out-the vote activity.
Campaign Finance Reform Act to ban "soft money" and impose restrictions on issue advocacy campaigning.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT;
Bill HR 417
; vote number 1999-422
on Sep 14, 1999
Prohibit non-legislated earmarks.
Ryan co-sponsored prohibiting non-legislated earmarks
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to prohibit Federal agencies from obligating funds for appropriations earmarks included only in congressional reports.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: This bill would prohibit Federal agencies from obligating funds which have been earmarked only in congressional reports. This legislation is designed to help reign in unauthorized, unrequested, run-of-the-mill pork barrel projects.
Report language does not have the force of law. That fact has been lost when it comes to appropriations bills and reports. It has become a standard practice to load up committee reports with literally billions of dollars in unrequested, unauthorized, and wasteful pork barrel projects.
We simply must start making some very tough decisions around here if we are serious about improving our fiscal future.
It is simply not fiscally responsible for us to continue to load up appropriations bills with wasteful and unnecessary spending, and good deals for special interests and their lobbyists. We have had ample opportunities to tighten our belts in this town in recent years, and we have taken a pass each and every time. We can't put off the inevitable any longer.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management & Government Information; hearings held; never came to a vote.
Source: Obligation of Funds Transparency Act (S.1495/H.R.1642) 05-S1495 on Jul 26, 2005
No recess appointments without Congressional approval.
Ryan co-sponsored Resolution against Presidential appointments
Congressional Summary: Resolution Disapproving of the President's appointment of four officers during a period when no recess of the Congress for a period of more than three days and expressing that those appointments were made in violation of the Constitution.
Text of Resolution:
Whereas the Constitution states, 'Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days';
Whereas, on January 4, 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Richard Cordray to be the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and appointed Sharon Block, Terence Flynn, and Richard Griffin to the National Labor Relations Board; and
Whereas these appointments broke the long-established precedent of Congress being in recess for more than three days before the President can make a recess appointment:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives disapproves of the President's appointment of four officers when no recess of the Congress for a period of more than three days was authorized.
OnTheIssues Notes:Pres. Obama attempted to appoint Elizabeth Warren to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in May 2011; House Republicans disapproved of Ms. Warren. House Speaker John Boehner disallowed the Senate's adjournment resolution, which meant the Senate was legally not adjourned and Pres. Obama could not make a "recess appointment" which would otherwise be allowed. This Resolution brings the issue to the fore again, for another set of Obama appointments for which House Republicans disapprove.
Restrict campaign donations from foreigners or 3rd parties.
Ryan co-sponsored restricting campaign donations from foreigners or 3rd party
To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to increase the penalties imposed for making or accepting contributions in the name of another and to prohibit foreign nationals from making any campaign-related disbursements.
Increase civil & criminal penalties for knowing and willful violations of the prohibition against making or accepting contributions in the name of another.
Sets both civil and criminal fines at not less than 300% of the amount involved in the violation and not more than the greater of $50,000 or 1,000% of such amount.
Mandates a criminal fine or two years' imprisonment, or both.
Limits criminal penalties to violations involving an amount aggregating $1,000 or more during a calendar year.
Changes from discretionary to mandatory the authority of the Federal Election Commission to refer to the Attorney General any instance of probable cause that a violation of such prohibition has occurred.
Revises the current ban on contributions by foreign nationals to encompass all disbursements by foreign nationals, including any disbursement to a political committee of a political party and any disbursement for an independent expenditure.
Source: Conduit Contribution Prevention Act (H.R.1747) 1999-H1747 on May 11, 1999
Require all laws to cite Constitutional authorization.
Ryan signed Enumerated Powers Act
A bill to require Congress to specify the source of authority under the United States Constitution for the enactment of laws.
Each Act of Congress shall contain a concise explanation of the specific constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act. The failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in either House of Congress. The availability of this point of order does not affect any other available relief.
Constitutional Authority for This Act: This Act proposes to establish new procedures by which legislation shall be considered by Congress and is enacted pursuant to the power granted Congress under article I, section 5, clause 2, of the United States Constitution establishing that each House may determine the rules of its proceedings.