Speaker of the House Election

The Honorable Paul Ryan
US House of Representatives
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan,

On behalf of the nation’s governors, congratulations on your recent election. You have a considerable and challenging task ahead of you. We respect and applaud your willingness to take on this weighty assignment.

With this change in leadership comes the opportunity for us to rekindle a deliberate and meaningful collaboration between states and Congress. America has thrived as a nation of laws with a strong national identity anchored by the diversity and innovation of the states.

Through the National Governors Association, governors have developed several guiding principles to ensure the proper balance between state and federal action and promote a strong and cooperative state-federal relationship.  Three of these principles are particularly important for Congress:

  • Federal action should be limited to situations that are truly national in scope.
  • Federal action should not unnecessarily preempt additional state action.
  • Congress should avoid imposing unfunded federal mandates or shifting federal costs to states.

Several bills pending before Congress embody these principles and if enacted would promote a strong state-federal relationship. They include reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; long-term reauthorizations of our transportation programs to repair, maintain and build the infrastructure we need for the 21st century; and measures to level the playing field for all businesses by allowing states to collect sales taxes from remote businesses selling into our states.

We will be in Washington, D.C., with other NGA leaders January 6-7 to deliver our annual State of the States address and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how to best establish a regular process whereby states and Congress work together to coordinate efforts and cultivate solutions.

Thank you again for your willingness to serve our nation. We look forward to working together with you in the coming months and years.


Governor Gary R. Herbert

Governor Terry McAuliffe