House GOP leaders celebrate last Tax Day under old tax code

Ryan: Tax cuts "exceeding expectations"

House GOP leaders celebrated the very last Tax Day under the nation's old tax code and promoted the Republican-crafted Tax Cut and Jobs Act last year. Republicans have been hailing their tax cut throughout the month as a boon for working American families. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan views the tax cut as one of the final achievements of his speakership. On Tuesday, he said the tax plan is "good news for the American economy" and is "improving people's lives every day, even on Tax Day."

"Tax reform is working, it's actually even exceeding our expectations, giving us a stronger economy, a healthier economy and its going to make us more prosperous for years to come," he said. 

Ryan also slammed congressional Democrats for "spreading doom and gloom" about the Republican plan. "They call it 'crumbs,' they talk about a dark cloud and they are promising to take it all away," said Ryan. "These tax cuts are intended to be permanent."

Meanwhile, Ryan was "impressed" by President Trump's precision missile strike in Syria in response to the suspected chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma. 

"I think the president's strike was called for, I think it was the right thing to do," said Ryan. He added "the peaceful democratic nations of the world need to stand up and speak against and act against he spread of these horrific weapons, and I think the president did the right thing."

Ryan also said that he believes the strikes were lawful under Article II. He didn't commit to the authorization to use military force measure introduced in the Senate -- "the question that I will ask is, 'Can an AUMF make it into law and does it tie the hands of our military behind our back or not?'"

As for the administration's decision to reconsider further sanctions against Russia for its role in support the Assad regime, Ryan told reporters on Tuesday "we obviously should be applying Russian sanctions, we've been applying Russian sanctions in multiple ways this year."

Mr. Trump held off the White House's plan for new sanctions against Russian companies tied to Syria's alleged chemical weapons program Monday, just one day after U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley told CBS' "Face the Nation" that new sanctions were coming.

Ryan said the Trump administration has "moved and improved our Russia policy dramatically since the last administration." He called the administration's approach to Russia "far more hawkish" and "far more realistic."

And he also said of former first lady Barbara Bush, who has decided to forego further medical treatment, "I just want to say, on behalf of the whole House that we are praying for our former First Lady Barbara Bush and for her family. She is beloved by this country and she is in all of our thoughts today."