Congress

House GOP to have agenda by time the party’s presidential nominee is picked

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2016 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Two fresh faces in the Republican Party, Ryan and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, are offering messages of openness and diversity that could answer the GOP establishment’s increasingly desperate search for an antidote to the loud pronouncements of presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2016 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Two fresh faces in the Republican Party, Ryan and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, are offering messages of openness and diversity that could answer the GOP establishment’s increasingly desperate search for an antidote to the loud pronouncements of presidential front-runner Donald Trump. AP

Congressional Republicans concluded an issues retreat here Friday with House GOP lawmakers launching a process to develop an agenda that they hope to unveil by the time the party’s presidential nominee is selected.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters that the agenda will focus on national security, jobs and economic growth, coming up with alternatives to the Affordable Care Act, eradicating poverty, and constitutional authority.

Seven Republican presidential candidate hopefuls gathered in Charleston, South Carolina for the first GOP debate of 2016. In between all candidates attacking President Obama, however, the evening often turned into a one-on-one battle between Donal

He said crafting an agenda that could greet the party’s presidential nominee wasn’t an attempt to head off whoever left the Republican convention in Cleveland in July as the GOP standard bearer.

Some establishment Republicans have expressed concern about businessman Donald Trump winning the nomination, fearing that some of his controversial stances might drive some segments of voters away.

“This is about ideas, not personalities,” Ryan said without mentioning Trump. “I know everybody typically in the media is watching the presidential contest, but we’re worried about Congress working. . . . We’re not sitting here worried about who the nominee is going to be. We don’t have time to think about that.”

Ryan tried his best to steer clear of campaign politics Friday. He said he didn’t see Thursday night’s Republican debate. When a reporter tried to ask him about what he thought about Trump questioning Sen. Ted Cruz’s citizenship and eligibility to run for president, Ryan quickly interrupted: “Do you think I’m going to comment on that stuff?”

William Douglas: 202-383-6026, @williamgdouglas

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