Ryan ready to seek job as House speaker
Washington — Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday formally declared his candidacy for speaker of the House after getting unified support from across the Republican conference.
“After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as a one, united team,” Ryan said in a letter to colleagues. “And I am ready and eager to be our speaker.”
The Wisconsin lawmaker and onetime GOP vice presidential nominee will be all but assured of triumphing in elections next week.
Ryan sought unity from divided Republicans as a condition for his candidacy. He succeeded in getting support from three major caucuses within the GOP, including the hardline Freedom Caucus that forced the current speaker, John Boehner, to announce his resignation.
Ryan would inherit a House with major budgetary and spending deadlines on the horizon. At 45 he would become one of the youngest House speakers in history.
In announcing his potential candidacy for the speaker’s job earlier this week, Ryan had said he wanted endorsements from all three groups to guarantee he would emerge as a unity candidate for House Republicans — not risk becoming the latest victim of the intraparty unrest roiling Capitol Hill and the presidential campaign. The Freedom Caucus’ support fell short of a formal endorsement, since that would have required 80 percent agreement that the group was not able to achieve, but Ryan accepted it as a show of unity.
The Republican Study Committee of about 170 House conservatives offered its endorsement Thursday afternoon, the last of three major party caucuses whose backing he sought.
The Tuesday Group of about 50 centrist Republicans also backed 45-year-old Ryan Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township is among the Republican conservative hard-liners who had decided to back Ryan.
Amash told The Detroit News on Thursday that, “consistent with our statement, if Chairman Ryan runs and becomes the nominee, I will support him on the floor.”
The endorsement means all nine Michigan House Republicans back Ryan — the first time in at least the past four years that the GOP delegation has been united on a speaker candidate. Amash opposed Boehner during the past two speaker elections.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, a founding member of the Tuesday Group, said Ryan has the ability to lead and help bring together the Republican conference.
“Paul’s strong background is uniting all the factions within our party so that we can get back to working on a positive, governing agenda on behalf of folks in southwest Michigan and across the country,” Upton said.
Detroit News Staff Writer Melissa Nann Burke and Bloomberg News contributed.