Ryan will return as House Speaker; Republican leadership takes shape

Reelected unanimously as House Speaker on Tuesday, Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan emerged from the GOP’s weekly closed-door meeting brimming with optimism for the 115th Congress, Donald Trump’s election and the appointment of Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff.

“Welcome to the dawn of a new, unified Republican government.  This will be a government focused on turning President-elect Trump’s victory into real progress for the American people,” Ryan told reporters.

Ryan and Priebus’ friendship dates back over 15 years to Ryan’s early tenure in the House and Priebus’ role as head of the Wisconsin Republican Party.

Similar to Ryan’s reelection as Speaker, the House Republican Conference elected Ohio’s Steve Stivers to the post of chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, besting Texas’ Roger Williams 143–96.

In the race for House Conference vice-chair, Georgia’s Doug Collins defeated Bill Flores of Texas to succeed Kansas’ Lynn Jenkins.  In the race to take over the Conference Secretary post, Jason Smith of Missouri was elected by voice vote.

“What we’re looking for is communication between our members — how they go to the floor, how we actually take the debate and the argument to the Democrats on the floor,” said Collins, who represents Georgia’s northeastern ninth district.

Collins’ stated goal is to expand the House Republican majority in 2018 by electing conservative members in so-called swing districts.

Despite new faces in second-tier leadership positions, the four top leadership posts went as expected:   California’s Kevin McCarthy will return as Majority Leader, Louisiana’s Steve Scalise as Majority Whip, Washington state’s Cathy McMorris Rogers as House Conference chair and Luke Messer will be given a second term as GOP Policy Committee chair.

 

[Roll Call] [Bloomberg] [Photo courtesy biography.com]