"This is nothing short of a generational defining moment we are in. The country is crying out for solutions. The country is crying out to be unified. The country is crying out for a positive vision that brings us all together," Ryan said after a two day retreat with members that wrapped up on Friday.
The House GOP agenda will include proposals on national security, jobs and economic growth, health care, poverty and opportunity, and restoring the Constitution, he said. As part of his emphasis on restoring "regular order," the speaker said these would be developed at the committee level, with input from all members and their constituents.
"With everything that's at stake in 2016 we've been talking about how do we go on offense on ideas and how do we make sure that we offer the country a very clear and very compelling choice. They deserve that," Ryan said.
GOP leaders conducted sessions, some with their Senate counterparts, to develop policy proposals, but did not commit to introducing legislation or holding floor votes on these areas.
House Budget Chairman Tom Price of Georgia told reporters he has already met with policy staffers for all of the 2016 presidential campaigns and is aiming to unveil a budget, which will also frame much of the debate over economic policies by the end of February.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan told CNN he thought it was important to go on the record and give details to voters to provide a mandate for the GOP nominee.
"What voters want us to do is get spending under control and do what we've talked about - show the big bold contrast and hold people accountable," Jordan said.
2016 race intrudes
Although the exercise is designed to arm the Republican nominee with a platform to run on for the general election, Ryan again refused to weigh in on the divisive fight that was on full display during Thursday night's presidential debate between the two front-runners, Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Ryan told reporters he didn't watch the debate and when pressed to comment on the back and forth over Cruz's citizenship, the speaker said, "I haven't given it a second's worth of thought."
Although multiple House GOP members at the retreat expressed reservations about the tone of Trump's campaign and his impact on congressional races this fall, the speaker has repeatedly committed that he'll back whoever wins the nomination.
Jordan waved off concerns about Trump, and said he was still mulling over whether he would endorse a candidate. But he said "heck ya" when asked if he would back the billionaire businessman if he assembles the delegates to be the party's candidate. "The guy who wins is our nominee - that's how the game is played."