Watch CBS News

Transcript: House Speaker Paul Ryan on "Face the Nation," Jan. 21, 2018

Speaker Paul Ryan on DACA
Speaker Ryan wants a comprehensive solution to DACA 07:15

As the government shutdown enters its second day with little indication that a deal is within reach, Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other for failing to reach an agreement on spending and immigration.

The House passed a continuing resolution on Friday to keep the government open, which was rejected by the Senate. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin told CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the House would back a revised version being discussed in the Senate that would extend funding until Feb. 8. He joined us to discuss the shutdown and the possible paths forward as we head into the work week.

The following is a transcript of the interview with Ryan that aired Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, on "Face the Nation."  

JOHN DICKERSON: Good morning, and welcome to "Face the Nation." I'm John Dickerson. It's day two of the shutdown, but on day three when most federal employees go to work, the effects will really kick in. Can Congress and the president overcome the paralysis in Washington and work together to reopen the government? We begin today with House Speaker Paul Ryan. Welcome, Mr. Speaker. 

PAUL RYAN: Thank you. 

JOHN DICKERSON: So where are things in this negotiations as of right now? 

PAUL RYAN: Well, first let- let me just say this is your last show. You're going from hanging out with the likes of Ryan and Mulvaney to hanging out with O'Donnell and King. You're in for a serious upgrade. I want to say congratulations on that. 


PAUL RYAN: So to the serious point, we are still in shutdown. We're waiting for the Senate Democrats to open the government back up. This is solely done by the Senate Democrats. It's absolutely meaningless. They shut down the government over a completely unrelated issue. And the bill that they're opposing is a bill that they support which is just baffling to us. 

Children's health insurance, funding for our troops, keeping the government going. They shut it down over an unrelated immigration issue with a deadline weeks away. And what's- what's so baffling about this was we were negotiating in good faith on DACA all the same. 

We actually want to solve this problem. So it's not as if we were saying, "No way, no how... 


PAUL RYAN: -No discussions." They blew up the negotiations that were already underway. 

JOHN DICKERSON: I want to get to some of those issues in a minute, but where are we right now? Is there an agreement to maybe get- get something going here before people go to work or don't on Monday-- 

PAUL RYAN: We're waiting to see. We're basically waiting to see today whether the Senate will vote on this or not and have the votes for it. So as you know, the House passed a bill keeping the government funded-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: But what's going to change that they would vote on that-- 

PAUL RYAN: That bill- Well, what- what Leader McConnell is going to be offering is one that has a different date on it. We passed a bill keeping things funded to February 16th. He is going to bring up a bill keeping things funded to February 8th. We have agreed that we would accept that in the House. And so we will see sometime today whether or not they have the votes for that. And that's really where we are right now. 

JOHN DICKERSON: The president, you talk about blame for the Democrats and all that. But they're- they're not the only players in this. In 2013, the president, Donald Trump as a civilian said, "It always happens to be the top. I mean, the problems start from the top and have to get solved at the top." The top he was talking about was the presidency. So why is this president who came in as a negotiator who said he was going to fix Washington, why is he not contributory to this problem that we have a government- government shutdown-- 

PAUL RYAN: Look, as Republicans we have some experience with futile gestures like government shutdown. You want to see some quotes? Let me give you one. "Open the government. When you open the government, we'll open negotiations." That was Dick Durbin in 2013. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Right, but I'm talking about the president, not Dick Durbin-- 

PAUL RYAN: Exactly what they were saying in those days-well 

JOHN DICKERSON: The president came in saying, "Washington's broken. I'm going to fix it." 

PAUL RYAN: And so-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: We're exactly where we were. This is why he ran. This is what everybody doesn't like. What-- 

PAUL RYAN: Donald Trump didn't shut down the government. Senate Democr-- why- why did they call this the Schumer Shutdown? Because Senate Democrats shut down the government so-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: The "they" as Republicans are calling it the Schumer Shutdown. I want to get past all that. Here's the thing. 

