Former Speaker of the House John Boehner said his advice to newly instated House Speaker Paul Ryan is to “be open, be transparent and be decisive.”
In a CNN interview that aired Sunday, Boehner said Ryan will have to make the tough decisions and face the consequences of those decisions. Ryan took Boehner’s place on Thursday.
Boehner said he knows Ryan is the right person for the job — even if it took using “Catholic guilt” to convince him to take the position.
“I laid every ounce of Catholic guilt I could on him,” Boehner said.
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He added that he told Ryan, “You have no choice, this isn’t about what you want to do, this is about what God wants you to do, and God’s told me, he wants you to do this.”
In multiple interviews that aired Sunday, Ryan explained he is taking on the job knowing that he cannot pick up where Boehner left off. He said the House needs a clean slate, and he outlined four main changes he wants to make in his interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”
“Number one, get the House working like it was intended to work, like the founders intended it to work, open up the process,” Ryan said. “Number two, I think it’s very important that we do find common ground where we can find common ground to advance the nation’s interests, and do it in a way where we don’t have to compromise principle.”
His third goal is to allow Republicans “to be a more effective opposition party,” which plays into the last change: to be a proposition and alternative party.
“If we don’t like what’s going on, we owe it to the people of this nation, to our constituents, a bold, specific and clear agenda, a vision, for how we would do things differently,” he said.
In an interview with CNN, Ryan said part of being that effective opposition party is being honest about what it can and cannot achieve.
“We have a president that isn’t willing to listen, that isn’t going to sign lots of our bills into laws, we have a Senate that has a very difficult process when it comes to actually getting bills voted on,” he said. “We have to operate within those constraints.”
One thing he won’t change, however, is how Boehner approached his role, often saying he wants the House to “work its will,” rather than force his will on the House.
“I was not elected Dictator of the House,” Ryan said in an interview with CBS. “I was elected speaker of the House. And that means we do it in a bottom-up approach. We reach consensus.”
Another similarity the two share is doing yoga. Boehner said he and Ryan were in a yoga class together for a little while, but for him, it’s just about the benefits of stretching.
“I’m not trying to be a yogi here,” Boehner said. “I just do some yoga.”