Lots of hours for a family man…..
House Republicans are heaping pressure on Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to become their next Speaker after the strong favorite for the position stunned Washington by exiting the race.
Now that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has bowed out, a growing number of House Republicans are arguing that the Ways and Means chairman is the only person capable of uniting a GOP conference that has been badly fractured for years.
“Paul Ryan is the only eligible candidate,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a frequent critic of the House’s conservative wing who had backed McCarthy for Speaker.
The push to draft Ryan is coming from the top. McCarthy told National Review that he wanted Ryan to run the House, and the Washington Post has reported that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has called on the Wisconsin Republican to be his replacement.
Additional GOP heavyweights, such as Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who some wanted to see make a run for the Speakership, are also backing a Ryan bid. Thursday afternoon, Ryan was seen on the House floor chatting with Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a vocal conservative, and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), a conservative favorite who himself has declined leadership runs in the past.
Other leadership allies, as well as Nunes, were among the first to single out Ryan as the best candidate in the wake of McCarthy’s announcement.
“He’s just the first obvious name and it would be terrific,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). “He has national stature having been a vice presidential nominee, and he’s a conservative icon.”
There’s only a couple of problems with that idea.
First, Ryan has steadfastly insisted he has no interest in the Speaker’s job. He made that clear within minutes of Boehner announcing his resignation last month, and he has not shifted from that position since.
On top of that, it’s far from certain that the House Freedom Caucus, the group of roughly 40 conservatives who opposed Boehner and McCarthy, would fall in line behind a Ryan candidacy.
“While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate,” Ryan said in a statement shortly after McCarthy’s announcement.
A spokesman for Ryan said later in the day that the Wisconsin Republican was still a “hard no,” after GOP lawmakers continued to urge him to run.
Ryan has long called heading the powerful Ways and Means Committee his dream job, giving him the opportunity to overhaul the tax code for the first time in a generation, revamp the country’s poverty programs and deal with increasing entitlement spending.