PAUL RYAN: No, but, John, let me get you there. 


PAUL RYAN: You can't blame Donald Trump for the Senate Democrats shutting down the government. They shut down the government with no end game in sight. I frankly don't think they felt we were going to pass our bill. And when we passed our bill, funding children's health insurance, keeping the troops funded, preventing the medical device tax from- from kicking in in a few days which 


PAUL RYAN: will raise everyone's healthcare costs, they would not pass that bill. That has nothing to do with President Trump. 

JOHN DICKERSON: I'm not trying to assign blame. I'm trying to get- just figure out what's going on here. This is a very familiar play. We've been here before as you say-- 

PAUL RYAN: Exa-- and it's futile. It never works-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: But I want to know why a president who came-- just what's gone wrong? Why has he not been able to apply? He came in as the great negotiator. What is it that has made it impossible for a person who ran on fixing the system 


JOHN DICKERSON: unable to get past it-- 

PAUL RYAN: It's a good question because we're so babbled. If we were saying, for instance, "We are never going to do a DACA solution. We're going to kick these kids out," then I might understand Democrats getting frustrated. But what-- what's baffling about this, John, is we were in negotiations on how to solve this problem, and then they blew that up and stopped these negotiations. So our-- we have Kevin McCarthy representing House Republicans who was negotiating with Dick Durbin and other leaders. That's what's baffling about this-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: Here's what they say. And you have two Republicans in the Senate who voted against this funding measure for roughly similar reasons which is the president's been a moving target. Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, said, "We're spinning our wheels until we know where the president is." So the Democrats felt like, or this is their case anyway, they felt like, "He's a moving target. Let's use this moment of leverage," as-- as Republicans did with Obamacare in 2013. 

PAUL RYAN: Which was- 

JOHN DICKERSON: "We care about this--" 

PAUL RYAN: Which didn't work and didn't-- and-- and I can-- look-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: Right, but it was something they cared. Democrats care about this, too. I guess the question is-- 

PAUL RYAN: Your question is: Where is the president on this issue? Is that-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: And is he going to stay in one place? 

PAUL RYAN: Yes, so I think it's- I think what the president should do is leave room for negotiation to get a solution. That's exactly what he's doing. He's basically saying in addition to a DACA solution, we have to have border security including funding for a wall. We've got-- He wants to get rid of the Diversity Visa Program. 

And we want- want to move from a system of immigration based on family relations to one based on skills and merits for what the economy needs. Perfectly common sense. Here's the issue. If we simply did DACA without incumbent reforms, then you'd have a DACA problem five years down the road. We want to fix the problem and the root cause of the problem. DACA is a symptom of a broken immigration system. We want to fix the root cause of this problem while we deal with DACA so that we don't have 700,000 more DACA kids in five years. That's perfectly common sense, and that's all the president is saying. 

JOHN DICKERSON: I- I want to see if I can get your reaction to something that the Trump campaign has run. It's an ad they're running right now in the middle of these negotiations, where everybody is thinking the other side has bad faith. Let's watch a little bit of it. I want to get your reaction about how this affects things. 

MALE VOICE (VIDEO): President Trump is right. Build the wall. Deport criminals. Stop illegal immigration now. Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Are Democrats complicit? 

PAUL RYAN: Well, they're certainly not helping us keep the government open. They're certainly not helping us getting to a solution in immigration. When you shutdown the government you-- and stop negotiation on immigration reform, they're complicit with not getting things done. 

JOHN DICKERSON: But are they complicit in murders and-- 

PAUL RYAN: Look, I-- I'm not going to comment. I just saw that. I don't know if that's necessarily productive. It's no secret the president has strong views on immigration. But what is not productive is a pointless government shutdown that the Senate Democrats have foisted on this country. 

