Republicans in the House of Representatives have officially nominated House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, R-WI for Speaker of the House. The GOP conference nominated Ryan during a closed meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015 with a vote of 200 out of 247 Republican representatives. Ryan will face a formal vote in the full House on Thursday, Oct. 29, where he will officially become the Speaker of the House succeeding John Boehner, R-OH who is retiring on Friday, Oct. 30.
In the vote, Ryan faced a rebellion by the 40-member Republican Freedom caucus, with 45 members not voting for him, and 43 members voting for Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fl. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) both received one vote each. In Thursday’s full House vote, Ryan will need 218 votes to become speaker, which he most likely will secure, as those conservatives who nominated Webster will vote for Ryan at Webster’s behest.
Ryan is a nine-term Congressman, former Chairman of the Budget Committee Chairman, and the former 2012 Vice Presidential nominee, chosen by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney as his running mate. The Speaker of the House is second in line to the presidency. Ryan will become the 54th Speaker of the House on Thursday, when Boehner retires and passes him the gavel.
Ryan first announced on Tuesday evening, Oct. 20, 2015 that he would run for speaker if his conditions were met he wanted to be a unity candidate and requested support from all three GOP factions in the House. Although Ryan secured the endorsements from the 170-member Republican Study Caucus (RSC) and the 50-member Tuesday Group (Republican Study Committee), Ryan had one failure in his request the 40 member Republican Freedom Caucus (RFC) did not endorse him. On Wednesday evening, Oct. 21 the caucus voted and Ryan only received a supermajority support, but not the 80 percent necessary for a formal endorsement.
Ryan spoke to the press after the vote flanked by the remaining House leaders, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-LA and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA. Ryan thanked Boehner, but promised a new kind of leadership, “This begins a new day in the House of Representatives. (Speaker) John Boehner served with humility and distinction, and we owe him a debt of gratitude. But tomorrow we are turning the page. … Our party has lost its vision and we’re going to replace it with a vision.”
The incoming Speaker promised to try to move the country towards the right direction when serves in his new post. Ryan expressed, “We think the country’s heading in the wrong direction, and we have an obligation here in the people’s House to do the people’s business and to give this country a better way forward. We are going to respect the people by representing the people.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH announced on Sept. 25 his decision to resign as speaker and from his House seat on Oct. 30. The House had been in chaos since heir apparent House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s, R-CA abrupt withdrawal from the race. The only name that Republicans considered as a consensus candidate who would be able to garner the 218 votes necessary was Ryan.
After McCarthy withdrew Boehner personally asked Ryan to run, but the former 2012 Republican Vice Presidential nominee was reluctant because of his young family and the time commitment involved in being speaker and the turbulence Boehner faced with Freedom Caucus’ constant revolts.
Outgoing Speaker Boehner secured a two-year budget deal that also raised the debt ceiling, making Ryan’s job easier as he enters his new post. Boehner said about Ryan in his last GOP leadership press conference on Tuesday, Oct. 27, “I didn’t want him to walk into a dirty barn full of you know what.”
The budget deal has already caused problems for Ryan who is distancing himself from the deal, and who said the negotiation process “stinks.” Still Ryan voted for the measure becoming only one of 78 Republicans, who voted for the bill that passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 266 to 167, with all Democrats supporting the bill, but all the dissension coming Republicans. Ryan lack of official opposition to the bill likely cost him the conservative votes in his nomination. Ryan will still face the mantle of not being “conservative enough.”
At 45 years-old Ryan will become the youngest Speaker of the House in 150 years, since just after the Civil War when in 1869 Maine Republican James Blaine became the speaker. The youngest speaker title is still held by Virginia Whig Robert Hunter, who upon his election in 1839 was “30 years, 7 months and 25 days.”