House Speaker Paul Ryan ‘very excited’ after meeting with Trump on 2017 agenda

NEW YORK — House Speaker Paul Ryan is positioned to be perhaps the most important ally for President-elect Donald Trump to get some of his top priorities done.

The two sat down Friday in New York for what the Wisconsin Republican called a “very exciting meeting” about moving major pieces of the GOP agenda next year.

“We are very excited about getting to work and hitting the ground running in 2017 to put this country back on track,” Ryan said in the lobby of Trump Tower.

Ryan clashed with Trump throughout the 2016 campaign, denouncing several controversial positions espoused by the billionaire-turned-politician, but Ryan said in a “60 Minutes” interview recently that the two smoothed things over after the election.

“We basically decided to let bygones be bygones. And let’s move forward and fix this country’s problems. And it was over and done with. And ever since then, we’ve had nothing but extremely productive conversations,” Ryan said.

The speaker hosted Trump in his Capitol office two days after he won, and the two leaders speak almost every day now by phone. Ryan’s office declined to provide any more details on the Friday morning’s session.

Ryan and other top House GOP leaders were in New York for an event for the National Republican Congressional Committee, and they have been working closely with transition aides in recent weeks. The No. 3 House GOP leader, Rep. Steve Scalise, flew Friday to his home state of Louisiana with Trump to campaign for John Kennedy, the Republican candidate in the Senate run-off contest.

Throughout the campaign, Ryan stressed that a “unified Republican government” could deliver on the promises his party has made for years — such as reforming the tax code, repealing and replacing Obamacare, and lessening federal regulations on businesses.

The speaker’s close friendship with Vice President-elect Mike Pence — the two served together in the House — will be a critical one for working through the Trump administration’s legislative agenda. Pence already told House Republicans in a session last month to “buckle up” for a busy winter. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy released a schedule showing members working more days in Washington in the early months of the year compared to recent years, including votes in many cases five days a week — an uptick from this session’s pace.

In recent days, the speaker has brushed off questions about Trump’s tweets on items the two disagree on — such as imposing a 35% tariff on companies shipping jobs overseas — and instead stressed that he is hard at work laying the groundwork for a busy first 100 days.