Just so you know, you said this in your opening, tomorrow people don't get paid. People get furloughed. The-- We have soldiers fighting for us, troops overseas fighting for us who will not be getting paid. This is ridiculous. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Well you know- 

PAUL RYAN: And so look, we've done this before. It didn't work. It's not working now. Let me-- let me just give you a quick-- Chuck Schumer said-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: Hold on. Hold on. But-There are-- this military question is important, though. I'm sorry to interrupt. But-- but, you know, in 2013 the president, then-candidate, Trump said, "Here's the truth. The government doesn't shut down. All essential services continue. Don't believe the lies." 


JOHN DICKERSON: On this question of the military, in 2013 the payments continued. So they don't continue now?

PAUL RYAN: Well, I-- I'll let-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: Because I've looked at a lot of fact checks. 

PAUL RYAN: You can ask the OMB director that in a minute because I know you have him coming on. But-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: But it's quite a volatile thing to say they're not getting paid. 'Cause they are getting paid-- 

PAUL RYAN: Yeah, yeah- they don't-- their payment gets deferred. They don't get-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: Why can't-- 

PAUL RYAN: They don't get paid-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: Why couldn't Congress have fixed that? 

PAUL RYAN: We did. We passed a bill. It's sitting in the Senate. They've-- they've filibustered-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: Why didn't-- but why didn't-- the Democrats didn't filibuster the payment for the troops separate apart from the-- 

PAUL RYAN: The bill we passed paid troops. It pays the park service. It pays the border patrol. It pays people doing basic health research. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Right. But in 2013 when there was a shutdown, they did in fact get paid, right-- 

PAUL RYAN: No, their pay gets deferred. Here-- let me just say something. I believe in immigration reform. What if I persuaded my caucus to say, "I'm going to shut down the government. I'm not going to pay our bills unless I get my way." It's a politics of idiocy, confrontation, and paralysis. That's Chuck Schumer in 2013. 

JOHN DICKERSON: You're taking all the quotes I'm going to read-- 

PAUL RYAN: I know. You're-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: --but doing them later-- 

PAUL RYAN: I'm saving you time-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: But here's the-- no, no-- 

PAUL RYAN: But my point is-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: But I'm trying to get answers from you-- 

PAUL RYAN: My point is this is ridiculous. 

JOHN DICKERSON: I understand-- 

PAUL RYAN: Open the government back up. And then we'll get back to negotiating. 

JOHN DICKERSON: But let me go back to this. You said the ad is not productive. Here's the-- here's the concern people have. This is a fight over this moment, okay? But it's opening up this larger, pretty ugly debate. That ad suggests basically, "The Democrats are for the dangerous people. We're for the good Americans." When it gets into that kind of a debate, it gets very elemental, and you start doing-- saying things and creating wounds that can't be healed. 

PAUL RYAN: So we should-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: Do you worry about that? 

PAUL RYAN: So we should open the government back up and resume negotiations, which were going on in earnest in good faith before they blew things up and shut down the government. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Can you give me your assessment of the president as a negotiator on this DACA question? 

PAUL RYAN: Yes, I talk to him all the time about it. It's what I just said. He wants-- In addition to a DACA solution, he wants to secure the border including the border wall. Here's the problem. If we have an illegal immigration problem and we say we're going to give legal status to this group of people, as sympathetic as they are, and I don't want to see these kids deported, and then you don't fix the problem, you're going to have more people saying, "Ah, come to the country illegally. Sooner or later, I'll get an amnesty." That's a bad incentive structure. So what you want to do is fix the root cause of the problem. 


PAUL RYAN: We don't have control of our borders. We have a broken immigration system while we address the symptom of the problem. That's what the president is saying. And that's perfectly common sense. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, let me ask you about Congress though here. This has been a problem for a while, DACA, as has the Children's Health Insurance Program. In a functioning Congress when-- when DACA is thrown back into Congress to deal with, you work through the process, you get a piece of legislation, you vote on it. The same as with reauthorizing children's health insurance. Those things have not been tended to by Congress-- 

PAUL RYAN: Do you know why? We've passed it three times now in the House. We have passed-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: So is this all the Senate's fault? 

