"Should abortion remain a legal option in America?"
Con: "Since the Court decided [in Roe v. Wade] there was no 'consensus' on when fetuses become human persons, it struck down abortion restrictions in all 50 states that thought they had reached a 'consensus.' Only those already born 'qualified' for protection. Moreover, the already born were empowered to deny, at will, the rights of persons still in the womb. The Court did not say that, given the lack of consensus, the matter ought to be left to the states... Instead, the Court used the lack of consensus to justify prohibiting states from protecting the life of the unborn...
I cannot believe any official or citizen can still defend the notion that an unborn human being has no rights that an older person is bound to respect. I do know that we cannot go on forever feigning agnosticism about who is human... the right of 'choice' of one human being cannot trump the right to 'life' of another. How long can we sustain our commitment to freedom if we continue to deny the very foundation of freedom - life - for the most vulnerable human beings?...
...[P]ro-life conservatives are natural optimists. On balance, we see human beings as assets, not liabilities. All conservatives should find it easy to agree that government must uphold every person’s right to make choices regarding their lives and that every person’s right to live must be secured before he or she can exercise that right of choice."
"The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom," paulryan.house.gov, Sep. 20, 2010
[Editor's Note: Paul Ryan was a co-sponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act (HR 212), introduced in the US House of Representatives on Jan. 7, 2011. The act states that: "[T]he life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood."]
"Should parental consent be required for pregnant minors to have abortions?"
Pro: "This legislation [Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (HR 748)] protects young girls from being pressured to cross state lines for a secret abortion, and it stands up for the parents’ right to protect their daughters’ health and well-being and give them guidance... I think we should all be able to agree that parents need to know about a crucial matter like this. Parents’ permission is routinely required to administer basic medications such as aspirin to their children or for field trips or other travel. The idea that they would not be notified of an abortion defies common sense."
"Is China an economic or military threat to the US?"
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Free trade is a powerful tool for peace and prosperity, but our trading partners need to play by the rules. And this challenge focuses on China. They steal our intellectual property rights. They block access to their markets. They manipulate their currency...
President Obama said he would stop these practices... He said he’d go to the mat with China. Instead, they are treating him like a doormat. We’re not going to let that happen. Mitt Romney and I are going to crack down on China cheating and we’re going to make sure that trade works for Americans.”
"Paul Ryan: China Is Treating Obama 'Like a Doormat,'" www.washingtonpost.com, Aug. 16, 2012
"Should the US continue to support the embargo against Cuba?"
Now Not Clearly Pro or Con: "One of my best friends in Congress is Mario Diaz-Balart. I’m also good friends with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. And I’ve had some great meetings with them and briefings from them over the last number of years about how important it is to make sure we stare down the Castro regime and we do nothing that helps embolden the Castro regime. And Mitt Romney is as strong as anybody on this issue, to seeing to an end to the Castro regime, and that’s why I think Cuban Americans are very supportive of the Romney-Ryan ticket."
"In Ascent to GOP’s Top Ranks, 'Money & Pandering' Leads Paul Ryan to Drop Opposition to Cuba Embargo," www.democracynow.org, Aug. 29, 2012
[Editor's Note:Some media outlets have reported that Paul Ryan no longer opposes the Cuban embargo based upon the above Aug. 29, 2012 quote and Gov. Romney’s Aug. 13, 2012 interview on Univision News where he said "His [Ryan's] position is like mine, he wants to maintain pressure on the Cuban regime." However, because Congressman Ryan does not directly state that he supports or opposes the Cuban embargo, we have labeled him Not Clearly Pro or Con to our question "Should the US continue to support the embargo against Cuba?"]
Con:Prior to Paul Ryan's Not Clearly Pro or Con position above, he held a Con position as indicated by the following quote from an Aug. 17, 2002 interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "If we think engagement works well with China, well, it ought to work well with Cuba... The embargo doesn't work. It is a failed policy. It was probably justified when the Soviet Union existed and posed a threat through Cuba. I think it's become more of a crutch for Castro to use to repress his people. All the problems he has, he blames the American embargo...
...[The] more we have a free exchange of people and ideas and customs, the more the people of Cuba will be exposed to the values of freedom and liberty."
"Cuba Woos Heart of US With Trade," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 17, 2002
"Should the US federal government have bailed out US private financial corporations like AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, etc.?"
Pro: "I believe we were on the cusp of a deflationary spiral which would have created a Depression. I think that’s probably pretty likely. If we would have allowed that to happen, I think we would have had a big government agenda sweeping through this country so fast that we wouldn’t have recovered from it. So in order to prevent a Depression and a complete evisceration of the free market system we have, I think it [the bailout of financial corporations] was necessary. It wasn’t a fun vote. You don’t get to choose the kind of votes you want. But I just think as far as the long term objectives that I have — which are restoring the principles of this country — I think it was necessary to prevent those principles from being really kind of wiped out for a generation."
"Paul Ryan Explains His Votes for TARP, Bailouts and Tax on AIG Bonuses," dailycaller.com, Feb. 14, 2010
"Should the US federal government have bailed out General Motors and Chrysler?"
Pro: "Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 7321, The Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act by a vote of 237 – 170.
The American automotive industry is under considerable distress, and various proposals have been put forth to provide aid to those in need. I’ve maintained that any assistance to the domestic auto industry should be drawn from previously approved funds from a U.S. Department of Energy loan package, rather than divert resources from the financial rescue package or rely on additional taxpayer dollars. H.R. 7321 cuts through the bureaucratic red tape and expedites these previously appropriated funds. Because no additional taxpayer dollars were appropriated, I was able to support this legislation.
At the forefront of my mind are jobs in Southern Wisconsin and the retiree commitments to workers that could be placed in jeopardy under certain bankruptcy scenarios. To be clear, this bill is not intended to save the American auto industry and makes no guarantees that layoffs in this industry will end. Congress must stop overselling what it can do. At the very least, I am hopeful that by extending these loans to the American auto manufacturers, bankruptcy will be avoided in the near term and protections for retirees will remain intact."
"Expediting Assistance for Auto Workers," paulryan.house.gov, Dec. 11, 2008
[Editor's Note: Although Paul Ryan voted for The Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act (HR 7321), which would have given the Auto Industry federal loans from the US Department of Energy, he did not support the use of TARP (Troubled Asset Releif Program) money to bail out the automotive industry. In a Feb. 14, 2010 article, "Paul Ryan Explains His Votes for TARP, Bailouts and Tax on AIG Bonuses," available at dailycaller.com, he was quoted as stating the following: "The president’s [George W. Bush] chief of staff [Josh Bolten] made it extremely clear to me before the vote [on HR 7321], which is either the auto companies get the money that was put in the Energy Department for them already... or the president was going to give them TARP, with no limit. That’s what they told me. That’s what the president’s chief of staff explained to me. I said, ‘Well, I don’t want them to get TARP... We don’t want to expand it. So give them that Energy Department money that at least puts them out of TARP, and is limited.’ Well, where are we now? What I feared would happen did happen. The bill failed, and now they’ve got $87 billion from TARP, money we’re not going to get back."]
"Should Congress have increased the debt limit on Aug. 2, 2011 to prevent default?"
Pro: "The Budget Control Act represents a victory for those committed to controlling government spending and growing our economy. I applaud Speaker Boehner’s leadership in stopping tax increases on job creators, rejecting President Obama’s demands for a blank check to keep borrowing, and advancing real spending cuts and controls. The agreement – while far from perfect – underscores the extent to which the new House majority has successfully changed Washington’s culture of spending. No longer can Washington endlessly spend money it does not have.
