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GOP Suggests Paul Ryan Leave Before January to Allow for Quicker Transition to New Speaker
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13 Apr 2018 02:05 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Paul Ryan (Image Source: Tony Alter via Wikimedia Commons)


The country was shocked when Paul Ryan announced he was retiring next January and would no longer be Speaker of the House. This caused terror among the GOP, as they were already on tentative ground for the elections next fall, and now they stand to possibly lose another seat. Some are suggesting the Speaker leave earlier to allow for a quicker transition to a new speaker to hopefully lead to less fallout at the polls in November. But he has no desire to do that.

Ryan announced he would be making this move earlier this week explaining he wanted to spend more time with his family. And in truth, this is a role he had to be convinced to take in 2015 in the first place. But the left is wondering if he is backing out before further fallout within the administration with too many comings and goings and multiple investigations surrounding Donald Trump.

The President himself is being urged to stay out of the quest to find a new speaker, and that's troubling in itself that the GOP isn't trusting him to help in this process, seeing him more as a nuisance. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) are the leading candidates at this point to step into Ryan's shoes.

While the left reveled in what this move could mean for their side, the right were expressing their concerns of what it would do to their unity to have the speaker position left with a big question mark until next year. The majority in the GOP House is already in jeopardy, and some are suggesting they should just chalk it up to a loss at this point.

Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) is suggesting the leadership elections be moved up. "No disrespect to Paul, but quite frankly, you want somebody who's got skin in the game for after the election," he explained. 

"I'm thinking that we're not going to show that kind of patience and at some point in time we're going to start talking about that."

But Ryan has already said he intends to "stay here and run through the tape" next January when a new Congress will be in session.

"I've talked to a lot of members, a lot of members who think it's in all of our best interests for this leadership team to stay in place," the Speaker affirmed. "I have shattered every fundraising record any speaker has ever set. ... It makes no sense to take the biggest fundraiser off the field, and I think almost all of our members see it that way."

While Trump is urged to stay out of it, he already has a tight relationship with the Majority Leader whom he refers to as "my Kevin." He's already been inviting him to Mar-a-Lago for weekend getaways. Ryan seems to feel McCarthy has the edge as well, as he has said he's "encouraged" that Scalise has made comments deferring to the Majority Leader.

"What is shows you is that we have an intact leadership team that supports each other, that's all heading in the right direction," Ryan insisted.

Even the Majority Whip seems to feel the same way, as he said on Thursday on Fox News Channel, "I've never run against Kevin and wouldn't run against Kevin." 

However, he refused to officially endorse him, and McCarthy has not announced yet that he wishes to take on the role of Speaker, although he initially wanted to succeed John Boehner before Ryan won the spot.

"What means most to me is that in the next Congress, there is an opportunity for a Republican to be speaker and not Nancy Pelosi," he said on Fox News on Thursday. "We've accomplished a lot, and we've got a lot more to do on the Trump agenda."

But this all may be happening sooner rather than later. Rep. Tom Graves, the chair of an Appropriations subcommittee and an ally of McCarthy's, wants to speed up the process and have the new speaker in place by the end of the month. 

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) admitted that he's been approached by two people wishing for an accelerated transition. "You know the team, you know the leadership, and then you've got a horse to ride through the election cycle," he expressed.

 "There are other people saying, 'How is this going to impact me when I have a speaker, well known, well respected, but is a lame duck? If he comes to my district, is there as much cachet — not just cash, but draw — versus having someone who could be the next speaker after that for a couple of terms?' " he addeBut not everyone in the GOP agrees. "The push is coming from those who are interested in joining leadership sooner rather than later," stated Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) "The last thing we need right now in our conference, I believe, is a protracted leadership battle."

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