The House Speaker, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has asserted that the GOP-majority Congress and President Donald Trump combined can enact the most productive administration in his lifetime. Ryan also dismissed Democratic prospects for the 2018 midterms.
On June 27, Ryan asserted that Trump's performance as president was solid during an interview with "FOX & Friends."
"I think he's doing fine," Ryan said. "I think the key is, don't get distracted -- and I'm not saying he's distracted -- but what we do in Congress is we're not getting distracted by different issues. We're focusing on our job."
The House Speaker asserted that his caucus and the Trump administration had the opportunity to dramatically reshape U.S. domestic policy.
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"We have an opportunity in front of us," Ryan continued. "We're making good progress on these things. We campaigned on doing serious things with this president. It's going to take us time to do those things. But we get this done, this will be the most productive presidency and Congress in our -- in our lifetime."
As of June 23, Trump had signed only one piece of legislation that would deliver on one of his key campaign promises. Of the 40 bills the president signed into law, 15 repealed Obama administration regulations, six made alterations to existing programs, five were recommendations to federal agencies, five called for ceremonial gestures, five related to federal personnel, two extended Obama administration policies, one kept the government temporarily funded while Congress debated a spending bill, and one was a concrete new policy, according to NPR.
That new policy, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, made it easier for the VA secretary to dismiss employees, a first step toward Trump's pledge to reform the agency.
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Ryan also knocked Democrats' resistance to the GOP replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, asserting that the party was fatally weakened.
"I think the left is out of gas," Ryan continued. "I think they just basically decide resist, resist, resist."
That same day, Ryan voiced a similar sentiment during another interview.
"The Democrats are in disarray," Ryan told the Washington Examiner. "All they're doing is suggesting they're going to come and fight and resist, and I don't think that's what voters want."
The House Speaker added that he believed the GOP would hold onto its congressional majority after the 2018 midterms so long as they follow through on their legislative agenda.
"Voters want us to do what we said we would do," Ryan said. "They like what we said we would do, and we simply have to execute. And, so by executing our agenda, by keeping our momentum, we'll keep a virtuous cycle going."
That theory will be put to the test in 2018. Ryan already has a prominent Democratic challenger in ironworker and Army veteran Randy Bryce, who is vying for the House Speaker's congressional seat in Wisconsin.
In a campaign advertisement that went viral, Bryce blasted Ryan for his approach to health care.
"Let's trade places," Bryce said in the advertisement. "Paul Ryan, you can come work the iron and I'll go to D.C."
On June 23, the Democratic candidate asserted that he would represent his neighbors while Ryan represented partisan dogma.
"I see myself as a person standing up for working people," Bryce told NPR. "And I put people over party, unlike what's going on now... The big thing right now is working people want to be heard."