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Obama, Ryan Speak Same Language on Criminal Justice Overhaul

Ryan addresses Congress on Oct. 29 after being sworn in as speaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:05 p.m. | Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s record suggests issues like helping former inmates find work on the outside might just be an early area of collaboration with President Barack Obama, who traveled to New Jersey Monday to unveil a list of executive actions aimed at doing just that.  

Obama wants Congress to “build on” criminal justice changes he announced Monday by sending him legislation that would rid the federal hiring process of questions about prior criminal history, an issue that earned him applause during his address at Rutgers University in Newark. With Republicans in the majority of both chambers, the president was careful to frame the criminal justice overhaul effort as bipartisan, mentioning Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.