Paul Ryan Set to Take Over as Speaker, Hoping to Manage the Chaos

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Can Paul Ryan cut through partisan deadlock as new House Speaker?.

Rep. Young, personable and impassioned about – of all things – tax reform, Paul Ryan is poised to become the second-most powerful person in Washington and may herald an end to the bitter partisan dysfunction paralyzing Congress.He was so wary of the modern speakership — and the political climate in the House — that Ryan said he wouldn’t run for the chamber’s top job unless he could exact a number of concessions from the conservative rank and file.

Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks to during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, after a Special GOP Leadership Election. The perks, trappings and responsibilities of the speaker’s job await the Wisconsin Republican, who will stand behind only Vice President Joe Biden in the presidential line of succession. Ryan of Wisconsin was poised to be installed as the 62nd speaker of the House on Thursday, taking the gavel that he never sought to wield from John A. Paul Ryan the new House speaker, hoping the young but grizzled lawmaker can heal the splintered party’s self-inflicted wounds and fashion a conservative message to woo voters in next year’s elections. House of Representatives, handing the 45-year-old who once was a congressional intern the enormous task of uniting his fratricidal party and, perhaps, ushering in a new era of governance. “I don’t plan to be Caesar, calling all the shots around here,” he told the often-riven Republican caucus Wednesday after rallying rare support from all three of its main factions, including the right-wing Freedom Caucus that drove John Boehner to quit as Speaker.

With the GOP controlling 247 of the House’s 435 votes, Ryan’s election was assured, despite grumbling from conservatives demanding more say in how the House operates. In his acceptance speech, Ryan planned to ask both parties for a period of healing and to focus on working families, said an aide who described the remarks on condition of anonymity. “If you have ideas, let’s hear them. Ryan will be the youngest Speaker in more than a century, taking over a post that combines unrivalled power with high ceremony, fundraising and a father-confessor role. And he’ll move into ex-Speaker John Boehner’s office suite on the second floor of the Capitol, where reporters mill outside and tourists can take selfies in front of his nameplate in the entryway. A greater clarity between us can lead to a greater charity among us,” Ryan was planning to say, said the aide, in what seemed a bid for GOP reconciliation.

Ryan’s balcony: a clear sightline west along the National Mall with sunset views of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. “You’re looking straight down the mall and you’re really seeing the nation’s capital in its greatest grandeur,” said Dave Schnittger, a former deputy chief of staff to Mr. Boehner, 65, came into the job a seasoned leader who tried to appease the Tea Party members whose elections helped usher Republicans into the majority. After leading the House since 2011, the 25-year House veteran stunningly announced his resignation last month, hounded by hard-line conservatives who are mostly rallying behind Ryan — at least for now. Thursday’s vote comes as Congress nears completion of a bipartisan accord to avert a jarring federal default next week and likely prevent a December government shutdown by setting spending levels for the next two years.

He has already flirted with the national political spotlight as the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2012; becoming Speaker offers him the chance to steer major change in Washington. The House approved the bill Wednesday 266-167, with final Senate passage on track in a few days, despite opposition from conservatives including senators seeking the GOP presidential nomination. Powerful Speakers build coalitions, move landmark legislation and deal effectively across party lines – although it never makes them popular with their party’s hard core. Schnittger said. “If things like a bigger office, a security detail, a higher salary, etc. are really defining priorities for you,” he said, “then you should be working in the private sector.” Life in the bubble of a security detail and the glare of the national media won’t be new for Mr.

Speakers such as Massachusetts Democrat Tip O’Neill, whose working relationship with Republican president Ronald Reagan irked many and achieved much, are regarded by history as far more important that ardent partisans such as the departing Mr. Boehner out of it last month, and then prevented his heir apparent, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority leader, from replacing him. Ryan later said it was time for “turning the page” on GOP infighting that followed Boehner’s decision to leave, though he revealed no specifics about his plans. “We think the country is heading in the wrong direction,” he said. “And we have an obligation here in the people’s house, doing the people’s business, to give this country a better way forward.” Though Ryan won less than the 218 votes needed to be elected by the full House, conservatives — including members of the rebellious House Freedom Caucus — said most would back him Thursday. Vice-President Joe Biden said earlier this week. “He knows this government can’t function without reaching some consensus and he wants to do that.” Mr. Beyond the political fights that dominate the news, the speaker helps run the Capitol complex, where he will face decisions both big (how to keep the repair of the famous dome on schedule) and small (whether to use polystyrene trays in the cafeterias).

Ryan, so far, is saying all the right things. “If I’m elected Speaker, we will begin a conversation about how to approach these big issues – as a team,” he told Republicans. Wednesday’s House budget vote underscored Ryan’s challenge in leading Republicans who often have scant interest in compromise, especially with a GOP presidential contest dominated by candidates who vilify Washington insiders. In practice, many of those decisions get made by professional staff members or by the House Administration Committee, whose chairman, handpicked by the speaker, is known as the mayor of Capitol Hill. He had warned members that while he would take their concerns about process seriously, he would not brook dissent that would undermine his ability to lead them.

He delayed his bid to change the motion on the House floor and told conservatives they would discuss the reform as part of a larger conversation about overhauling the House rules later this fall or early next year. Ryan is the first speaker elected to the job in the middle of a congressional term since 1989, when Thomas Foley of Washington was elevated to succeed Jim Wright of Texas, who resigned from the job in disgrace amid an ethics investigation into his business dealings. Ryan won his first election to the House at 28 and is now in many respects the titular leader of Republicans in Washington seeking a message and ballast going into the 2016 election. Boehner’s resignation prompted a month of GOP turbulence after the Freedom Caucus derailed the candidacy of the heir-apparent, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

His problems are less with Democrats, who have deeply opposed his policy ideas for years, than in his own party, which controls 247 seats but is divided over tactics and to some degree ideology, with a sizable number of members often supporting government dysfunction over political compromise. Establishment Republicans pressured a reluctant Ryan to seek the speakership, prevailing on the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee as their best shot at patching the GOP’s ragged ruptures. Ryan also will literally be the face of Congress during President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address in January 2016, sitting next to Mr.

Ryan acknowledges that the realities of governing, and fundraising, impose some pragmatism, if not crass expediency. “Even if you come to Congress believing in limited government and fiscal prudence, once you get here you are bombarded with pressure to violate your conscience,” Mr. Biden and knowing that his every grimace and contortion will be watched. “You’re one of the three faces that the nation will be staring at for an hour every year,” Mr. At that time, there were numerous factions, like the waning Whig Party, an anemic group of Democrats, a small nativist block called the American Party (also called the Know Nothings), and a fledgling Republican Party.

In January 2014, during an event sponsored by the Texas Tribune in San Antonio, Ryan was asked for the first time: “Does Paul Ryan want to be speaker?” “When [wife] Janna and I joined [Mitt Romney’s presidential] ticket, we looked at what would this do to our family and we realized that actually we would see each other more in the vice presidency than as a member of the House,” Ryan told Texas Tribune Editor Evan Smith. “We would see each other less in the speakership than as a member of the House.” “I’m more of a policy person,” he said. “I prefer spending my days on policy and my weekends at home with my family. Ryan’s claim that what he wants most is to spend time with his young family in Janesville, Wis., not far from Lake Koshkonong, sometimes rings hollow. On social issues, he remains solidly conservative – against same-sex marriage and abortion – but he backed Barack Obama’s huge bailouts of the auto industry and Wall Street banks. Ryan from his most vexing conflicts by negotiating an $80 billion bipartisan budget agreement that would increase spending for the military and some popular domestic programs, lift the debt ceiling and avert premium increases of as much as 50 percent for millions on Medicare right before an election. When Boehner resigned — and Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the race to replace him — people close to Ryan began to wonder when he would get the call to step up.

He can convene the House someplace other than the Capitol, whenever he decides that it is in the “public interest.” In some instances, the speaker can travel on a military jet, Mr. The budget deal creates room for the House and Senate appropriations committees to draft a huge spending bill for the current fiscal year that can increase spending on defense as well as politically popular programs like medical research, federal law enforcement and wildfire suppression. In the meantime, his right flank is itching to move forward with efforts sure to stoke the party’s conservative base but possibly provoke a backlash. Moves are already afoot to impeach the Internal Revenue Service commissioner, John Koskinen, and the Special Select Committee on Benghazi has signaled it is not about to give up its pursuit of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. But he did take nearly every meeting requested of him, voicing support for everything from rules changes to empowering committee chairmen to quicker action on spending bills.

He will have to decide how far he presses to transform Medicare and Medicaid, rewrite the individual and corporate tax codes and overhaul federal poverty programs. So when the compromise was released after an intense weekend of talks between congressional leaders and the White House, Ryan turned sharply against Boehner. Raúl Labrador of Idaho, Justin Amash of Michigan and other Freedom Caucus leaders approached Ryan on the floor, surrounding him in a circle, asking him what he thought of the compromise. He avoided horse trading during his campaign for speaker, but he was already making good on his word: He began to lay plans to restructure the powerful House Republican Steering Committee by Thanksgiving.

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