Paul Ryan’s career has been defined by his support for two major issues – amnesty and globalist trade deals.
Many have wondered how he would proceed on those fronts in the age of Trump.
And Paul Ryan has given his answer.
But it was not one many were expecting.
Donald Trump won the Presidency on his “America First” message.
The two pillars underpinning this theme were opposition to illegal immigration and opposition to global trade deals.
Trump argued open borders on immigration and trade undermined American workers and American sovereignty.
He pledged to build a wall along the Mexican border, oppose amnesty, and pull the United States out of multi-lateral trade deals.
Many conservatives were worried that, as Speaker of the House, Ryan would try and end-run Trump by supporting amnesty legislation and revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
But Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert revealed Ryan pledged to him he would not to move on either of those fronts.
“House Speaker Paul Ryan and I had two substantive private discussions on the legislative agenda for the 115th Congress and came to an understanding,” Gohmert told Breitbart News.
One Ryan promise that won his vote, said Gohmert, was Ryan’s support for the Hastert Rule, which forbids the House Republican leadership from holding votes on bills that are not supported by the majority of the House Republican Conference. That rules prevents the GOP leadership from quietly working with Democratic leaders to bypass conservatives in the GOP caucus.
Since 2012, House Republican leaders have sometimes cut deals with President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders instead of passing bills favored by House conservatives. The backroom deals mean that Democrats get a closed-door veto over conservative priorities, such as defunding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities, while priorities favored by Democrats of business-linked GOP legislators get included in must-pass bills. Those deals helped revive the business-backed Export-Import Bank, for example.
Ryan also agreed that no bills would be rolled out to legalize anyone in this country who is here illegally, “unless and until we achieve complete border security with a wall built to President Trump’s liking,” Gohmert said.
Ryan’s third promise puts an end to the president’s open-border trade policies and the president’s threats to punish the United Kingdom if it leaves the European Union. “This House will not resurrect the Trans-Pacific Partnership disaster,” Gohmert said.
“We will only bring up a trade bill that ensures fairness to Great Britain in the wake of the successful Brexit vote to end Britain’s participation in the European Union,” he added.”
Keeping the Hastert Rule – which says the Speaker will only bring legislation to the floor if it has the support of the majority of the majority party in the House – will help keep amnesty legislation from being brought up for a vote.
The issue splits the GOP between establishment Republicans beholden to the donor class supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants, and conservative members backed by the grassroots who oppose giving citizenship and voting rights to illegal aliens.
Amnesty does not have the support of the majority of the Republican caucus, so the Hastert Rule will keep it off the table.
By surrendering on those issues, Ryan was easily able to win his re-election as Speaker.
Only conservative stalwart Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky voted against him.