While the immediate debt ceiling issue has been responsibly resolved, a spending-driven debt crisis remains a threat. To lift this crushing burden of debt and help spur job creation, policymakers must advance serious structural reforms to the largest driver of our debt: government spending on health care, including the President’s costly, partisan health-care overhaul.
The Budget Control Act marks a positive step forward in getting government spending control, but much hard work remains."
"Ryan Statement on Passage of Budget Control Act," paulryan.house.gov, Aug. 1, 2011
"Should the government continue to fund Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?"
Con: "There is a growing and pernicious trend of government overreach into the private economy – a trend that stacks the deck in favor of entrenched interests and stifles growth. This budget stops Washington from picking winners and losers across the economy. It rolls back corporate subsidies in the energy sector. It ends the taxpayer bailouts of failed financial institutions, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
"The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint For American Renewal," budget.house.gov (accessed Sep. 11, 2012)
[Editor's Note: Paul Ryan, US Representative (R-WI), on July 23, 2008, voted against the Forclosure Prevention Act of 2008 (HR 3221). In a July 23, 2008 press release, "Ryan Rejects Putting Bailouts on the Backs of Taxpayers," available at paulryan.house.gov, he stated the following: "My top priority is to protect the taxpayers, not the shareholders. Our current policy toward Fannie and Freddie is not only dysfunctional and rife with bad incentives, but it also has potentially disastrous consequences for taxpayers. This bailout plan aggravates the fundamental problem that led us here: Fannie and Freddie remain for-profit corporations but still enjoy a Federal guarantee at the taxpayers’ expense against any risk of loss. To force Americans already struggling to make ends meet to take on this risk is a dangerous precedent."]
"Should the United States return to the gold standard in which coin and currency are backed by gold?"
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "We badly need to engage in a national conversation about our country’s currency and the role of the Federal Reserve.
In the last few months the dollar’s international value has fallen precipitously to new lows. Through all this, the silence of the Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve has been deafening. The silence can only mean they don’t see a problem when the dollar – the world’s reserve currency – loses value every day...
Since 1971 when the gold standard was terminated, there has been no objective measure of the dollar’s value. The world has had to place its trust of paper dollars in the promises of the US government. In the end, the dollar’s continued strength rests on the integrity of the American idea. Confidence in our free market democracy has constituted our moral bond with the rest of the world. Without any objective dollar standard, that’s all there is left supporting our money...
It’s essential to understand that Congress itself put the Fed in an impossible situation and made 'boom and bust' cycles inevitable. The Humphrey-Hawkins law, enacted soon after the gold standard was ended, imposes a 'dual mandate' on the Fed. This means it has to steer monetary policy to (a) keep prices stable, and to (b) keep unemployment low and the economy growing. Day-to-day fixes cannot solve the Fed problem because it has to meet two mandates often in conflict. Congress should end the 'dual mandate' and require the Fed to do one job: guarantee the long-term stability of the dollar.
My mentor the late Jack Kemp gave advice to the Fed that seems almost prophetic now. He said: 'Until we restore a fixed gold dollar, and a stable international monetary system to match it, there is only one second-best option... [O]ne way to tell if money is too tight or too loose... is to monitor sensitive commodity prices... Gold should at least be included, since it is a forward-looking indicator of anticipated inflation which gives early warning of emerging tendencies toward inflation or deflation.' We still should heed his advice."
"Economic Club of Minnesota: Remarks by Congressman Paul Ryan," paulryan.house.gov, Nov. 9, 2009
"Has the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had an overall benefit for the US?"
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "'Human rights' and 'economic growth,' rightly understood, have this in common: the expansion of some does not come at the expense of others. Free markets and trade, in one or among many nations, promote the prosperity of all participants. Believers in the social welfare state model might not care to encourage free and open international trade for the same reason they dislike robust competitive markets at home. 'Protectionism' conforms better to social welfare state controlled economies than open and free trade."
Speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, "Missed Opportunities for Economic Engagement and the Need for Executive Leadership," paulryan.house.gov, Dec. 3, 2009
[Editor's Note: Paul Ryan was not yet a member of Congress when NAFTA was passed in 1994. However, Ryan has voted for the following free trade agreements during his time as a member of Congress: the Central American Free Trade Agreement (2005), the US-Korean Trade Agreement (2011), the US-Panama Trade Agreement (2011), and the US-Colombia Trade Agreement (2011).]
"Should the federal government continue to subsidize big oil companies?"
Con: Paul Ryan, US Representative (R-WI), stated the following during an Apr. 26, 2011 video interview with CBS Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes after a town hall meeting in Waterford, WI, available at www.cbsnews.com:
Paul Ryan: "We're talking about reforming the tax code, cleaning it up..."
Nancy Cordes: "So you're willing to cut loopholes for oil and gas companies?"
Paul Ryan: "Yah, we want to cut all these loopholes..."
Interview with CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes, "Rep. Ryan Defends Budget Plans, Changes to Medicare in Wisconsin," www.cbsnews.com, Apr. 26, 2011
"Is outsourcing jobs to other countries good for America?"
Con: "People are hurting because American companies benefit by shipping jobs overseas... That’s not fair... American companies should benefit when they keep jobs here... Instead of exporting jobs, we should be exporting American products."
Paul Ryan 2010 congressional campaign video, "Paul Ryan 2010 TV Ad on Outsourcing," YouTube.com (accessed Sep. 17, 2012)
"Has the No Child Left Behind Act been effective at improving public education?"
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Introduced by Representative Bishop (R-UT) in July 2011, H.R.2514, the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) Act, would allow states to opt out of NCLB [No Child Left Behind], giving them greater flexibility to appropriately meet state educational needs. With the approval of at least two of three state entities (Governor, State Legislature, state education agency), states would enter into a five-year performance agreement with the Secretary of Education and would be required to demonstrate uniform increased academic achievement as well as provide disaggregated performance data from various demographic groups.
A-PLUS limits federal influence over state education programs and provides relief from the imposition of NCLB’s top-down reform policies, and I have signed on as a co-sponsor of this bill. Most recently, it is currently pending in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce where."
"Education," paulryan.house.gov (accessed Aug. 30, 2012)
[Editor's Note: On May 23, 2001, Paul Ryan voted in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act (HR 1).]
"Is the use of federally mandated standardized tests improving education in America?"
Con: "Despite record investment in public education by federal, state, and local governments over the past few decades, academic achievement has not seen a commensurate improvement, and the state of the American education system is sobering. Stagnant student achievement levels and exploding deficits have demonstrated that massive amounts of federal funding and top-down interventions are not the way to provide America’s students with a high-quality education...
Rather than relying on the federal government to ensure that students are given the capability to fulfill their potential, education ought to be governed by state and local boards more ably qualified to determine student need."
"Education," paulryan.house.gov (accessed Aug. 30, 2012)
[Editor's Note: Paul Ryan, describing how he did not support the standardized testing component of the No Child Left Behind Act, made the following statement in a 2007 interview, as quoted in an Aug. 23, 2012, article "Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan Differ on Standardized Testing in Schools," available at www.huffingtonpost.com:
"I voted actually against the testing... The amendment that I supported to take the testing component out of No Child Left Behind was defeated, so we lost our amendment...
My concern with the testing is that it moves toward a nationalized curriculum."]
"Are humans substantially responsible for global climate change?"
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "To the detriment of the American people, environmental issues have fallen victim to the hyper-politicization of science... ...[P]ublished e-mail exchanges from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU)... make clear efforts to use statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change...
While interests on both sides of the issue will debate the relevance of the manipulated or otherwise omitted data, these revelations undermine confidence in the scientific data driving the climate change debates."
"Misplaced Priorities," The Journal Times, Dec. 11, 2009
[Editor's Note: Paul Ryan voted in favor of the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 (HR 910) an act: "To amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change, and for other purposes."]
"Should most adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?"
