Yes or no?
As Catholics look for white smoke from the Vatican, as children stand by for Santa, as the working public anticipates Friday, House Republicans are eagerly awaiting Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s verdict on his own political life. This week they hope to learn whether Ryan, R-Wis., will run to replace Speaker John A. Boehner, or will leave them to find someone else.
When Ryan, 45, returns to Capitol Hill on Tuesday after a weeklong congressional recess, he will face enormous pressure to tell his colleagues if he has changed his mind, after insisting for weeks that he was not interested in the job.
Ryan has been criticized by far right pundits on issues like his 2008 vote to bail out large banks, his longstanding interest in immigration reform and his work on a bipartisan budget measure.
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Ryan is the favorite among many of his Republican colleagues, although he has been criticized by far right pundits on issues like his 2008 vote to bail out large banks, his longstanding interest in immigration reform and his work on a bipartisan budget measure.
That criticism has made its way to conservative districts where some members are feeling pressure to reject Ryan, even though no alternative candidate with similar stature has emerged who seems likely to garner the 218 votes needed to get the job.
For his part, Ryan appears to be keeping his decision-making process close to home. Republicans will meet on Tuesday night, and Ryan may announce his decision then. Or not.
Congressman Ryan spent the weekend at home with his family. There is no update, and he looks forward to listening to and speaking with his colleagues this week.
Brendan Buck, spokesman
“Congressman Ryan spent the weekend at home with his family,” said Brendan Buck, his spokesman. “There is no update, and he looks forward to listening to and speaking with his colleagues this week.”
Ryan’s brother Tobin said the two spent the weekend watching the Green Bay Packers, not speaking at all about Washington. “It was a nail-biter for us,” Tobin Ryan said. “I thought Paul was more intensely involved in this game than usual. He was certainly able to shut down all that sort of stuff with the family and watch.”
And he was not seeking advice from outsiders. “I am sure he and Janna will figure out what is best,” Tobin Ryan said, referring to Ryan’s wife.
Several Republicans are eagerly waiting to see what Ryan will do.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah has announced his candidacy, as has Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida, a favorite among some of the most conservative members of the House Republican conference largely, it seems, because he has indicated that he would bend to their will on several rules changes to empower them. Reps. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, Bill Flores of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee are also pondering bids. (Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the early favorite, withdrew from the race.)
“Most are in a holding pattern trying to figure out what Paul Ryan is really going to do.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah
“Most are in a holding pattern trying to figure out what Paul Ryan is really going to do,” Chaffetz wrote in a text message on Monday.
Over the last week, several members of Congress tried, again, to lean on Ryan, at times appealing to his conscience, and at others begging.
“It is tough to bribe a man with no vices or tempt a man with a promotion he doesn’t want,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., a fan of Ryan’s. “About all anyone can do is beg and appeal to his sense of duty. There is a lot of that going on.”
Boehner has said he will resign from Congress at the end of the month, just a week before the country’s borrowing authority will run out and less than two months before a deadline for a budget measure to avert a government shutdown.
John Boehner has said he will not leave before a new speaker is chosen, though some members have suggested they may force him to leave by means of a procedural move on the House floor.
Boehner has said he will not leave before a new speaker is chosen, though some members have suggested they may force him to leave by means of a procedural move on the House floor. Business would grind to a halt if he left before a replacement was named, as speakers are chosen in the beginning of each meeting of Congress because one is needed to ceremonially turn on the lights.
Under House rules, if there is a speaker vacancy, a speaker pro tempore is appointed from a list of members provided by the speaker. The House would be forced to adjourn each day, with the speaker pro tempore filling in until someone could get 218 votes on the floor.
Not just Ryan
Several Republicans have already announced their candidacy for Speaker of the House role, or are pondering bids
- Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah
- Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida
- Reps. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia
- Bill Flores of Texas
- Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee