On Wednesday, House Republicans nominated Wisconsin’s Representative Paul Ryan as the 62nd speaker of the House. The angry uprising from some of the conservative hard-liners had driven Ohio’s John A. Boehner into retirement, which caused the Republicans to seek the assistance of the fairly young chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Ryan is the brains behind the tax and budget reform proposals and had gained prominence nationally when he was nominated as the vice-president for the Republican Party in 2012. In the nomination contest for House Speaker, Mr. Ryan received overwhelming support from his colleagues and a formal vote conducted on Thursday on the House Floor will install him as speaker.
The closest rival for Mr. Ryan was Florida’s Representative Daniel Webster and the vote had settled 200 to 43, according to Republicans. In order to win the vote on Thursday, Mr. Ryan needs 218 votes and he was a little short of them, but supporters said that since he was now the nominee, it would be easy for him to get the necessary votes. The 45-year-old Mr. Ryan has accepted the gavel reluctantly and will have the responsibility of resolving the bitter divisions that have plagued House Republicans from the moment they gained majority in 2010’s midterm elections.
Mr. Boehner had been heavily opposed by the conservative and rank-and-file hardliners from the House of Freedom Caucus as they said he had a conciliatory attitude in negotiations with congressional Democrats and President Obama. Another complain concerning Mr. Boehner was that he didn’t give them much control and so they wanted change. A House vote had been scheduled on Wednesday afternoon concerning a bipartisan budget agreement that Mr. Boehner had negotiated and had been criticized by Mr. Ryan. Nonetheless, the latter will have a clean slate when he takes the speaker’s chair.
Spending limits are imposed by the bill for the next two years and the federal borrowing limit is also extended through March 2017, which would basically eliminate the risk of a debt default or government shutdown by the end of the second term of Mr. Obama. Still, there are other challenges on the horizon with the immediate ones being the highway programs that will expire in the next month. In addition, the appropriation process for the budget agreement is still to be done, which could most certainly give rise to contentious issues.
On September 25th, Mr. Boehner announced his unexpected retirement from the post of House speaker and Mr. Ryan denied having any interest in the post. However, after California’s Representative Kevin McCarthy abandoned his bid for the post due to criticism from the conservatives, he was requested to step up by party leaders. Ultimately, Mr. Ryan said that he would accept the nominated only if he had the support of his colleagues, which he got last week. Although he wasn’t formally endorsed by the Freedom Caucus, most of its members said that he would get their vote. Mr. Ryan said that he would need the assistance of other Republican leaders in order to perform his duties.