Paul Ryan expected to be re-elected as House speaker Tuesday
WASHINGTON– Paul Ryan is expected to be easily re-elected Tuesday as speaker of the House, kicking off the new Congress and marking a quiet end following a year that saw both parties questioning their congressional leadership.
Democratic California Rep. Nancy Pelosi is also expected to maintain her post as minority leader.
Ryan was re-elected by the House Republican conference in November to serve a second term as speaker of the House. And after a tumultuous first year in the top leadership spot — a job he was elected to after then-Speaker John Boehner abruptly resigned — Ryan clashed with both conservatives on the right of the conference and with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
But a lot has changed since then. Trump’s 2016 election win helped unite the Republican Party while Democrats are still trying to figure what went wrong.
On Tuesday, Ryan will need to secure a simple majority of the House members who show up to vote to win his first full two-year term as speaker. That means if all 435 lawmakers are present, Ryan needs at least 218 votes.
Last October, 10 House Republicans didn’t vote for Ryan when the entire House took a roll call vote for the speaker. Instead, most voted for longshot Republican Florida Rep. Daniel Webster.
Republican House members typically vote for the person their conference already elected — Ryan was elected in vote after the election. Some of the 10 Republicans who broke from voting for him are still around.
And Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus will try to keep Ryan focused on what they view as conservative priorities. Anyone who breaks with him this time around is sending a message about what they want from the future of the Republican Party.
Across the aisle, the Democrats might end up showcasing more inter-party disagreement at Tuesday’s vote than the Republicans.
In November, Pelosi defeated Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan to retain her post as the top elected Democrat in the House during a closed-door meeting.
The final vote was 134-to-63 for Pelosi, meaning she matched her prediction that she’d retain the support of two-thirds of House Democrats. But it also meant that close to one-third of the diminished group voted for a change in leadership after getting beat again on Election Day.
The Democratic caucus vote, however, was secret ballot, whereas Tuesday’s vote is public, meaning there could be more political consequences for publicly opposing Pelosi, who’s expected to retain her seat.
The vote is scheduled to take place when Congress returns to office Tuesday.