Rampant rumors suggest Paul Ryan will resign as Speaker after the 2018 midterms

By —— Bio and Archives--December 14, 2017

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Rampant rumors suggest Paul Ryan will resign as Speaker after the 2018 midterms
This will make some conservatives very happy and others, not so much.  Personally, I’m of the opinion that Mitch McConnell has been much more of a problem than Ryan - but I get where some of the disdain on the right is coming from. Regardless, the rumor mill has shifted into high gear - suggesting that we’re nearing the end of Paul Ryan’s tenure as Speaker and, possibly, his career in the House.

Yesterday, The Huffington Post ran a piece about widespread rumors that Paul Ryan is getting ready to walk away from his position as Speaker of the House.  According to the HuffPo, Ryan’s main goal was tax reform.  Once it passes (assuming it does) he intends to walk away.

“There’s a whole lot of rumors and speculation that the speaker may step aside,” one GOP member told HuffPost this week, a sentiment that was expressed by a number of Republicans who, perhaps tellingly, wouldn’t go on the record to speak about Ryan’s future.

The Wisconsin Republican has made no indication he’s quitting any time soon, but the possibility that Ryan finishes the tax bill and decides he no longer wants to continue in Congress has begun to loom over internal Republican conversations.

When the House Freedom Caucus gathered Monday night, members spent part of their meeting discussing a theory circulating on Capitol Hill and among the downtown Christmas parties that Ryan may believe he’s harpooned his personal white whale of tax reform and decide he’s finished.

You’ll recall that Ryan - publicly at least - never wanted the gig in the first place.  He was pressured into accepting it after John Boehner retired and, if you believe the scuttlebutt, has never enjoyed the job. So, this rumor made a fair bit of sense.

Then, today, The Politico threw a can of gas on the fire. They claim to have it on good authority that Ryan will leave Congress in 2018:

Despite several landmark legislative wins this year, and a better-than-expected relationship with President Donald Trump, Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. He consults a small crew of family, friends and staff for career advice, and is always cautious not to telegraph his political maneuvers.

But the expectation of his impending departure has escaped the hushed confines of Ryan’s inner circle and permeated the upper-most echelons of the GOP.

In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker—fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists—not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.

Again, given Ryan’s history, this is not particularly surprising.

Ryan’s office issued a non-denial-denial this afternoon that did little to lower the raised eyebrows:

Of course, no one is suggesting that Ryan won’t be working to advance a conservative agenda in 2018. They’re suggesting 2018 will be the last year he does so.

We’ll see what happens but, if you’re looking for tea leaves, I’d keep a close eye on statements Ryan makes after the passage (or non-passage) of tax reform this week.  If they have an “air of finality” about them, it’s a good bet that the rumors are true and he’ll start maneuvering toward the door.

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