WASHINGTON (AP) — Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan said Wednesday that he won’t seriously consider a Republican presidential bid until next year, saying he wants to stay focused on his work in Congress and talk with his family before making any major decisions.
The congressman and 2012 vice presidential candidate said there “really aren’t deliberations” about a potential campaign. Instead, he said, his focus has been on finding ways to fight poverty, which culminated in several policy proposals he outlined last week.
“I’ve been doing my job, focusing on the here and now, 2014,” Ryan said during a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington. He added that until next year, “I’ve consciously decided not to think about my personal ambitions or personal career moves.”
Ryan said he would sit down at some point next year with his wife, Janna, and determine whether he would make a White House bid or stay in Congress.
Ryan also talked about what he described as a lack of truck between House Republicans and the White House, faulting President Barack Obama for the divide. He said Obama’s actions more than justified House Republicans’ recent lawsuit challenging Obama’s use of executive authority.
But Ryan was also careful to dismiss the idea of impeachment. He said the lawsuit reflects frustration among members of his caucus about not being able to use their control over the budget to reign in Obama, but that it “does not rise to the high crimes and misdemeanor level.”
He blamed recent impeachment talk on Obama and the president’s advisers, saying they stoked the issue to boost fundraising in an election year.
“I see this is as a sort of ridiculous gambit by the president and his political team,” Ryan said. “To try and change the narrative, raise money and turn out their base for an upcoming election that they feel is not going to go their way.”
Democrats have said that Republicans are using the lawsuit to appeal to members of GOP who would like to impeach Obama. Democrats have cited the lawsuit in fundraising appeals, and party leaders have said it’s having the effect of stirring up Democratic support.
At an event in Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday, Obama called the lawsuit a “political stunt.”
Ryan also blamed Obama for the lack of a consensus immigration bill in Congress. House Republicans are afraid to work with Obama, Ryan said, because they did not trust him to enforce the law on that issue.
“It’s hard to see in this climate, it really is,” he said.
Last week, Ryan released a plan he said would address poverty issues in America. But he said he was holding back on specific legislation so it could be a collaborative process that yielded results.
Ryan’s outline includes a proposal to merge several anti-poverty programs into a single grant program for states. He said that would allow more freedom to determine the best way to get help for poor and needy people. It would also create work requirements for aid recipients and call for states that participate to set up at least two service providers.
“The whole point was to start a conversation with an eye toward outcomes,” Ryan said.
Many Democrats, including Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, panned Ryan’s plan saying it amounted to little more than a block grant program.
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