Speaker Ryan defends proposed $3B Foxconn incentives package: “We wouldn’t get it if we didn’t do it”

House Speaker Paul Ryan

FRANKLIN -- While talking jobs and taxes as part of a business tour Friday, August 4th, House Speaker Paul Ryan in Franklin defended the proposed $3 billion state incentives package to land Foxconn.

He said the massive benefits offered to the Taiwanese electronics giant are worth the risk because the payoff would revolutionize Wisconsin. Ryan added he thinks Foxconn could be the spark to bring other businesses to Wisconsin and train a new generation of skilled workers.

Following his tour of Allis-Roller, a metal casting company in Franklin, Speaker Ryan took questions from some of the workers. One asked why Foxconn gets a $3 billion incentives package, something other companies don't get.

"We wouldn't get it if we didn't do it, and it's conditional, so that's the other point," Speaker Ryan said.

Allis Roller

Ryan took more questions from reporters about the Foxconn deal. He said the massive investment is worthwhile because it could bring an even more substantial payoff.

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"This one deal is worth the reach. It's worth the stretch, because what it does is, it basically makes Wisconsin the industrial park for Silicon Valley," Ryan said.

Another worker asked about trade policy. Speaker Ryan said taxes are more responsible for companies shipping jobs overseas than trade deals -- something critics of recent free trade deals would dispute.

"We tax ourselves in a way that basically encourages companies to make stuff overseas instead of making it in America. It's a real problem," Ryan said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan

Ryan also touched on the recently-passed sanctions bill against Russia, Iran and North Korea. While President Donald Trump signed the bill, he has also criticized our relationship with Russia.

On Friday, Ryan spoke of the Russians in a tone much harsher than we've heard from President Trump.

"Russia is still up to no good. They're still trying to undermine democracy and we, as a country, need to stand up against that," Ryan said.

"I think the president is just trying to do what most presidents do, which is try to have as best relations you can with countries to try to get good deals," Ryan said when asked if President Trump should take a stronger public stance against the Russian government.

House Speaker Paul Ryan

Ryan was also asked about health care reform. He said he's willing to work with the Senate should it pass a bipartisan bill. Then, in his words, they'll work to iron out the differences. That could be quite the challenge since even the House bill only passed by four votes.