Speaker Ryan pledges to work with Trump on bold agenda

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who sparred with Donald Trump at times during his presidential campaign, pledged on Wednesday to work closely with the president-elect to forge an aggressive Republican legislative agenda from the outset of 2017.

At a news conference in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, Ryan said he and Trump are arranging a meeting to discuss the transition to a new Congress and administration, as well as the Republican agenda for the lame-duck session of Congress that begins on Monday.

Tuesday’s election results will give the Republicans simultaneous control of the White House, Senate and House for the first time since early 2007.

“He just earned a mandate and we now just have a unified Republican government,” Ryan said of Trump. “The opportunity is now here. And the opportunity is to go big, to go bold and to get things done.”

Ryan said he expected his six-point “A Better Way” blueprint to provide a framework for future action. The plan, which House Republicans used an election platform, calls for initiatives that include repealing and replacing Obamacare, reforming the U.S. tax code and scaling back federal regulations on industry.

Ryan had been slow to endorse Trump for president and clashed with the wealthy businessman over his incendiary campaign rhetoric, accusing him of making comment that was “the textbook definition of racism” about a judge of Mexican heritage. Last month Trump described Ryan as “a very weak and ineffective leader.”

But on Wednesday Ryan said he and Trump had held two “fantastic conversations” in the past 18 hours. Ryan’s aim is to “make sure that when his hand comes off the Bible, when he is sworn in as president, we are hitting the ground running.”

Ryan said Republicans in Congress also would coordinate with Trump on the upcoming lame duck session on what can be achieved.

The speaker also said it was time for “redemption, not recrimination” and dismissed concerns about civil liberties created by Trump campaign talk.

“Donald Trump heard a voice out in this country that no one else heard. He connected in ways with people no one else did. He turned politics on its head,” Ryan said.

“Donald Trump provided the kind of coattails that got a lot of people over the finish line so that we could maintain our strong House and Senate majorities.”

There had been speculation Ryan would not run for the speaker job in January but last week his staff said he would run for re-election to the post.

Reporting by David Morgan and Julia Edwards Ainsley; Editing by Bill Trott