Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has set his sights on a much more powerful job than just being the president of the United States of America, according to Vox
Earlier this week, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee announced that he had no intention of running for the White House, saying: "After giving it a lot of thought, I've decided not to run for president."
Ryan said that his work on the House Ways and Means Committee over the next few years will be "crucial to moving America forward, and my job as chairman deserves undivided attention."
He added: "I think we've got a number of very capable candidates
who have every ability to become president. I think it is critical that our party puts forward bold, conservative ideas and give people a choice."
Vox editor-in-chief Ezra Klein says that the decision by Ryan to pull himself out of the 2016 race shows that he "understands something most ambitious politicians don't — the real power in American politics resides in Congress, not in the presidency."
He continued: "People say the president has the power to set the agenda, and it's true. But presidents only set agendas they think Congress might pass, or at least consider. The president leads, but only where he thinks Congress will follow.
"It's Congress that writes bills and Congress that passes them. It's Congress that can spend money and declare war. Congress, with a sufficient majority, could govern aggressively without the president's cooperation — they simply need to overturn his vetoes.
"Conversely, there's little the president can do without congressional cooperation. When the president proposes an agenda that Congress refuses to consider then, like the tree in the forest, no one really cares whether it makes a sound."
Klein noted that instead of being the team captain, Ryan aspires to be the player on the field that everyone can depend on.
“He wants to be the guy preparing the legislation the next Republican president will sign into law,” Klein said.
As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan set "the basic agenda" that the next Republican president would follow, but didn't have much control over the process.
But as chairman of the "vastly more powerful" House Ways and Means Committee, Klein said that Ryan has control "over the process that will produce the key bills, as well."
His new position, Klein said, "instantly makes Ryan the most powerful Republican in the country when it comes to the party's policy direction, particularly on economic and domestic policy."
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