Speaker Paul Ryan said last week that he will seek re-election to the top job in the House as Republicans hold onto their majority, an outcome confirmed in Tuesday’s elections. Ryan’s comment comes as some House Republicans have discussed trying to oust him from his post. He became speaker only a year ago after conservatives pressured John Boehner, R-Ohio, into retiring from Congress.
Ryan was asked about a report about “chatter” that he was no longer interested in being speaker. “Nope. Not true,” Ryan said. “Don’t believe everything you read. I am interested in staying on as speaker.”
The 46-year-old Ryan was his party’s 2012 vice-presidential nominee and is considered a potential future presidential candidate. He has broad support among Republicans, who control the House.
Ryan said he wants to push his agenda. He also denied there is a schism within his party. However, many lawmakers have wondered whether Ryan might step aside rather than risk his political career by angering conservative voters. Upcoming budget talks and the need to extend federal borrowing authority next year could well produce results that would upset such voters.
Some members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus – the roughly 40-member group that forced Boehner’s departure – have discussed opposing Ryan. They’ve expressed worries that he won’t hold out for spending curbs in upcoming negotiations with President Barack Obama and Democrats over next year’s budget.
Others complained about Ryan’s lack of support for Donald Trump. The Speaker may have painted himself into a corner. But, for now at least, he seems determined to finish the coarse he started one year ago.
The 2016 election is now over – but the race for Speaker of the House may just be getting started.