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Ryan fields questions from frustrated Republican voters

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-1st District (Photo source: Office of Rep. Paul Ryan)

MUKWONAGO (AP) -- Frustrated Republicans vented their displeasure at House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday during a town hall meeting at a wire manufacturer in the Wisconsin congressman's district.

Ryan hasn't held a town hall meeting open to the general public since October 2015, but he does frequently take questions from employees following business tours. It was at an event like that at Banker Wire on Wednesday when Ryan got challenged, something that's rarely happened to him at other similar events.

"For eight horrible years I heard we don't have control of the House, we don't have control of the Senate, we don't have the presidency," Banker Wire employee Keith Ketzler, 62, said to Ryan. "I'll tell you what, you're in there now and all I see is in-fighting. It's very dysfunctional. I don't see any plans for anything."

Ryan said he, too, was frustrated.

"We've got to get it done or else I'm really worried that our country will be getting on a bad path," Ryan said.


Ryan noted that the House has passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the national health care law enacted under former President Barack Obama that Republicans for years have promised to eradicate. But the Senate must pass an identical bill, which the president must sign, before that can happen.

"I can make sure that the House delivers, Ryan said. "I don't run the Senate, I run the House."

Ryan said he and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson both thought the Senate would pass the health care bill last week. Ryan said its defeat by one vote was "extremely frustrating."

Ryan said Senate filibuster rules requiring 60 votes create a "chokehold" that allow Democrats to stop legislation they oppose.

Ketzler, who said he voted for Ryan, said after the event that he wasn't the only Republican who is upset.

"Everybody that voted Republican is getting very frustrating," Ketzler, 62, said. "For eight years we've heard, `We've got a plan, things are going to change."'

Ryan also faced questions from other workers about why Congress hasn't been able to repeal the health care law and why Republicans aren't doing a better job with messaging.

"We don't control the media," Ryan said.

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