USA TODAY US Edition
Ryan will run for speaker if GOP unites
He worries job will cut into time with kids
House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan indicated Tuesday that he would run for speaker of the House — provided he gets the endorsement of all GOP factions.
The conditional decision leaves some doubt as to whether Ryan, who is widely respected among House Republicans, will succeed Speaker John Boehner, R- Ohio, when he steps down. Ryan said he expects a response from the House GOP by Friday.
“We as a conference should unify now,” Ryan told reporters after a closed-door session with the House GOP. “What I told members is if you can agree to these requests and if I can truly be a unifying figure, then I will gladly serve, and if I am not unifying, that is fine as well — I will be happy to stay where I am.”
Ryan said his greatest concern is that taking the job will interfere with his responsibilities to his children. He said he told his colleagues he would not travel as much as prior speakers have because he needs to be home with his children.
But he also said he did not want to someday have to explain to his children why he refused to serve when his party and country needed leadership.
“My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up,” Ryan said, “of someday having my own kids ask me, ‘When the stakes were so high, why didn’t you do all you could do?’ ”
Minutes earlier, Brendan Buck, communication director for the House Ways and Means Committee, said Ryan won’t run unless he can be a solidifying force to the GOP.
“If the members agree with (Ryan’s) requests and share his vision, and if he is a unity candidate — with the endorsement of all the conference’s major caucuses — then he will serve as speaker. He will be all in,” Buck said.
Ryan “believes that for the next speaker to be successful, we need to unify now. Unless the speaker is a unifying figure across the conference, he or she will face the same challenges that have beset our current leadership,” Buck said.
Boehner is stepping down in part because a group of about 40 House conservatives threatened to call a no-confidence vote on his speakership. Though Boehner said he was certain he would win the vote, he announced he would retire to spare his members having to cast that difficult vote.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was favored to succeed Boehner, but he withdrew Oct. 8 when it became clear the conservative wing — represented by the House Freedom Caucus — would not support him.
“My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up.”
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.