PAUL RYAN: We've passed the CHIP program. This is the third CHIP long-term reauthorization we have passed in the House. And the Senate Democrats have been filibustering it each and every time. We passed all 12 appropriation bills for all of government last September in the House. And the Senate Democrats have been filibustering those bills. 

We passed in December funding for these natural disasters and the hurricanes, and the Senate Democrats have been filibustering these bills. So the point I'm trying to make, John, is the Senate Democrats have chosen: Filibuster CHIP, filibuster appropriations, filibuster getting these things done. And then blame the dysfunction on everybody else. 


PAUL RYAN: The point I'm trying to make is if you want to get these problems solved, open up the government, resume negotiations, and let's solve these problems.

JOHN DICKERSON: But their argument would be if you want to get these problems solved in the Senate where you know you need 60 votes when you have-- you need to do a little outreach and- and be ready. If you're gonna say, "It's my way or the highway," be-- recognize the fact-- 

PAUL RYAN: Why don't you just bring a bill to the floor and start appropriations, the tick appropriations, or CHIP-- 

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, what about DACA? Why not bring some-- you know you could get a bipartisan majority for DACA in the House and the Senate. The president, it would be on his desk in minutes. 

PAUL RYAN: Bring bills to the floor and see where they go on-- on appropriations. Bring bills to the floor to see where they go on all these other issues. Here's the problem. The Democrats filibuster even considering these bills. And that is why we had this big pileup. 

JOHN DICKERSON: But they're-- 

PAUL RYAN: And with respect to DACA, it's really important. We want to fix the root cause of the problem while we address the symptom of the problem. That's perfectly common sense. And just so you know, John, we had good faith negotiations on this issue 


PAUL RYAN: -under way until the Senate Democrats chose to shutdown the government. 

JOHN DICKERSON: The Democrats can-- can speak for themselves. But their argument is they weren't in good faith. The president said, "I'll take a deal." A deal was put before him. Then he-- then he wouldn't take it. But on this question of DACA, why not put-- 

PAUL RYAN: I would take issue with that, but go ahead. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, there is a bipartisan agreement that could be put on the floor of the Senate. The question is whether or not it would pass the House-- 

PAUL RYAN: That's one that we don't support. And it was- it was an end-run around the negotiations we had. The president-- so we had a negotiating format up. They brought other-- another bill, end-run around it. The president doesn't support it. We don't support it. So what we're saying is let's stick with these negotiations. We had Kevin McCarthy in the majority leader of the House. Steny Hoyer the majority whip. Dick Durbin, the majority-- minority whip and John Cornyn, the-- the majority whip of the Senate in negotiations. They try to bring some end-run around it that the president, he doesn't support, that we wouldn't support. We will support a bill that the president supports to fix this problem. And that means fixing this problem more comprehensively so we don't have another DACA problem five, ten years down the road. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you a final political question. 2018, there are some retirements. Are you going to be Speaker if you have the majority in the next Congress after these elections-- 

PAUL RYAN: Am I going to be Speaker? Yes, if we keep the majority, then-- then the Republican Speaker. You're asking me if I'm going to run for reelection? That's a decision my wife and I always make each and every term when we have filing in Wisconsin late in spring. And I haven't-- I'm not going to share-- share my thinking with you before I even talk to my wife. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, it's my last show, Mr. Speaker. So-- so look-- 

PAUL RYAN: Look, if we're doing fine I have no plans of going anywhere any time soon. But that's something that my wife and I always decide in-- in late spring of the election year. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Still having-- what's your-- what do you-- 

PAUL RYAN: Yes. Well, I'm not having fun in a government shutdown. I like to get back to work and make sure that we don't defund CHIP and-- and stop funding our troops. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Mr. Speaker, thanks for being here. 

PAUL RYAN: Congratulations. 


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.