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Ryan denies retirement reports

Ryan denies retirement reports
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBiden's relationship with top House Republican is frosty The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Budowsky: Liz Cheney vs. conservatives in name only MORE (R-Wis.) says he’s not quitting Congress anytime soon.

Asked at the end of his weekly press conference whether he was leaving Congress “soon,” Ryan chuckled and replied as he walked off the stage: “I’m not, no.”

Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Ryan — who this October marked his second year in the Speaker’s office — could resign from Congress shortly after passing his No. 1 legislative priority: tax reform.

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The House and Senate are expected to pass a final version of their historic tax-cuts bill next week, with President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE planning to sign it into law by Christmas Day.

In early November, a number of Ryan’s GOP colleagues told The Hill that the Speaker could pass tax reform and quickly quit Congress, choosing to go out on top with a victory rather than wait to be forced out like his predecessor, Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBipartisanship has become a partisan weapon The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez What's a party caucus chair worth? MORE (R-Ohio).

“There is certainly a school of thought that says ‘leave on a high note.’ And passage of tax reform would be a high note for a guy that’s spent 18 years in Congress working on it.” one GOP lawmaker close to Ryan told The Hill last month.

The rumors of Ryan’s possible departure kicked into high gear this week after HuffPost published a piece titled: “When will Paul Ryan step down?”

The story prompted a reporter Thursday to ask Ryan whether he planned to step down anytime soon.

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Later Thursday, Politico published a lengthy story detailing that the 47-year-old Speaker has told close confidants that he will retire after the 2018 midterm election. A native of Janesville, Wis., Ryan was first elected to the House in 1998, and went on to serve as chairman of the Ways and Means and Budget committees as well as Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate in 2012.

Right now, it’s unclear who could succeed Ryan if he decides to quit in the coming weeks or at the end of his term. There is no clear heir apparent.

But his top deputies — Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySunday shows - Cheney removal, CDC guidance reverberate Kinzinger: 'I would love to move on' from Trump but he is the leader of the GOP Cheney: I can't ignore Trump because he 'continues to be a real danger' MORE (R-Calif.), Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseMcCarthy dings Biden after meeting: Doesn't have 'energy of Donald Trump' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - What the CDC's updated mask guidance means Roy to challenge Stefanik for Cheney's old position MORE (R-La.) and GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersFive takeaways from new CDC guidance on going maskless GOP votes to replace Cheney with Stefanik after backing from Trump Stefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts MORE (R-Wash.) — all have been raising their profiles in recent weeks, positioning themselves to climb the leadership ladder once Ryan makes a call.

The chairman of two powerful conservative blocs — Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden to country: 'Turning peril into possibility' Budd to run for Senate in NC Former North Carolina chief justice launches Senate campaign MORE (R-N.C.) of the Republican Study Committee and Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBoehner finally calls it as he sees it Stephen Miller launching group to challenge Democrats' policies through lawsuits A year with the coronavirus: How we got here MORE (R-N.C.) of the Freedom Caucus — have been deeply involved in the health and tax bills and are key players to watch.