Politics

Paul Ryan: 'Don't Fall For' Cynicism on Tax Overhaul

Speaker touts plan at New Balance factory in Massachusetts

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spoke Thursday about GOP plans to overhaul the tax code. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has a message for American families who only hear cynical talk coming out of Washington: “Don’t fall for it.”

Specifically, the Wisconsin Republican was addressing cynicism surrounding his top legislative priority of rewriting the nation’s tax code, which he acknowledges will be a heavy lift.

“It’s ambitious,” he said, speaking at a New Balance athletic shoe factory in Lawrence, Mass. “There are a lot of people that say, ‘Oh gosh, this can’t be done.’ That’s what the cynical talk in Washington is like these days. … Don’t fall for it.”

Republicans remain optimistic about their ability to pass landmark tax legislation, despite struggles with a health care overhaul that is several months delayed and counting. House GOP leaders are currently having trouble finding the votes to pass their fiscal year 2018 budget blueprint that would set up the reconciliation process to fast-track their still unwritten tax bill.

Ryan spoke Thursday about the importance of cutting taxes for both businesses and families, promising sweeping rate cuts and a simplified code that would put an end to “complicated loopholes, deductions.”

“Right now we have a tax code that no one really understands, enforced by an agency that no one really likes, the Internal Revenue Service,” the speaker said.

New Balance is “a business that probably labels many of its products ‘Made in America,’” Ryan said, picking up on the White House’s theme of the week. He cited an ad campaign the company ran in 1992 that questioned if they could make quality shoes in the United States, then why couldn’t their competitors.

Ryan had an answer: “Because we have the worst business tax code in the industrialized world. We’re doing it to ourselves.”

Even companies like New Balance that make products in the United States but sell them overseas keep those foreign profits stashed offshore to avoid paying a high U.S. tax bill from repatriating the money.

“This is money that could and this is money that will be reinvested in the American economy once our reform is in place,” Ryan said.

The speaker's remarks followed him touring the factory and participating in a business leader roundtable.

The Massachusetts visit follows two events Ryan held in his home state of Wisconsin to tout a tax overhaul plan: employee town halls at Burlington Graphics System in Racine and WPC Technologies in Oak Creek.

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