After earning an endorsement from multiple Republican parties within the House, Paul Ryan was nominated on Wednesday to become the next House Speaker. His official election just a few hours ago makes him the 54th House Speaker, third in line for the presidency, and referee for some of the toughest GOP arguments.
Ryan’s colleagues say the reason he’s perfect for the job is because he doesn’t want it. “There is something to be said for reluctant leadership,” said Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall. “It’s an awful job, and folks have to know that going in, but the conversation so often back home is, why are Republicans so bad at communicating? I don’t think John Boehner relished that national spokesman role in the way Newt Gingrich relished that role, but Paul Ryan has proven himself in that role, whether he wanted to be in that position or not.”
Ryan won out over Florida Rep. Daniel Webster with a vote of 200 to 43. At age 45, Ryan will become the second House Speaker in history to have never previously served as an elected member of leadership. Paul Ryan has been a member of Congress since age 28. He entered the national spotlight in 2009 when he emerged as one of the leaders of the Republican opposition against the Obama Administration’s expansive agenda.
Paul Ryan rose through the ranks and was elected as Chairman of the House Budget Committee in his early 40’s. This year, he became head of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Young Guns, the book he co-authored with House Speaker hopefuls Kevin McCarthy and Eric Cantor, proclaimed the three men as leaders of a movement to restore the Republican Party’s limited-government ideals.
Ryan comes into power at a difficult time. The Ex-Im Bank reauthorization, which Ryan strongly opposes, was passed through the House on Tuesday evening.
“Poor Paul – it’s the last job in the world he wanted,” said Rep. Tom Cole. “Honestly, he’s just in many ways a more experienced legislator, and I say this with great admiration for Eric and Kevin, both of hwom I supported and think highly of,” said Cole. “Paul Ryan has chaired two of the most important committees in the House. There’s nobody on this team that’s as smart as, let alone smarter than, Paul Ryan.”
Among his first challenges will be passing a road construction bill and persuading Congress to focus on annual spending bills.
Pro-life groups are excited about the upcoming election. Not only does Ryan have a pro-life voting record, he plans to elect pro-life advocate David Hoppe as his chief of staff.
“Tomorrow, we are turning the page,” said Ryan. “We are not going to have a House that looks like it looked the last few years. We are going to move forward. We are going to unify.” According to an aide, Ryan’s first speech to his fellow representative will be focused around the message: “We have nothing to fear from honest differences honestly stated. If you have ideas, let’s hear them. A greater clarity between us can lead to a greater charity among us.”