Still resisting the call……
Senior Republican leaders say they believe Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) owes it to the party to take the job as Speaker, even as he took another stand against the post Friday.
“You know what, he needs to do this for the team,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“He clearly doesn’t want the job,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a long-serving member on the GOP leadership team. “But honestly this is a case where the job is seeking the man, and we need him.”
The Republican Party is almost universally trying to draft the reluctant Ryan into the race. Ryan has received a barrage of phone calls from key party leaders, from former presidential candidate Mitt Romney to current House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Ryan has repeatedly signaled resistance to taking on the job, which comes with demanding fundraising duties along with the role of taming an increasingly unruly conservative caucus.
He has also told lawmakers that he is content as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee with an ambitious tax reform agenda. That role could help elevate a presidential bid down the road, unlike a contentious reign as speaker.
Ryan released a third statement Friday morning that reiterated he is “still not running for speaker,” and dismissed more questions later that afternoon. Swarmed by reporters as he left the Capitol, all he said was: “The Packers are at home, they’re going to beat the Rams. Take care folks.”
Some members say it’s Ryan’s duty to take the post at a time when even the House’s No. 2 House Republican believes they’ve hit “rock bottom.”
Even members who are currently eyeing the speakership – Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga) – have said they would clear the path if Ryan chose to step up.