Ryan elected as new Speaker, eager to mend wounds
Splintered House Republicans elected Paul Ryan to be the chamber's 54th speaker yesterday, turning to the youthful but battle-tested Wisconsin lawmaker to mend the party's self-inflicted wounds and craft a conservative message to woo voters in next year's elections.
"The House is broken," Ryan said in his first remarks to the chamber, seemingly referring as much to a GOP civil war between hard-liners and pragmatists as to the House's usual partisan divisions. "We are not settling scores. We are wiping the slate clean."
In a slow-moving roll call that mixed politics with pageantry, 236 Republicans called out Ryan's name as their pick for the job. That put him second in line to the presidency and atop a chamber that has been awash in tumult ever since defiant conservatives hounded Republican John Boehner, into announcing his resignation from that post last month.
Just nine hard-line conservatives voted against Ryan, instead backing little-known Republican Daniel Webster, Most, including members of the rebellious House Freedom Caucus, backed Ryan, though it was clear that future tensions between them and the chamber's new leader could not be dismissed. Conservatives have demanded changes in how the chamber operates, including a greater voice for rank-and-file lawmakers in shaping legislation and deciding who will chair committees.
"If you have ideas, let's hear them," Ryan said in message that seemed aimed at those unruly conservatives. "A greater clarity between us can lead to a greater charity among us."