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.
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?”