We know Paul Ryan is a budget hawk. But what about other issues?
As a seven-term member of Congress, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan has a record on issues other than the federal budget – abortion, immigration, national security, and gay rights, for example.
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Details of the “Ryan plan” – a major belt-tightening that could impact many aspects of public and private life – became the object of praise among fiscal conservatives and derision by more liberal critics and even a few Republicans. (Remember Newt Gingrich’s comment about “right-wing social engineering?”)
But as a veteran of House debates and law-making, Mr. Ryan also has a track record on other important issues. Here are some of the most important.
Abortion: Ryan voted to ban federal health coverage that includes abortion, opposes allowing human embryonic stem cell research, voted to make it a federal crime to harm a fetus while committing other crimes, and opposes so-called “partial-birth” abortions.
In a 2009 column in a Wisconsin newspaper, Ryan wrote: “Personally, I believe that life begins at conception, and it is for that reason that I feel we need to protect that life as we would protect other children.”
Anti-abortion activists are delighted with Romney’s choice of Ryan, whose Roman Catholic faith strongly guides his position on the issue – one that has earned him a 100 percent rating by the National Right to Life Committee.
“By selecting Congressman Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Governor Romney demonstrates his commitment to protecting American women and unborn children,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List said in her endorsement.
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Immigration: Ryan calls for comprehensive immigration reform, including “strong border security provisions, an enforceable guest worker program, a secure employee verification system, and a system that does not reward illegal behavior, but provides equitable treatment for all immigrants.”
“I understand the points that DREAM Act supporters have raised,” he says, but adds that “it would be a serious mistake to pursue piecemeal reforms like the DREAM Act without first putting in place these fundamental components of immigration reform.”
While Ryan’s position may be seen as less harsh than some other Republican lawmakers and presidential hopefuls – during the GOP debates, Romney called for “self-deportation” – it may not help the Republican ticket with Latino voters.
“Paul Ryan voted against the DREAM Act in 2010 and voted for the infamous Sensenbrenner bill in 2005, which would have turned undocumented workers and anyone who helped them – including their priests and pastors – into felons,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of the immigration reform organization America’s Voice.
“For those holding out hope that the VP selection would represent an indication that Romney and the Republicans are ready to start improving their immigration stance – and to start repairing their brand image among Latino voters in the process – today’s selection of Paul Ryan is a troubling reinforcement of the Republican immigration status quo,” Mr. Sharry said in a statement Saturday.