House Speaker Paul Ryan rallied conservatives on Thursday to help fight for the first significant tax reform bill in decades, and said they need to be prepared to fight back against special interests and Democrats.
"An army of lobbyists will come to protect special interest provisions and to derail tax reform," Ryan said in a prepared speech to the Heritage Foundation. "When it does, we must be able to count on the foot soldiers of the conservative movement to see this through."
"Hardworking families gain nothing if we slip into complacency," Ryan warned. "They gain nothing if we allow ourselves to be distracted. Our workers do not see their paychecks rise one penny if we shrink from this moment."
"So this is no time to shy away from taking on the defenders of the status quo," he added.
Republicans and the Trump administration have sketched out a plan to lower individual and corporate tax rates, which includes a plan to let more people escape taxes by doubling the standard deduction.
Democrats have attacked it as a way to help the wealthy. Ryan agreed, and said Democrats would prefer economic stagnation in order to boost their case for an expanded government.
"You know as well I do that if we fail to restore real growth and opportunity, that plays directly into the hands of the left," he said.
"Stagnation is a breeding ground for a class-based society where elites in Washington seek to micromanage and predetermine the path of our lives."
"They would rather equalize the outcomes and lull us into lives of dependency," Ryan warned. "We have seen this too many times before, and we cannot let it happen again."
Ryan also warned that those who benefit from the byzantine nature of the tax code would also fight back.
"The special interests who prop up this tax code seek to extract the most value for themselves, even if it means keeping the country on the path of decline," he said.