UPDATE 2 — 11/6, 9:52 a.m. EST: On Saturday, Politico obtained a draft letter circulated by moderate Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Renacci among fellow House members calling to delay leadership elections until after the scheduled date of Nov. 15.
Fifteen members are reported to have committed to sign the petition to-date, which calls the timing of next week’s proceedings “ill advised.”
“There are fractures in the conference which truly need to be discussed, vetted and healed,” the letter reads. “Asking members to vote for a leadership team within 24 hours of their return to Washington without time to reflect on ways of coming together as a conference . . . ignores the reality that the conference is divided.”
Renacci, however, claims he is not trying to oppose Ryan’s reelection as speaker, but wants to give Republicans time to decide how to proceed after the Nov. 8 general election.
UPDATE — 11/5, 8:37 a.m. EST: Paul Ryan shot down rumors that he would not seek reelection as Speaker of the House Friday, telling WTAQ in Green Bay, Wis., that he is “going to seek staying on as speaker.”
“There’s a lot of unfinished work to do.” he continued. “I can do a lot to help our cause, our party. I’ve led us to offer a very comprehensive agenda to take to the country and I want to execute and implement that agenda.”
Rumors on Capitol Hill and beyond are starting to grow that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) may step down from his leadership role as Speaker of the House following the general election on Tuesday, according to The Hill.
“Speculation is growing that Paul will not return,” said one anonymous House Republican member.
Ryan has held the position for only one year, but he appears to be facing a contentious reelection bid. To win the speakership again, Ryan will have to get 218 member votes. The conservative Freedom Caucus is planning on challenging the Wisconsin Republican for the position.
The Washington Post reports that the Caucus is giving Ryan a list of demands he must meet, or else they will oppose his reelection. Some of those demands include spending cuts and modifications to existing House parliamentary rules. Furthermore, Ryan must also agree only vote on bills that have already have the majority of Republican support.
“If the speaker can’t answer yes to those on paper, I’m going to someone who can,” said Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.). “From now on it needs to be on paper, in writing, with a blood oath of some sort pledging your house and mortgage on the line, too.”
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence added to the rumors when he refused to say whether or not Ryan should keep his current position. In a National Review interview, Pence was asked three times about Ryan. He evaded giving a straight answer, and instead basically stated that he had no business commenting on the issue.
“My respect for Paul Ryan is boundless,” Pence said. “I’m not a member of the House Republican conference anymore. I wouldn’t presume upon what the members of the conference choose.”
The not-so-smooth sidestep was not surprising, given Ryan’s tumultuous history with Pence’s running mate. Since the ‘genital grabbing’ comment surfaced in October, Ryan has cut all visible support and appearances with Donald Trump.
These developments over the fall season beg the question: Does Ryan even want to win re-election? According to his spokeswoman, the answer is yes. However, it’s been a tough year to have a leadership role in the Republican Party. Many would not be shocked if the speaker decided to retire this particular cap.
[The Hill] [Washington Post] [Raw Story] [Roll Call] [Photo courtesy Jeff Malet via PBS]