Since we reported on Rep Mark Amodei of Nevada’s confirmation that House Speaker Paul Ryan would be leaving the halls of Congress “sometime in the next 30 to 60 days,” only 16 days have actually passed.
At the time of that report, Ryan was coy about the rumors, and calls to his office by New Century Times were met with the same response that mainstream media outlets were reporting — a standard “no comment on that at this time.”
Amodei appears to have had his ear to the grapevine more than most, however, as Paul Ryan announced this morning that he would, in fact, be resigning from Congress at the end of his current term, which of course is up in January — the 116th Congress will be chosen in November, but do not take office until after the new year begins.
The move is not unexpected, as Ryan has had a worse relationship with both the larger public outside his Congressional District and a worse relationship with the President than many Republicans in the House who have simply been more skilled at — I believe the technical term is — kissing ass.
The news couldn’t be more welcome for Ryan’s would-be opponent, Randy Bryce, a former ironworker who is running for Ryan’s seat in Congress representing Wisconsin — a seat that Paul Ryan had held for nearly 20 years before making this decision, but which was in very real danger even without the choice to step down; Bryce had been out-raising Ryan by millions so far this campaign season, even with the Speaker’s longtime connections to high-profile donors.
Ryan’s communications director, Brendan Buck, issued a statement early Wednesday:
“This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January. After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father. While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him. He will discuss his decision at a press conference immediately following the member meeting.”
The decision comes on the heels of not just denying the rumors of his departure, but a very highly publicized assurance to Donald Trump that he would not be stepping down. In December, Trump publicly told Ryan that he would be “very unhappy” if he left Congress after a string of reports emerged that the Speaker was considering an exit.
At the time, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders scoffed at the rumors, playing up the confidential relationship between Trump and Ryan:
“The president did speak to the speaker not too long ago and made sure that the speaker knew very clearly — and in no uncertain terms — that if that news was true, he was very unhappy with it. The speaker assured the president that those were not accurate reports and that they look forward to working together for a long time to come.”
Most believe this signals the end of Republican control of the House of Representatives, and that it will likely help the fundraising efforts of Mitch McConnell, as the Senate will be seen as a sort of “last bastion” for the GOP with a faltering president and a House in Democratic hands. The Senate, however, is held by only the slimmest majority, and there are already signs that the “Blue Wave” will hit the Senate’s shore just as hard as the House.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery