Speaker Paul Ryan, who is retiring from the role of speaker of the House of Representatives at the end of the year, has given a farewell address which bemoaned the state of politics in the U.S. and attacked President Donald Trump’s role in its decline.
In the speech, which was delivered in the Library of Congress, just across the road from the U.S. Capitol building, Ryan lamented the USA’s “broken politics” and called on politicians of all sides to work together to find solutions, according to Time Magazine.
“The drivers of our broken politics are more obvious than the solutions,” Ryan said in a comment that has been interpreted by commentators as a thinly-veiled swipe at the administration of President Donald Trump.
“Our complex problems are solvable,” he continued. “That is to say, our problems are solvable if our politics will allow it.”
Ryan was once part of a group of rising young Republican’s called “the Young Guns.” He was running-mate to Mitt Romney during his failed presidential run in 2012 and looked destined to remain on the fringes until he was thrust into the role of speaker amid huge Republican infighting following the retirement of John Boehner in 2015.
As speaker of a Republican-controlled House, Ryan failed to overturn the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, last year but did manage to pass major tax reforms.
Speaking about the achievement he is most proud of from his 20 years in Congress, Ryan highlighted the changes to the U.S. tax code which were brought in last year.
“After years of doubt, years of the cynics saying it could not be done, we achieved the first major overhaul of our tax code in 31 years,” he said. “Think about it. We went from having the worst tax code in the industrialized world to one of the most competitive. This is something I worked on my entire adult life, and it is something that will help to improve people’s lives for a long time to come.”
Speaking of the current Republican-controlled lower chamber, Ryan added, “This House is the most productive we have had in at least a generation. To date, we have passed 1,175 bills, more than half of them with bipartisan support.”
However, he went on to criticize the U.S. Senate for failing to get much of this legislation passed into law. “It is my duty as Speaker to say this – nearly 750 bills that the House has passed remain stuck in the United States Senate. But the rest made it into law.”