“We have to work together:” In Milwaukee, House Speaker Paul Ryan talks policy — and Trump

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MILWAUKEE -- House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday, July 26th was back in his home state -- and fielded questions about his congressional agenda for the coming months.

While everyone else wants to talk about Donald Trump on the heels of the Republican National Convention, Ryan said Tuesday he wants to pivot the conversation back to policy.

"You're going to ask me all these Trump questions, I see them coming," Ryan said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan

Ryan, for an hour, fielded questions at a WisPolitics luncheon at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday morning.

Topics ranged from healthcare to immigration to trade, and inevitably to the Republican Party's presidential nominee and his campaign platform.

Donald Trump

"We think we can constructively engage and constructively channel these reforms to better outcomes. He wants American manufacturing to succeed. He wants us to prosper and do well. We think we have good ideas that can help do that," Ryan said.

As fractious as this time is in the political arena leading up to the November election -- for both parties, Ryan said congressional Republicans are coming together since he has taken over as speaker.

"We have to work together to put out an agenda to take to the country on the big issues that we care a lot about. Doing that has unified us. Getting every House Republican to join a task force and to work on our agenda has been extremely unifying," Ryan said.

Ryan said they are also finding areas where they can work with congressional Democrats.

"We've made some pretty darn good progress -- whether it's trade enforcement legislation, infrastructure legislation, education legislation, the tax bill and combating opioid abuse, so we've gotten some pretty big things done. We've still got a few more big common ground things to do," Ryan said.

Ryan was whisked away as soon as the question-and-answer session was over, and he didn't take any questions from the media.

FOX6 News spoke by phone with Ryan's challenger in the upcoming partisan primary.

Paul Nehlen is looking to unseat Ryan from the 1st Congressional District. He said he feels Ryan hasn't lived up to his leadership claims.

"Paul Ryan what he's actually gotten accomplished is he passed the omnibus and he tried to play that off as it was John Boehner's and it was before him. Where was Paul Ryan before he was the speaker? He was the head of the ways and means. Paul Ryan was putting the ingredients in that cake before it was baked and before it was served," Nehlen said.

Nehlen cites trade as one of his main platform issues and said that's what he would focus on in Congress. He said he is hoping to debate Ryan before the primary on August 9th.

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