Outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) bid farewell to his colleagues in the House on Wednesday in an uplifting speech looking forward to America’s future despite partisanship and incivility rearing their heads around every corner.
“We have taken on some of the biggest challenges of our time, and we have made a great and lasting difference in the trajectory of this country,” he said at the Library of Congress, adding that the chamber has been “the most productive we have had in at least a generation.”
However, his tenure as speaker didn’t go without some partisan gridlock in the chamber.
“Too often, genuine disagreement quickly gives way to intense distrust,” he noted. “We spend far more time trying to convict one another than we do developing our own convictions.”
While Ryan also touched on his fair share of obstacles and disappointments, the retiring speaker called upon his fellow Republican and Democratic congressmen to come together to pave the way for our nation’s future success — but it may not be easy due to “broken politics”:
“Our complex problems are solvable. That is to say, our problems are solvable if our politics will allow it […] The drivers of our broken politics are more obvious than the solutions […] The state of politics these days is another question, and frankly one I don’t have an answer for.”
Watch his full remarks below:
Two of those problems — immigration and the national debt — Ryan regrets not resolving, he admitted to the Washington Post recently. But even then, he remained positive.
“So, if we can put the partisan knives down on the immigration issue — which both sides do — we fix that, and we get the debt under control, there’s no stopping our country,” he said.
Ryan ended his remarks on a high note, thanking his colleagues for the pleasure of working alongside them these years.
“I’m grateful to say goodbye to you, to this job and to this incredible institution we call the House of Representatives,” he signed off.