What do a cardinal and a congressman have in common? Turns out quite a bit. Take Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for example. For both, its their Catholic faith and their Wisconsin roots that keep them grounded.
To give an even better look into his private life, the congressman called into the Conversation with Cardinal Dolan show this Tuesday afternoon from his work base in Washington D.C. The cardinal was quick to note how in addition to being a hardworking congressman, Ryan –who has three kids who attend St. John Vianney Catholic Parish in Janesville, Wisconsin–is very much a family man.
“I’ve turned down a lot of things over the years which might have been good for the career but not good for the family. It’s all about the balance,” Ryan said. “I’ve had so many people in their 60s and 70s tell me, ‘gosh I just wish I spent more time with my family,’ I don’t want to be one of those people.”
Focusing in on politics, what issues are at the forefront of Ryan’s mind? To the congressman, pro-life and immigration are two hot-topic issues that need to be addressed. In Ryan’s opinion, “Obamacare is the latest assault on life principles.” He’s looking to tackle these reforms (specifically immigration) in the first half of this year, modernizing current laws dealing with the legalization of the undocumented, border security and visa reform.
“We want to have reforms that are lasting in that we’re not finding out that we’re in the same problem 10 years from now,” Ryan said.
Another important issue is the “two possible government shutdowns,” that happened recently. What was Ryan’s solution? He collaborated with Senator Patty Murray to help construct a “two-year budget” — in fact, tomorrow the House will consider a bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.
“Patty Murray and I went to work to come up with an agreement where no one had to violate a principle, we found common ground and we got this budget agreement, which basically for the next year and a half agrees to the levels of discretionary spending or government agencies budgets,” Ryan said. “We moved a step in the right direction on the fiscal side of things.”
So how does a religious man — or a philosopher, as Cardinal Dolan calls him — survive in a political world? It’s all about sticking to your principles.
“To me the secret is: proclaim who you are, what you believe and what you ultimately hope to achieve, put it out in as great a detail as you can,” Ryan said. “And then in the art of governing, especially in this divided government we have, you have to exercise prudence.”