Paul Ryan’s plan to retire as speaker of the House following the 2018 midterm elections is likely because of disputes with President Donald Trump, who signed into law a $1.3 trillion spending bill in March, despite outcries from staunch fiscal conservatives.
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“I think he’s very frustrated in dealing with the president,” Howard Kurtz, author of “Media Madness”, told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney. “Because Paul Ryan is a doctrinaire conservative who would like to have a smaller government, and the president reluctantly threatened to veto, but just signed that gargantuan spending bill.”
Ryan, who came into the national limelight as the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, reluctantly replaced Ohio Republican John Boehner as speaker of the House in October 2015 after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) failed to notch up the necessary number of votes. Likely contenders to replace Ryan included House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and McCarthy.
Now, Ryan’s resignation could signal trouble ahead for Republicans, who already faced significant -- and surprising -- losses in 2017 elections, even in deep-red Alabama. That’s in part because of an emerging divide between Republicans, who are split between those who favor regulation rollbacks, spending cuts and smaller government, and those who don’t, like Trump.
“What this really speak to is, can anybody be a successful speaker of the House with this GOP majority?” Kurtz said. “Boehner was frustrated and quit. Ryan was frustrated and quit.”
Ryan plans to serve out his full term, “run through the tape” and retire in January, according to a statement from his office. And during a press conference on Wednesday, he cited the overhaul of the tax code as one of his greatest accomplishments, but said he needed to resign in order to spend more time with his children.
“Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question,” the president wrote on Twitter. “We are with you Paul!”