WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R – Wis.) announced that he will not seek re-election in November during a press conference at the Capitol earlier today.
Speaker Ryan said his decision was attributed to his desire to spend more time with his family and to not just be a “weekend dad” to his teenage children.
“I had given this job everything that I have and I have no regrets whatsoever for having accepted this responsibility,” Speaker Ryan said.
When asked by reporters, he denied his decision to retire in January had anything to do with the potential for a blue wave to sweep out Republican incumbents in Congress in the 2018 midterms and hand control to Democrats. He also said his decision had nothing to do with the trillion dollar deficit forecast released this week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as a result of the tax bill that passed in December.
Republican members of congress tweeted their support of Speaker Ryan’s decision. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R – Calif.) showered praise on Ryan, saying in a tweet that the Speaker “fearlessly led this conference and championed ideas that are moving the country forward.” He also added he is saddened by the speaker’s decision.
Obviously, today is a sad day for me personally and for our conference, but @SpeakerRyan’s selfless leadership has put our conference and our country in a better place. There is more work to do this year, and we will do it together as a team. #MAGA ??
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 11, 2018
Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R – La.), the third-highest ranking member of GOP House leadership, said Congress was able to achieve conservative reforms such as the Tax Cut and Jobs Act under Speaker Ryan’s leadership.
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) April 11, 2018
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D – Md.) said, in a tweet, that he hopes Speaker Ryan will work with lawmakers across the aisle now that he’s not saddled with the politics involved in seeking re-election.
Now that Paul Ryan is no longer encumbered by having to run for re-election to the speakership, I hope he will use this opportunity – as John Boehner did before him – to rise above internecine, factional squabbles in his party & work with Democrats to address critical challenges.
— Steny Hoyer (@WhipHoyer) April 11, 2018
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif. – D) echoed Hoyer’s sentiment in a statement she released earlier today.
“During his final months, Democrats are hopeful that he joins us to work constructively to advance better futures for all Americans,” Pelosi said.
Political organizations such as the Democratic National Committee, however, refrained from diplomatic niceties and railed against the legislation that passed under the House Speaker, in the wake of his announcement.
“Republicans have voted to gut funding for Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, student loans, public schools, and SNAP benefits, while trying to take health care away from millions of American families,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement. “Speaker Ryan’s retirement is an indictment of Republican leadership that has failed to provide meaningful results for the American people.”
House Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D – Ill.) warned that Speaker Ryan’s agenda won’t end in January.
“Paul Ryan may be leaving Congress, but he’s leaving behind a road map” that shows how Republicans plan to make cuts to social safety nets such as Medicare and Social Security among others, Schakowsky said at an event opposing a balanced budget constitutional amendment.
This year will mark nearly 20 years in congress for Speaker Ryan, who said he took the job reluctantly when he was elected after House Speaker John Boehner’s sudden resignation in October 2015.
He listed the accomplishments he’s celebrated since then, most notable and recent being tax reform and addressing the military readiness crisis — which he crossed off his list last month when Congress passed, and Pres. Trump signed, an omnibus bill that allocated a record $700 billion for the Pentagon.
“But I want to be clear, I’m not done yet,” he said. “I intend to finish the year.”
[Photo at the top: House Speaker Paul Ryan takes questions during a presser after announcing he will not seek re-election]