Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) moves one step closer to becoming the next House speaker, winning his party’s closed-door nomination for the top Congressional position Wednesday afternoon.
Ryan, the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee in 2012 and the current chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, won the nomination the secret-ballot defeating rival Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida. Ryan received 200 votes compared to Webster’s 43.
Next up, an official vote will take place Thursday morning on the House floor, where the House Ways and Means Committee chairman needs to secure a required 218 votes to replace retiring speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), who is scheduled to leave Congress Friday.
Pending tomorrow’s vote, the 45-year-old will be the youngest House speaker since Rep. James Blaine (R-ME) when he was speaker in 1869, at age 39.
Last week, Ryan wrote a letter to his GOP colleagues announcing his run for speaker. Read his full letter below:
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about our country, and it’s clear to me that we’re in a very serious moment. Working families continue to fall behind, and they are losing faith in the American Idea: the belief that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead. At the same time, a weaker America has led to a more dangerous world. Our friends and rivals alike wonder whether we will pull ourselves out of this stupor.
Instead of rising to the occasion, Washington is falling short—including the House of Representatives. We are not solving the country’s problems; we are only adding to them.
But now, we have an opportunity to turn the page, to start with a clean slate, and to rebuild what has been lost. We can make the House a more open and inclusive body—one where every member can contribute to the legislative process. We can rally House Republicans around a bold agenda that will tackle the country’s problems head on. And we can show the country what a commonsense conservative agenda looks like.
That’s why I’m actually excited for this moment. I’ve spoken with many of you over the past few days, and I can sense the hunger in our conference to get to work. I know many of you want to show the country how to fix our tax code, how to rebuild our military, how to strengthen the safety net, and how to lift people out of poverty. I know you’re willing to work hard and get it done, and I think this moment is ripe for real reform.
That’s because, whatever our differences, we’re all conservatives. We were elected to defend the constitution. We share the same principles. We all believe America is the land of opportunity—the place where you should be able to go as far as your talents and hard work will take you. We all believe in empowering every person to realize his or her potential. And we have the know-how to apply these principles to the problems of today.
I never thought I’d be speaker. But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve—I would go all in. After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as a one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker.
This is just the beginning of our work. There is a long road ahead. So let’s get started.