House Ways and Means Chairman, Paul Ryan, said Tuesday that he would be willing to take over as the speaker of the House only if he receives endorsements from all GOP factions.
There is still some doubtfulness as to whether Ryan will take over after Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who is stepping down at the end of this month. He requested a decision from the House GOP. “We as a conference should unify now,” Ryan said after his session with the House GOP, as reported by USA Today. “What I told members is if you can agree to these requests and if I can truly be a unifying figure, then I will gladly serve, and if I am not unifying, that is fine as well — I will be happy to stay where I am.”
Ryan said his decision to run for speaker was made “only reluctantly,” adding that he was contended as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He also noted, “I came to the conclusion that this is a very dire moment not just for Congress, not just for the Republican Party, but for our country. I think our country is in desperate need for leadership.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was likely to take over after Boehner – but seeing that the conservative wing, represented by the House Freedom Caucus, will not support him, he announced on October 8 that he wasn’t seeking speakership anymore.
Ryan is also concerned that taking the job may come at the expense of his responsibilities towards his children. Unlike previous speakers, he will be unable to travel much because of the time he wants to give to his children. However, he also said his “greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up,” adding that he does not want to be in a situation in the future where he has to explain to his children why he didn’t take the role at a time when his party and country required strong leadership. He said he did not want to be in a position where “my own kids ask me ‘when the stakes were so high, why didn’t you do all you could do? Why didn’t you stand and fight for my future when you had a chance to do so?'”
According to Politico, Ryan was endorsed by Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid as the next GOP House speaker. Reid is a “Paul Ryan fan,” he said, adding that Ryan “appears to me to be one of the people over there that would be reasonable. I mean look at some of the other people.” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who had also announced his bid for the speakership, said he was withdrawing from the race and supporting Ryan.