Protesters gather for Speaker Ryan at MA stop

House Speaker Paul Ryan R-Wis. meets with local business leaders and politicians at the top of a roundtable discussion at a New Balance athletic shoe factory Thursday

Protesters gather for Speaker Ryan at MA stop

Protesters are rallying outside a New Balance sneaker factory in MA where U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is expected to talk about Republican plans for tax reform.

Ryan said Republicans are working to eliminate tax exemptions, deductions and credits and use the revenue to lower tax rates.

The Republican leader from Wisconsin was expected to give an update on the proposed tax code changes being worked on behind closed doors by the GOP-led Congress and President Donald Trump's administration after he tours New Balance's sneaker factory in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on Thursday. Speaker Paul Ryan has a message for American families who only hear cynical talk coming out of Washington: "Don't fall for it".

Republicans remain optimistic about their ability to pass landmark tax legislation, despite struggles with a health care overhaul that is several months delayed and counting. He said the rest of the world taxes businesses at an average rate of 22.5 percent, compared to America's rate of 35 to 40 percent.

"As Republicans, we are wired the same way on tax reform", Ryan told reporters.

A rewrite of the tax code could be the best chance for Trump and Republicans to score a major legislative win this year.

"How can we possibly remain competitive with a tax code that works against us?" he added, speaking in front of dozens of employees on the factory floor.

"This is a once in a generation moment", Ryan said.

Thursday's rally was organized by the MA chapter of the Service Employees International Union, which represents health care workers.

Hoke said Lawrence is among the cities that would be the most affected by Republican health care and immigration policies.

"It's baffling. They're continuing to push this mythology that tax cuts for the rich will magically help the poor", she said.

"We feel very confident that we see it the same way", he said.

New Balance owner Jim Davis is a Republican donor, including a $100,000 contribution to Ryan's political action committee last August, according to federal campaign finance records.

Davis, the company's billionaire owner, gave almost $2 million during the last election to Republican candidates and political action committees across the country, including $100,000 to Ryan's campaign, federal campaign records show. It employs more than 6,000 workers and operates two factories in MA, three in ME and one in the United Kingdom.

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