During a town hall meeting last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan said it wasn’t his fault that Republicans hadn’t delivered on their promises to voters.
Take the Affordable Care Act. Ryan repeated his party's assertion that Obamacare is collapsing, and he insisted that doing nothing is not an option. It's up to the U.S. Senate, he said, to take the next step.
“The House has passed its bill,” he said. “We’re waiting on the Senate to pass theirs.”
That is the case, he contended, on any number of issues.
“The House has passed over 300 bills in the first six months of this Trump presidency,” he said. “Three hundred. ... If you want to learn about all we’ve done, go to didyouknow.gop.”
The site he was pushing is one that promotes the accomplishments of Ryan’s Republican caucus in the House of Representatives.
It lists the items on the Republican agenda, and, of course, is takes a shot at news coverage of what’s been going on in Washington.
“House Republicans aren't distracted by the newest countdown clock on cable news or partisan sniping in Washington, D.C.,” it says. “You don’t care about those things. You care about finding a good job, taking care of your family, and achieving the American Dream, and so do we.”
If you’re looking for a neutral source on what's going on in Congress, try visiting govtrack.us, a site launched in 2004 by an organization called Civic Impulse.
That site will tell you that 6,411 bills and resolutions have been introduced in this session of Congress. Fifty-five bills and joint resolutions have been passed by both houses and signed by the president.
“You probably don’t know that in the House we passed a complete overhaul of career technical education, to close that skills gap, to get people from where they are into the careers that they want,” Ryan said at the town hall. “You probably didn’t know that we passed a repeal and replace of the entire Dodd-Frank law because we’re losing up to one community bank a day in America.”
He also mentioned what he described as the biggest expansion of the G.I. bill in a decade.
“More bills have passed in the first six months of the Trump administration in the House than under Clinton, Obama and both Bushes.”
Ryan came back to his legislative priorities later in the event.
“The point I’m trying to make is get things done, improve people’s lives, make a positive difference and you vindicate yourself with those results,” he said.
“That’s why we’re so focused on getting this agenda executed and putting it into law.”
Maintaining that focus isn’t always easy, he said. “There’s a lot of distractions out there. I mean, you turn on the TV, and it’s just distractions galore.”
Some of those distractions have come from the White House in the form of tweets, and Ryan acknowledged that some of those tweets would have been better left unsent.
“But at the end of the day, what I control are my own actions, and that is how I conduct myself, look myself in the mirror and kiss my kids at bed at night where we live in Janesville, Wisconsin.”
And in spite of all the distractions, he said, the House is getting close to the finish line.
“We ran on this last year, and now we’re basically four-sixths of the way through putting this agenda into law out of the House.”
There’s only one problem.
“Of the 300-plus bills we passed out of the House, 260 are still sitting in the Senate,” he said.
So now you know who Paul Ryan thinks is to blame for the gridlock in Washington. It’s not Paul Ryan. It’s not Donald Trump.