Pro: Paul Ryan, US Representative (R-WI), co-sponsored and voted for, on Nov. 16, 2011, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 (HR 822). The Congressional Research Service summary of HR 822, available at thomas.loc.gov, states the following:
"Amends the federal criminal code to authorize a person who is carrying a valid, government-issued identification document containing that person's photograph and a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm in one state, and who is not prohibited from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm under federal law, to possess or carry a concealed handgun (other than a machine gun or destructive device) in another state in accordance with the restrictions of that state."
"HR 822 CRS Summary," thomas.loc.gov (accessed Aug. 31, 2012)
[Editor's Note: On Nov. 17, 2011 the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 (HR 822) was received in the Senate, read twice, and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. On Mar. 13, 2012 companion legislation to HR 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012 (S 2118), was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
"Are the March 2010 federal health care reform laws ("Obamacare") good for America?"
Con: "House Republicans have taken the first steps to control Washington’s reckless spending spree by rolling back the President’s fiscally irresponsible health care law. Businesses, policy experts, and government actuaries have confirmed what the country already knew: this law spends trillions of dollars that we don’t have, raises taxes on workers, businesses and families, and puts the federal government squarely in the middle of health-care decisions...
The law relies on 10 years of tax increases and 10 years of Medicare cuts to pay for six years of new spending. The bill raids more than $700 billion from Medicare to fuel a new $1.7 trillion open ended entitlement and ignores the $298 billion needed to avert cuts to Medicare physicians. Even the implementation costs are hidden behind budgetary gimmicks and Washington-style accounting rules...
With the recent Supreme Court ruling, 21 tax increases remain in the law, a dozen of which target Americans earning less than $200,000 per year for singles and $250,000 per year for married couples. With the national unemployment rate hovering at over 8%, keeping a job-destroying, spend-and-tax policy on the books would be irresponsible and would further diminish the prospects of a robust economic recovery...
We cannot afford to tinker around the edges of this fundamentally flawed law. Full repeal is a critical step towards true health care reform...
On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court affirmed that the federal mandate to purchase government-approved health insurance imposes a tax on the American people. Despite the disappointing decision on the law’s constitutionality, there is no question that the law remains terrible policy."
"The President's Health Care Law," paulryan.house.gov (accessed Aug. 31, 2012)
"Should there be a federal mandate for individuals to have health insurance?"
Con: "Last week, on March 21st, Congress enacted a new Intolerable Act. Congress passed the Health Care bill - or I should say, one political party passed it - over a swelling revolt by the American people. The reform is an atrocity. It mandates that every American must buy health insurance, under IRS scrutiny. It sets up an army of federal bureaucrats who ultimately decide for you how you should receive Health Care, what kind, and how much...or whether you don't qualify at all. Never has our government claimed the power to decide when each of us has lived well enough or long enough to be refused life-saving medical assistance. This presumptuous reform has put this nation... once dedicated to the life and freedom of every person ... on a long decline toward the same mediocrity that the social welfare states of Europe have become."
"Should America Bid Farwell to Exceptional Freedom?," www.realclearpolitics.com, Apr. 2, 2010
"Should all Americans have a right (be entitled) to basic health care?"
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "[W]e can have a health care system in America where everybody has affordable access to health insurance, including people with pre-existing conditions, without a government takeover...
What Mrs. Kennedy and others were saying [in the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare] is this is a new government granted right. We disagree with the notion that our rights come from government, that the government can now grant us and define our rights. Those are ours; those come from nature and God according to the Declaration of Independence, a huge difference in philosophy."
"Rep. Ryan: The American People Will Be the Judge and Jury of This Law," YouTube.com, July 1, 2012
Con: "I believe fundamentally that marriage is between a man and a woman. Although I support the constitutional amendment to protect marriage, that process cannot continue at this time given the failed attempt by the U.S. Senate to advance the amendment. Meanwhile, states could be forced to accept same-sex marriages because of a few judges in Massachusetts. This legislation protects each state’s right to protect marriage."
