Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
Since Doug Jones’ improbable victory in the Alabama special Senate Election, Democrat Randy Bryce (aka the “Iron Stache“) claims he has raised tens of thousands of dollars for his congressional campaign in Wisconsin. But if the GOP succeeds in ramming through its regressive and hugely unpopular tax bill before December 27, when Jones is scheduled to assume office, Bryce may not be running against the Speaker of the House.
According to a new report, Republican lawmakers believe Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) might “step aside” if and when Donald Trump signs the Tax Cuts and Job Act into law. As one member of the House Freedom Caucus observes, it could be a “Boehner-meeting-the-Pope moment.” (John Boehner resigned as speaker of the House after watching Pope Francis deliver a joint address to Congress in 2015.) A devotee of the objectivist Ayn Rand, Ryan has made it his life’s work to dismantle the so-called welfare state.
Citing multiple anonymous sources, HuffPost’s Matt Fuller reveals that Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election, has never enjoyed the responsibilities of House Speaker, and that he’s only grown more disenchanted with the job since Trump was elected president.
“The speculation over Ryan’s next move has particularly intensified as Republicans negotiate spending deals with Democrats,” he writes. “Ryan has repeatedly pushed off the possibility that a legislative solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program will be attached to a government spending agreement, but conservatives are worried Republicans could finish their tax bill, have the speaker announce his retirement and then watch Ryan do the same kind of ‘barn cleaning‘ that Boehner did at the end of his speakership.”
Does this mean Ryan is plotting a run for higher office? His fellow Republicans remain circumspect.
“It’s unclear whether Ryan has any further political aspirations beyond this job,” Fuller continues, “but some Republicans think Ryan would be served well by offering himself as a sacrifice for the completion of an immigration deal, particularly if Ryan’s political aspirations are far off in the future. (Or if he doesn’t have any future political aspirations.)”
Update: A separate report from Politico adds that, “In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker—fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists—not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.”
Jacob Sugarman is a managing editor at AlterNet.