House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) was reelected to his second term, when legislators in the full House of Representatives backed him on Tuesday over Democratic rival Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), by 239 votes to her 189 votes.
“It’s no secret that millions of Americans across the country are deeply dissatisfied with their current situation,” the speaker said upon his election.
“They’ve looked to Washington for leadership, and all they’ve gotten is condescension. For years, they’ve suffered quietly—amid shuttered factories and shattered lives,” he said. “But now they’ve let out a great roar. Now, we, their elected representatives, must listen.”
Renewing his practice during the 2016 presidential campaign, Ryan did not speak President-elect Donald Trump’s name in his remarks, instead referring only to “a new president” whose election offers the country a new beginning.
In addressing his Republican majority, the Speaker told them: “The people have given us unified government. And it wasn’t because they were feeling generous. It’s because they wanted results. How could we live with ourselves if we let them down? How could we let ourselves down?”
Ryan’s election comes after more than four years of turmoil inside the House Republican Conference as the GOP leadership worked with President Barack Obama and Democrats to block conservatives and the conservative agenda.
In Tuesday’s vote, the speaker suffered only one Republican defection when Rep. Thomas Massie (R.-Ky.) rose during the roll call to proclaim: “Drain the swamp, Daniel Webster.”
The MIT PhD was referring to the Florida congressman, not the 19th century senator and erstwhile candidate for president. In the fall of 2015, as Speaker John A. Boehner (R.-Ohio) resigned and conservatives scrambled for a replacement, Webster was the man most conservatives agreed upon–until, Ryan stepped forward and took the gavel for the first time on Oct. 29, 2015.
Americans vote for change and Congress votes for Paul Ryan?
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) January 3, 2017
Pelosi suffered four defections with two of those votes going to Rep. Timothy J. Ryan (D.-Ohio). This Ryan, not that Ryan, is the man, who took on Pelosi at the Nov. 30 meeting of the Democratic House Caucus, losing 134-to-63. There was speculation that Ryan loyalists would make of show of force, but that never gained center mass. As the roll was called, the Ryan of Ohio stood in the back Democratic side of the chamber chatting and joking with three of his Massachusetts allies, representatives Stephen F. Lynch, Michael E. Capuano and Richard E. Neal.