Paul Ryan: I Don't Want to Be House Speaker

Image: Paul Ryan: I Don't Want to Be House Speaker

Friday, 24 Jan 2014 07:20 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has declared that he is not interested in becoming House Speaker, which will shake up the Republican Party leadership, Politico reports.

At a luncheon in a San Antonio, Texas, hotel, the Wisconsin congressman was asked: "Does Paul Ryan want to be Speaker?” And he quickly replied, "No, he doesn't."

He noted that when he became Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012 that he and his wife Janna were likely to "see each other more in the vice presidency than as a member of the House." But he added, "We would see each other less in the speakership than as a member of the House.”

Ryan, who is seen as a contender for the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, said that he could have "decided to go on the elected leadership route years ago."

However, he went on, "I’m more of a policy person. I prefer spending my days on policy and my weekends at home with my family. My weekends consist of going to the YMCA for basketball, and then one of their neighborhood parishes for basketball these days. I want to keep doing that.

"The speaker is expected to fly around the country on weekends as well, helping folks. I’m not going to do that. I’m four days a week in D.C. and three days a week in Janesville (Wis.). It’s a good mix, I like that mix."

Although House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia is believed to have his heart set on taking over as speaker from John Boehner, a large contingent of Republicans lawmakers quietly hopes that Ryan will pick up the gavel, says Politico.

Ryan also told the luncheon, sponsored by local chambers of commerce and the nonprofit news organization the Texas Tribune, that he had not decided whether he wanted to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, saying it was too early to make that decision.

And Ryan, who crafted the recent two-year bipartisan budget deal with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash.,  has not made up his mind whether he will thrown his hat into the ring for a presidential run in 2016, saying he's keeping his "options open," according to Politico.

"I don’t know the answer to that question," said Ryan. "I feel like I have an important job to do as leader in the House. We’re in the majority right now. I’m going to focus on that." But he added that "after this session," he might consider a White House run.

Asked whether he'd run if Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also decided to seek the presidency, Ryan said they would "work something out."

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