Coming Soon: Speaker Ryan

Posted: Oct 22, 2015 4:01 PM
Coming Soon: Speaker Ryan

Yesterday, I explained how Paul Ryan wields heavy leverage in his reluctant bid to become Speaker of the House. Last night, the recalcitrant House Freedom Caucus voted overwhelmingly to support his candidacy, falling just shy of the 80 percent threshold required for a formal endorsement. His supporters include frequent Boehner critic and libertarian-leaning Michigander Justin Amash. Ryan tweaked his "unity" criteria, accepting the HFC's strong blessing as sufficient, and awaited the formal endorsements of two other important coalitions -- the moderate Tuesday Group and the conservative Republican Study Committee. He's now three for three. His path to the Speakership is clear:

Paul Ryan did not seek this position.  In many ways, he assiduously avoided it.  But given the state of the caucus and the issues facing the country, he eventually relented to the sustained pressure, agreeing to stand for Speaker if the party's various factions delivered a robust vote of confidence in support of his leadership.  That has now come to fruition.  Barring an astonishing turn of events, Ryan will succeed John Boehner as Speaker of the House.  The lower chamber is scheduled to vote on October 28.  Also of note, it appears that Ryan managed to assuage most HFC members' concerns about a proposed rules change that would eliminate or alter the "motion to vacate the chair" maneuver that can be used to unseat a sitting Speaker.  He reportedly floated several reform options, clarifying that doing away with the rule altogether wasn't on the table.  He also pledged to steer clear of any immigration reform legislation so long as Barack Obama is president and vowed to reinstitute the so-called "Hastert rule" (which ought to be renamed), under which no legislation is brought to the House floor unless it enjoys majority support among the majority party's members:

With all eyes focused on the Benghazi committee proceedings today, the other big headline from Capitol Hill is that the next Speaker of the House has been all but determined. There will be wrenching battles ahead, including politically-fraught fights over the debt ceiling and measures to fund the federal government. Speaker Ryan will have his work cut out for him -- and despite this moment of Republican solidarity, his "honeymoon" period may be very short indeed.