• WisPolitics

Monday, November 2, 2015

 9:52 AM 

Ryan says 'two-week conversion' led him to speaker's post

Rep. Paul Ryan may be speaker of the House now, but he's "still Paul Ryan, living in Janesville," he told Wisconsin reporters today.

He said his newest job isn't "all that different than other responsibilities" he's assumed since first taking office in 1999 at the age of 28. As chairman of the Budget Committee and then the tax-policy Ways and Means panel, he always focused on the 1st District and the Badger State, Ryan said.

"I consider the 1st District my family," Ryan said.

In explaining how he went from having no interest in succeeding John Boehner, R-Ohio, to becoming, at 45, the youngest House leader in more than 150 years, Ryan said it was a "two-week conversion."

"Mr. Speaker," is "something I never thought I'd be called," Ryan said. "I always just completely rejected it," he said of attempts over the years by colleagues to draft him for the post.

But once Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's bid to move up the ladder fizzled, Ryan went home for the scheduled weeklong recess and talked to family, friends and a lot of people whose opinions he values.

He concluded he was "called to serve" and had a duty to take on the task of trying to unify a chaotic House GOP Conference.

He also concluded the role needed a complete overhaul.

"I don't think this job would work if you just pick up where John Boehner left off," he said. He laid out his vision to fellow Republicans and most liked what they heard. Ultimately, 236 chose him as speaker, including all but six members of the rebellious House Freedom Caucus that helped drive Boehner into retirement.

That vision includes a return to "regular order" where committee chairmen will drive the legislative process and rank-and-file members will have their voices heard, Ryan told the chamber Thursday during his acceptance speech.

"The House is broken," he said. "We need to make some changes, starting with how the House does business. We need to let every member contribute. ... In other words, we need to return to regular order."

He said he's tackling the position from "a different path" than the one charted by Boehner and former Speaker Dennis Hastert where leadership often took over drafting major legislation with little input from rank-and-file members, or even chairmen. Massive bills were presented to lawmakers mere hours before coming to the House floor and sweeping spending and debt packages were negotiated behind closed doors among only a handful of congressional leaders.

Ryan wants to encourage a "more participatory" approach where policy is written at the committee level, consensus is reached and debate is robust.

"Power has been too concentrated," Ryan said. The House is "too bottled up." He will allow more amendments and more legislation to hit the House floor. "Bills may fail because Congress will work its will," he said, offering a view that goes against the grain.

For at least the past 15 years, speakers have scheduled for floor consideration only bills they know can pass, or are very confident can find last-minute support. When a bill, or even a rule governing debate, is in jeopardy, they usually pull the legislation to give themselves more time to ensure victory.

The once reluctant Republican leader says he's now excited to lead his party into a new era. He plans to make House Republicans "a proposition party; an alternative party," not just a group that rejects most proposals, Ryan said.

Republicans must offer a clear vision to the country, he said. And they must unify.

"If I'm in for a dime, I'm in for a dollar," he said.

-- By Nicole Duran for WisPolitics.com


Back to DC Wrap main page

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

DC Wrap site feed


wispolitics.com Social News

Follow Us


WisPolitics coverage of news from the nation's capital.

JR Ross, David Wise

· DC Wrap site feed (RSS)

· Sign up for email delivery of the weekly DC Wrap column


· Tammy Baldwin (D)
· Ron Johnson (R)

· 1st CD: Paul Ryan (R)
· 2nd CD: Mark Pocan (D)
· 3rd CD: Ron Kind (D)
· 4th CD: Gwen Moore (D)
· 5th CD: F. James Sensenbrenner (R)
· 6th CD: Glenn Grothman (R)
· 7th CD: Sean Duffy (R)
· 8th CD: Reid Ribble (R)



· July 2013: Wood's 2001 DC inauguration trip turned into new career
· May 2013: Hard work propels Berens from Doyle to Pelosi to DGA
· March 2013: Riemann uses PR skills, 'lunch-pail work ethic' to boost state interests in D.C.
· Feb. 2013: Stocks seeks to remake NEA as 'more than a traditional labor union'
· Dec. 2012: As modest Kohl bids farewell to Senate, others do the bragging
· Dec. 2012: Wisconsin experience provides guideposts to Priebus at RNC


· May 2009
· June 2009
· July 2009
· August 2009
· September 2009
· October 2009
· November 2009
· December 2009
· January 2010
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· May 2010
· June 2010
· July 2010
· August 2010
· September 2010
· October 2010
· November 2010
· December 2010
· January 2011
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· May 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· June 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
· September 2016
· October 2016
Copyright ©2012 WisPolitics.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisBusiness.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications