Republican congressman Paul Ryan formally announced his candidacy for speaker of the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Earlier, he had stated that he is open to replacing the retiring House Speaker John Boehner. However for this, he must win the unified backing of his party colleagues in the House. Within a few days, he was able to manage the support from both conservative and moderate Republican groups. “We are ready to move forward as a one, united team”, and I am ready and eager to be our speaker, he wrote in a letter to fellow lawmakers.
Republicans are scheduled to nominate a new speaker on October 28th, with a vote by the full House the next day.
However the road is going to be anything but smooth for Ryan when he is elevated to the top job. He will take over at a moment of chaos even for a Congress where crisis is routine. There are many pending issues that need immediate attention.
Crucial highway funding authority is about to expire, requiring a short-term extension that no one supports. The November 3rd deadline is fast approaching to raise the federal borrowing limit or face an unprecedented government default. Currently there is no plan to avert this. There will also be fresh trouble in early December with a must-pass deadline for spending legislation.
His problems are going to be compounded as he must try to unite a badly fractured House GOP. The retiring House Speaker John Boehner had to put in his papers under conservative pressure. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was in the race, but had to bow out abruptly.
According to some reports, Paul Ryan, GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, was reluctant himself to begin with.
Boehner had also wanted to “clean the barn” rather than leave it for his successor to deal with. But he was unable to do this.