"House Votes to Protect Marriage and State's Rights, Prevent Power Play by Federal Judges," paulryan.house.gov, July 22, 2004
[Editor's Note: On July 18, 2006, Paul Ryan voted in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment (HJ.Res 88) to propose a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.]
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "My personal positions on this issue have been let the states decide what to do with these things. This is something that is not a high priority of ours as to whether or not we go down the road on this issue. What I’ve always believed is the states should decide. I personally don’t agree with it, but this is something Coloradoans have to decide for themselves."
"GOP VP Nominee Paul Ryan With Answers," www.krdo.com, Sep. 7, 2012
[Editor's Note: On June 15, 2005, Paul Ryan voted against an amendment to HR 2826 that would have blocked the Justice Department from prosecuting people in the 10 states where medical marijuana was legal at the time: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington State.]
"Do lower taxes incentivize employers to hire more workers?"
Pro: "We need more successful small businesses to hire people in Wisconsin and throughout the country, and by raising their tax rates, which are already subject to go up to nearly 45% or even higher, we make them that much less competitive in the global economy...
We ought to go back to the basics that have always worked to grow our economy, and if you talk to any businesses run in Wisconsin - the biggest concern they have is the amount of uncertainty that is coming from government. And so, let’s address this and go to the foundations of economic growth: a regulatory environment that is stable, predictable, and fair; tax rates that are low and predictable; sound money, let’s have a system where we know the value of our dollar is going to be stable; and get our debt and deficits under control.
There’s no good substitute for getting the basic macroeconomic foundations in place and promoting policies that have proven to create jobs. What we want to do is pass ideas into law that have proven to create jobs in the past and not spend our time passing ideas that have already proven not to create jobs."
"Rep. Paul Ryan Discusses Social Security, Taxing the Rich and Health Care Reform on Milwaukee Public Radio," paulryan.house.gov, Oct. 5, 2011
Con: "[T]he last thing our country needs are tax increases...
Instead of chasing higher spending with ever-higher taxes, Congress needs to make our tax code fair, competitive and simple...
The tax code is full of deductions, credits and loopholes that let politically-connected companies avoid paying taxes. Every dollar that businesses spend lobbying for a better tax deal is a dollar they’re not spending on making a better product. And, since every dollar hidden in a loophole doesn’t get taxed – politicians make up for this lost revenue by increasing overall tax rates. So we need to close these loopholes...
The budget we passed in the House of Representatives calls for closing the loopholes and lowering the tax rates."
"Taxes," paulryan.house.gov (accessed Aug. 31, 2012)
"Should the wealthiest 1% of Americans be taxed more heavily?"
Con: "...[W]e want to lower the barriers against Americans who want to rise. We want to make it easier for people to have upper mobility, economic opportunity. And we don't want to put new barriers in place for Americans who want to rise...
And I would say, on the class warfare, there are a few points I would simply make, if you'll allow me. Number one, the math just doesn't work. Raising all these taxes on small businesses doesn't work. It's not just taxing the movie star, the baseball player, the Wall Street person. You're taxing the engine of economic growth, small businesses. If you took all the income from every millionaire in America today, it would run the government for about four months...
Instead of job-killing tax increases, why don't we just stop subsidizing wealthy people? I mean, let's go after the crony capitalism, the corporate welfare in the tax code, in spending."
"NBC 'Meet the Press' - Transcript," votesmart.org, Oct. 9, 2011
Paul Ryan's Biography
US Representative (R-WI)
Full Name: Paul Davis Ryan
Marital Status: Married
Birthdate: Jan. 29, 1970
Birthplace: Janesville, Wisconsin
Religion: Roman Catholic
Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Aug. 29, 2012-present
US Representative (R-WI), Jan. 1999-present
Chairman, House Budget Committee
Senior member, House Ways and Means Committee
Member, House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Health