Paul Ryan: Voters should “pay attention to both” Congress and Trump on policy

Some of Republican nominee Donald Trump’s policy proposals don’t exactly line up with Republican orthodoxy on issues, and House Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday that voters should listen to “both” Trump and congressional Republicans when it comes to what they can expect from the GOP next year.

“They should pay attention to both of us because in conjunction with our nominee we are offering a unified front of solutions,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview taped Friday.

With regard to Trump’s proposal to require paid maternity leave for working mothers, which Ryan and others in the GOP have in the past referred to as an unfunded mandate, Ryan said only that he’s pleased Trump is “jumping into the policy realm” and trying to tackle big issues.

“Look, I think he’s trying to get an issue that we all want to get at which is there are women in the workforce that have additional challenges,” Ryan said. “We have problems that need to be addressed. And so what I’m excited about is he’s jumping into the policy realm, offering ideas and solutions. That’s the kind of debate we would want to have.”

When it comes to potential debt, Trump’s proposals could lead to a lot of it: The Center for a Responsible Budget has said Trump’s plans would create $5.3 trillion in additional debt. Ryan said he hasn’t looked at the details of Trump’s latest proposal, and took issue with the group’s assessment of Trump’s plan.

“I don’t know if I would agree with that particular score,” Ryan said. “We are offering a tax reform plan that the Tax Foundation and others have looked at—which is very responsible.”

Ryan said ultimately it’s Congress that creates the laws, not the president, and that he and other congressional Republicans believe Trump will “work with” them on policy solutions.

“Congress is the one that writes the laws, that puts them on the president’s desk,” Ryan said. “And our Congress is offering very specific solutions. And I know from talking to Donald Trump repeatedly about these things that we have someone that is going to work with us on putting these reforms in place. So I have every bit of confidence that we have a president we can work with to get these things done.”

Ryan also said he disagreed with some of the language Trump has used in his outreach to the African-American community, including Trump’s assertion that inner-city violence in the U.S. is “worse than Afghanistan.”

“I don’t see it that way. That’s not how I would describe it,” Ryan said. “But I’m glad he’s actually going into these communities and trying. I think it’s important to show up. And I think it’s important to show up and listen.”

He said in the wake of more police shootings of black men, the country needs to find “new ways of learning how to heal,” but said he doesn’t think the federal government will be the source of that solution through legislation.

As for the first presidential debate on Monday night, Ryan—himself a former 2012 vice presidential nominee—had one piece of advice for Trump: “over-prepare.”

“Look, Hillary Clinton’s been doing this most of her life. She is the consummate pro,” he said “This is new for Donald. So I think he should obviously over-prepare for it.”

  • Emily Schultheis

    Emily Schultheis is a reporter/editor for CBS News Digital.