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House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks at his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan reaffirmed his threat Thursday to keep Congress in session through Christmas if they don't meet their tax reform deadlines:

"Half this country is living paycheck to paycheck and if it means we've got to stay here 'til Christmas to give them the relief they need and deserve, then tough we will do that."

More from Ryan:

  • Ryan is traveling to PR tomorrow with a bipartisan delegation to assess the damage from Hurricane Maria. "We're in the midst of a humanitarian crisis."
  • On Trump's morning tweets slamming PR's financial crisis: Ryan said he's been busy this morning and hasn't looked at Trump's Twitter feed, but stated "This is an area where the federal government has a responsibility... We need to make sure Puerto Rico can stand on its own two feet."
  • Iran deal: "I think we need a comprehensive strategy on Iran, and we don't have one. I think this deal was a bad deal — it allows them to get nuclear weapons... I think we're due for a comprehensive strategy, and I think that's what the administration is working on and getting set to announce."
  • On nomination of Kirstjen Nielsen as DHS Sec: "She brings a proven track record in response and in emergency management. She's also widely respected for her expertise in cyber security."
  • On Trump threatening NBC's media license: "I'm for the first amendment and I'm a Constitutional conservative and I'm just gonna leave it at that."

Go deeper

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.

House votes to ban imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House voted 428-1 on Wednesday to pass a bill that would ban all imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang unless the U.S. government determines that the products were not made with forced labor.

Why it matters: Both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as several foreign parliaments, have recognized China's repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.