(CNSNews.com) - Republicans have an ambitious agenda over the next four months, minus August, when they’ll be on vacation again.
But House Speaker Paul Ryan said he believes lawmakers can get it all done by September 30, the end of the Fiscal ’17: “We walk and chew gum at the same time,” he told Fox News’s Bret Baier Wednesday night.
One of the Republican priorities is tax reform, and while passage may be “a little bumpy,” Ryan said Republicans agree on this topic, unlike health care:
We all agree on tax reform. We are wired as Republicans with the same DNA, which is stop overtaxing manufacturers and producers. Stop hurting families with an abusive IRS and a complicated tax code. So we are in such agreement on the critical principles of tax reform, and we also know that this is key for economic growth.
Getting our regulatory agenda through, which we’re well on our way to doing; and reforming and overhauling our tax system, are the two crown jewels of getting America's economy growing faster and getting people to work, getting faster wage growth. We know that this is important, so we’re dedicated to it, and I am very confident we will get it done this year.
Ryan said he’d like to get the corporate tax rate “as low as possible.”
“If we can get to 15 percent, I’m all in on doing that. It's just a question of getting the numbers to work or not. That’s really what it is for us. We would love to get to 15 percent. So we will see what we can do. But again, the lower the better, as far as I'm concerned.”
Given the partisan environment on Capitol Hill, how can Republicans get Democrat support on any legislation, Baier asked Ryan:
“Well, it is their choice if they want to make everything partisan, if they want to try to stop anything happening,” Ryan responded. “That would be an unfortunate choice.”
Ryan said Democrats joined Republicans two weeks ago in passing a government funding bill. “So it would be a little strange to my mind if Democrats are going to filibuster funding the military, if Democrats are going to filibuster securing our border, if they’re going to filibuster the things people sent us here to do.”
Ryan noted that Republicans won the election. “And we’re advancing our principles and ideas. We're doing what we said we would do when we ran for office, and now we’re getting it done and producing results. And that's what matters most is the results that we produce.
“And so this is Congress, it gets partisan. The country is polarized and partisan but at the end of the day, I can't imagine Democrats are going to take their toys and go away and do nothing to work to advance people's interest.”
Ryan spoke to Fox News from Ohio, where he was talking to manufacturers about tax reform. “We thing that is really important to get economic growth in this country, to get people back to work, to raise wages. And so that’s one of the things we’re out here talking about, listening to manufacturers right here in the heartland about what they need to see to get this economy growing, and we are going to be working on this agenda all summer and yes, into the fall.”
Ryan said other agenda items for the rest of the fiscal year include infrastructure, border security, rebuilding the military, more regulatory relief, and a Dodd-Frank reform bill.
“So we’ve got a full plate of things that we think are necessary not only to fulfill our promises…but making sure we get the economy growing.”