Washington, D.C., USA: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), 48, announced, Wednesday, that he will retire at the end of this Congress, which ends in January. Ryan said during a news conference that he will serve out his term and retire from Congress in January.
“If I am here for one more term my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad. I just can’t let that happen. So I will be setting new priorities in my life,” Ryan said.
Ryan also touted the GOP tax cuts passed in December as his top accomplishment as Speaker.
“The two biggest achievements for me are first, the major reform of our tax code for the first time in 36 years … Second, something I got much, much more invested on since becoming Speaker, is to rebuild our nation’s military,” he said.
Ryan announced his pending retirement just two days after the Congressional Budget Office released this statement on the tax bill:
“The CBO today forecasts the budget deficit — the amount Congress spends in excess of what it takes in from tax revenues — for 2018 will be $804 billion, will once again cross the $1 trillion threshold starting in 2020 and will continue to climb through 2028 with no end in sight,”
Ryan told House Republicans of his decision at a conference meeting on Wednesday morning in the Capitol’s basement. Ryan told colleagues that he came to Congress single and now has three teenagers who have only known him as a “weekend dad” their entire lives.
He said he would “run through the tape” and work hard until his term ends in January. But he added that he wanted to spend more time with his family.
The speaker’s office also released the following statement early Wednesday morning:
“This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January. After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father. While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him. He will discuss his decision at a press conference immediately following the member meeting.” –Brendan Buck, Counselor to the Speaker
President Trump hailed Ryan as a “truly good man” in a tweet about his retirement. The president said Ryan would “leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question.”
Many speculated that Ryan would depart political office after helping successfully champion a rewrite of the U.S. tax code.
On spending, passage of the $1.3 trillion omnibus last month upset many House conservatives, who saw the package as a betrayal of GOP principles to reduce spending.
Ryan joins a growing list of Republican House members who are stepping away from Congress. More than 30 Republicans in the House and Senate have announced that they plan to leave Congress by the beginning of 2019.
Ryan’s retirement comes as the GOP faces a possible loss of its majority this fall. Democrats need to gain 23 seats to win back the majority, a goal that appears within reach.
Ryan’s decision will also trigger a leadership race that had already started amid the speculation that this could be his final year as Speaker.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) are both seen as potential Speakers-in-waiting — or minority leaders if Republicans lose the House majority.
Ryan became Speaker in 2015 after former Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) retirement. He was a consensus choice after McCarthy dropped a bid for the speaker-ship.