Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., reportedly has plans to retire after the 2018 midterm elections, according to a report from Politico.
Expecting the Republican tax reform plan to pass as early as next week, Ryan reportedly intends to pursue entitlement reform in 2018, hoping to end his speakership with big legislative achievements during the Trump presidency.
Speaking at his weekly press conference, Speaker Ryan reaffirmed his commitment to seeing entitlement and welfare reform get done.
“Let’s change our welfare laws so we push and pull people out of poverty and into the workforce,” Ryan said. “Next year is going to be the year that we work on people. Next is is going to be the year we work on getting people into a better life.”
At Thursday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Speaker Ryan denied reports of his retirement to the president.
.@PressSec says Trump called Ryan about reports he may be considering stepping down, says Ryan denied it
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) December 14, 2017
Ryan’s departure would instigate a year of plotting and scheming among House Republicans for a chance to succeed him as speaker.
After Speaker John Boehner unexpectedly announced his retirement in 2015, several members of the House jockeyed for their shot to replace him. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah (who has since retired), and Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., each jumped into the race to replace Boehner.
McCarthy was seen as the frontrunner before he shot himself in the foot with comments made on Fox News suggesting that the House Select Committee on Benghazi was put together to hurt Hillary Clinton politically. When McCarthy dropped out of the race, Boehner encouraged Ryan to run for speaker.
Back in September, The Washington Post reported that House conservatives were discussing a possible challenge to Paul Ryan. McCarthy’s name was floated again, as was that of Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.
Scalise would be a formidable candidate were he to pursue the speakership. Over the summer, Scalise was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a radical leftist gunman attacked congressional Republicans at their baseball practice. Scalise returned to Congress in September and received a hero’s welcome from both Republicans and Democrats.
However, there is no requirement that the Speaker of the House be a sitting member of Congress, and other names that were mentioned to replace Ryan included former Senator Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
There is no clear consensus on a candidate this time, should Ryan follow through and retire from Congress. Expect multiple Republicans to pull political stunts over this next year to increase their profile for a shot at the speakership in 2019.
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Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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