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Ryan credits Koch network for supporting GOP’s tax overhaul

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks about the government shutdown during a television news interview at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ORG XMIT: DCSA116 (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks about the government shutdown during a television news interview at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ORG XMIT: DCSA116 (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)
By Michelle Ye Hee Lee Washington Post

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., credited the network of billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch for being “such a critical part of our historic success in 2017,” highlighting its support for the tax code overhaul.

“Your network has been instrumental for allowing us to reach so many milestones that have long been talked about, but until this year, have not been achieved,” Ryan said in a three-minute video message aired to hundreds of Republican mega-donors attending a three-day meeting here.

“And because of your help, we have been able to take the ball and run with it,” he said.

Ryan rattled off policy priorities for 2018 that align with the influential Koch network’s goals, including deregulation and an overhaul of the criminal-justice system.

Ryan made no mention of a border-adjustment tax, a point of contention between Republican congressional leaders and the network last year during the tax debate. Ryan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, pushed for the import tax measure, but they backed down under pressure from the Koch network.

Instead, Ryan celebrated the network’s push to get the final bill through.

The network announced Saturday that it plans to spend up to $20 million more to educate the public about the benefits of the new law.

“Now we’ve done it,” Ryan said of the new tax law. “Because of the bill that we passed, businesses will see significantly lower tax rates. And that will unshackle them, giving them the freedom to grow, expand and create new opportunities for millions of Americans.”

This weekend was the largest gathering of like-minded donors since the Koch brothers began holding the twice-a-year meetings in 2003.

“We would not be in this unique position without the hard work and the devotion from everyone within the Koch network. … Thank you so much for all that you have done to help Americans improve their lives,” Ryan said.

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