The search for a new House Speaker may be ending soon. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told the House GOP conference Tuesday night that he will run for Speaker if every caucus endorses him and set a deadline of Friday for House Republicans to make up their minds. Otherwise he would be content to remain where he is, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“It’s not a job I’ve ever wanted [or] I’ve ever sought,” Ryan said. “I’m in the job I’ve always wanted here in the Congress. I came to the conclusion that this is a very dire moment, not just for Congress, not just for the Republican Party, but for our country. And I think our country is in desperate need of leadership.”
“Unless the Speaker is a unifying figure across the conference, he or she will face the same challenges that have beset our current leadership,” Brendan Buck said. “If the members agree with his requests and share his vision, and if he is a unity candidate — with the endorsement of all the conference’s major caucuses — then he will serve as Speaker. He will be all in,” Buck said. “But if he is not a unifying figure for the conference, then he will not run and will be happy to continue serving as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.”
Ryan has been the focus for the Speakers job since the surprise decision by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to bow out of the race to succeed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who plans to retire at the end of the month.
“If Paul Ryan can’t unite us, no one can. Who else is out there?” said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), a moderate. “That’d be a sign of utter dysfunction, total madness.”
A new poll released Monday by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal showed strong support for Ryan among Republican primary voters, with 63 percent “comfortable and positive” about Ryan taking over the post.