Addressing Congress for the first time as speaker of the House, Wisconsin Rep. [crscore]Paul Ryan[/crscore] said: “Let’s be frank: The House is broken. We are not solving problems.”
“We are adding to them,” Ryan said. “And I am not interested in laying blame. We are not settling scores. We are wiping the slate clean.”
Ryan made the remarks after the body formally voted him to replace outgoing-Speaker [crscore]John Boehner[/crscore]. He opened his speech by praising Boehner as “the gentleman from Ohio” and thanking him for his service.
But — throwing a bone to the conservatives who opposed Boehner’s leadership — Ryan said “we need to make some changes, starting with how the House does business.”
“We need to let every member contribute—not once they have earned their stripes, but right now,” Ryan said, referencing grievances from some conservative lawmakers.
“I come at this job as a two-time committee chair,” he said. “The committees should retake the lead in drafting all major legislation. If you know the issue, you should write the bill. Open up the process. Let people participate.”
Ryan, who reluctantly ran for speaker after being told by Republicans he was the only one able to unify the fractured conference, said, “I never thought I’d be the speaker.”
“But early in my life” Ryan said, “I wanted to serve in the House. I thought the place was exhilarating—because here, you could make a difference. If you had a good idea and worked hard, you could make it happen. You could improve people’s lives. To me, the House represented the best of America: the boundless opportunity to do good.”