House Majority Leader Paul Ryan warned the GOP Friday that if they don’t start fulfilling campaign promises voters won’t show up in 2018, threatening their majorities in the House and Senate.
“If we don’t do our job we will depress turnout,” Ryan said in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal. “I am frustrated as well.”
Repealing and replacing Obamacare and tax reform are among the GOP’s major campaign promises.
He placed the blame on the Senate for the GOP's failures thus far.
“The problem isn’t having President Trump sign bills into law and it isn’t getting bills out of the House — the problem is getting these bills through the Senate,” Ryan said.
Before departing for the August recess last week, Ryan and the rest of his leadership team urged the GOP rank-and-file to tout bills the House has passed but haven’t made it through the Senate.
Those measures include unwinding parts of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, cutting off funds to sanctuary cities and providing $1.6 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall promised by President Trump during the campaign. But none of those bills are expected to get enough votes to pass in the Senate, largely thanks to Democrats’ ability to filibuster. (The Hill)
“We’re pretty frustrated with the slow pace of things [in the Senate], but in the House, we’ve actually done most of our agenda except for welfare reform and tax reform,” Ryan said. “There’s just been a lot of distractions out there, whether it’s Russia, or tweeting, or whatever.”
The House Speaker also expressed his disagreement with the president over sanctions on Russia.
Trump blamed members of Congress on Thursday, saying, “Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can't even give us HCare!”
“We think Russia deserved the sanctions that we passed,” Ryan said. “Russia can improve our relationship if they stop meddling in our elections.”
The speaker was hopeful that Republicans would have better luck passing tax reform than they did on healthcare reform.
“We had different opinions on how to advance healthcare reform,” he said. “On tax reform, we’re largely in agreement.”