Thursday, October 29, 2015

Paul Ryan Elected as House Speaker

On October 29, Republican Paul Ryan was elected as Speaker of the House. Republicans mostly all united behind Ryan as he gained 236 votes on the floor, 184 to minority leader Nancy Pelosi, and only 9 to Daniel Webster, the choice of the most conservative House Republicans. Lately, the House, and especially Republicans, has been through lots of events and turmoil, with Boehner's resignation, McCarthy, the previous expected Speaker, dropping out of the race, and a recent passing of a bill for the huge Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 through the House just a day before the vote. Articles claim that many members were seeking an end to infighting within House GOP, so were more willing to unite behind Ryan (Source).

Ryan was the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the powerful committee that writes bills for taxes. He was elected to the House as a representative from Wisconsin in 1999, and was Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 presidential election. Allegedly, he repeatedly refused to be nominated for Speaker until McCarthy dropped out from the race and after gaining support from the House Freedom Caucus, a strong conservative group (Source).

Do you think Ryan will be able to better unite House GOP members after extensive conflict? Or will he face issues similar to those Boehner faced, being unable to satisfy both the more conservative Tea Party members and the more moderate members? Was Ryan a good choice, or did House members simply settle for this decision, tired of all the conflict and looking for a fresh start? Ideally, what do you think Ryan should do to be a good Speaker?

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Huayu Ouyang said...

I think that Ryan might be better able to unite House GOP members after the vote because the message he has been sending in his speeches is one of unity, "wiping the slate clean" and working together. However, I think that he will still face the same issues that Boehner faced trying to unite the different factions of the Republican Party like the establishment Republicans and the more conservative Freedom Caucus members. I think that Ryan is in general a good choice, as he has experience as the committee chair of the Ways and Means committee and is known for being knowledgeable about policy. However, I do think that part of the decision to elect him was to get past the past few weeks of turmoil and conflict.

Nick Jadallah said...

Like Huayu, I hope that Ryan is able to unite the GOP in the House. Before he was elected, one of his preconditions for running was that he got the support of some of the Republican moderates and the Freedom Caucus before he put himself in contention for the position. He got this support and was elected. Whether or not he is truly able to unite the Republicans remains to be seen. He may have been elected just because, well, SOMEONE needed to be elected, and he was the "best (available) man for the job". Due to the heightened partisanship between the Congress and the White House, hopefully...maybe he will be able to unify the GOP ENOUGH to actually form a (semi-functional at least) relationship at least with the President so legislation has an easier path of flowing through bi-partisan law-making process. Time will tell.

Carolyn Ku said...

Although Ryan may be able to unite House GOP members, I do not think that that necessarily means that legislation will have an easier path through the House. Given that Ryan's main backers are part of the Freedom Caucus, which is known for being even more right on the conservative spectrum, there could still be potential conflict between far right and moderate republicans. And if the House GOP is united, it could be united even farther to the right than before, creating more partisan conflict between the Republican and Democratic parties. So, I agree with Nick that time will tell if Ryan becoming speaker will change the dynamic of the House of Representatives.