Paul Ryan won't run for Speaker

Paul Ryan won't run for Speaker
© Francis Rivera

Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE, the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2012, won't be running to succeed John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE as Speaker.

Ryan, currently the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, had a succinct, one-word answer when asked if he wanted to succeed Boehner, following the Speaker’s stunning resignation on Friday morning: “No.”


Asked why, the Wisconsin Republican said “Because I don't want to be Speaker.”

Ryan is close with the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who several House Republicans have suggested is in line to take over the Speaker’s chair.

The Wisconsin Republican remains a favorite of conservatives and has broad support within the GOP conference.

More than a few House Republicans have openly wished that Ryan would eventually seek the Speaker’s role. But because he still has a young family, Ryan’s Republican colleagues have also questioned whether he would want the Speaker's chair, because of all the travel and fundraising involved. 

“This is a job for an empty nester,” Ryan told reporters on Friday.

Ryan also declined to run for president earlier this year, saying he wanted to give his “undivided attention” to being Ways and Means chairman.

He had long had his eye on the Ways and Means gavel, which has key influence over taxes, healthcare, trade, welfare programs and a host of other key fiscal matters. 

The committee is currently seeking to tie a revamp of international tax rules for businesses to a long-term plan to finance highway projects. Already this year, Ryan has also played a key role in shepherding major bills to pave the way for trade deals and to end the so-called Medicare “doc fix” through the House.

One of his other goals remains overhauling the nation’s welfare laws, as Republicans seek to fight the reputation that they’re the party of the wealthy.

In a statement Friday, Ryan also praised Boehner for being “a great leader of the Republican Party and the House of Representatives.”

“This was an act of pure selflessness. John's decades of service have helped move our country forward, and I deeply value his friendship,” Ryan added. “We will miss John, and I am confident our conference will elect leaders who are capable of meeting the challenges our nation faces.” 

Sarah Ferris contributed.