Ryan abandons deficit reduction rhetoric

Ryan told reporter Erica Werner that tax reform is "more important than anything else"

By Matthew Rozsa
September 13, 2017 9:02PM (UTC)
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Paul Ryan (Getty/Win McNamee)

Do you remember the days when Republicans claimed to be deficit hawks, opposing President Barack Obama's economic agenda solely because of their unwavering devotion to fiscal rectitude?

Now one of the hawk-iest hawks in the GOP aviary, House Speaker Paul Ryan, has flat-out admitted he cares less about deficit reduction than providing large tax cuts to the wealthy.


"We want pro-growth tax reform that will get the economy growing, that will get people back to work, that will give middle-income taxpayers a tax cut, and that will put American businesses in a better competitive playing field so that we keep American businesses in America," Ryan told Erica Werner of the Associated Press. "That is more important than anything else."

Earlier in the interview, when Werner asked Ryan if the Republican tax reform plan would be revenue-neutral, he replied, "Well, I'm not going to get into baselines and those issues simply because our tax writers are going to be putting out the paper pretty soon."

Ryan's comments come as Trump buckles down and attempts to pass a tax reform plan that can make up for his failures in pushing through an Obamacare repeal or a U.S.-Mexico border wall. This has included hosting a dinner on Tuesday which included conservative Democratic senators like Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, as well as touring the country to tout the merits of tax reform.


That tour is expected to take Trump to at least four of the crucial swing states he won in the 2016 presidential election — Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Deficit Reduction Donald Trump Paul Ryan Tax Reform