House Speaker Paul Ryan revealed at a press conference that he will retire at the end of the congressional term, saying that this “year will be my last as a member of the House.”
Reports suggested on early Wednesday morning that the speaker expresses concern about the GOP losing the House in the 2018 midterm election and he does not want to serve as the minority leader.
Speaker Ryan said, “You realize when you take this job you realize that only take this job for a small part of our history, so you better make the most of it. It’s fleeting. That inspires you to do big things.”
Ryan noted that he “did not want this job.”
The outgoing speaker then admitted that the tough work as the speaker took over his personal life.
“It’s easy for it to take over everything in your life. Namely your time as a husband and a dad,” Ryan suggested, arguing that he hopes to spend more time with his family.
“I’m confident that we don’t want the gridlock that would come with the Democrats in power,” Ryan said, arguing that the American people would not vote to make the Democrats the House majority in the 2018 midterms.
Speaker Ryan touted his legislative victories as leader of the House, namely tax cuts and increased funding for the military. Ryan argued:
I am really proud of what we have been able to do. We passed the first major reform of our tax code for the first time in 36 years, which has already been a huge success for our country. Second, is to rebuild our nation’s military. This will make our country more prosperous and more secure.
“I think we have achieved a heck of a lot,” Ryan added.
Ryan also suggested that he intends to finish his full term as a member of the House and will not retire early.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said in a statement on Wednesday:
Paul is one of my best friends. He has fearlessly led this conference and championed ideas that are moving this country forward. We enacted generational tax reform, we are rebuilding our military, and we passed historic legislation to protect the lives of the most vulnerable. Paul’s leadership has pulled each of these and countless other victories across the finish line.
Obviously, today is a sad day for me personally and for our conference, but Paul’s selfless leadership has put our conference and our country in a better place. There is more work to do this year, and we will do it together as a team. We will continue to carry the flag we carried as Young Guns, fighting every day to earn the support of the American people and continue to make our country stronger.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) suggested that Ryan may not be able to continue serving as Speaker on Wednesday.
Meadows told reporters, “Everyone will start jockeying for position immediately. They won’t wait for nine months.”
Speaker Paul also passed an Obamacare repeal bill through the House last May, a bill known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Conservatives chided the original version of the bill, labeling the bill, “RyanCare,” or “Obamacare-Lite.” A revised AHCA passed through the House with the help of Meadows and former Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ).
Politico alleged that McCarthy and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) will vie to become the next speaker. Both members have a good report with President Donald Trump.