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Paul D. Ryan (R-WI)

It now appears that Wisconsin Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R) will become the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives after a supermajority of members of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus voted for Ryan in a session Wednesday evening, Oct. 21.

Shortly after current Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH) announced last month that he would not seek to retain his position, attention began to focus on Ryan, the former vice-presidential candidate.


Ryan, 45, is known as a strong fiscal policy expert. He is currently chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and former chair of the House Budget Committee.

Until this week Ryan had shied away from seeking the Speaker position, insisting that he already had his dream job of chairing the Ways and Means Committee. Many understood his reluctance as a recognition that the very conservative element in the Republican party did not feel that Ryan was a member of their fold.

On Tuesday, Ryan said he might accept the speakership position if the party united behind him and if it accepted several conditions, one of which was to remove the procedure known as “vacate the chair” which is essentially a no-confidence vote, with teeth, that takes place within two days of the motion being initiated.

While members of the House Freedom Caucus had balked at some of Ryan’s conditions, by Wednesday evening enough had become convinced that Ryan was the right person to assume the role of Speaker.

It is expected that Ryan will be selected as the Republican choice for Speaker of the House by next Wednesday, and a floor vote confirming his position should take place the following day.


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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email:
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