This week marked a significant turning point in Congress as Paul Ryan was elected to be the new Speaker of the House. Of course, outside of his service in Congress, Paul Ryan is best known as Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election. He has spent this year as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and was previously Chairman of the Budget Committee, both important positions with considerable influence on fiscal policy. He has been a leading voice for supply-side, conservative economics for years, and his “Path to Prosperity” budgets, though never passed by the Senate, were the blueprint of Republicans’ vision for conservative governing.
When former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced he would retire at the end of September, it was unclear who would ultimately emerge to lead the House of Representatives. I’m a conservative, so I wanted a bold leader who could unite Republicans and advance a conservative agenda. Paul Ryan is uniquely qualified for such a task, and when he stepped forward for consideration, I was proud to support him.
I sincerely hope Speaker Ryan will be able to lay out a path to success despite a tough political environment. The Senate is still badly gridlocked, and even when we do get a conservative bill through, President Obama stands ready with his veto pen. Those realities don’t change, but I believe a united majority working together in the House puts us in a much stronger position to advance good bills and stop bad ones.
New leadership is a good thing sometimes. I was encouraged to hear Speaker Ryan say the House would return to “regular order,” meaning legislation is put forth from Members and Committees instead of being pushed from the very top. As he said upon taking the oath of office, “Only a fully functioning House can truly represent the people.”
However, this change in leadership doesn’t mean everyone is going to suddenly start agreeing on every issue, every time. There are 435 Members of Congress from all over the country and our views are bound to vary. What’s important is to have a Speaker of the House who will listen to each Member, consider our concerns and priorities, and keep the commitments he makes to us and the American people.
No matter who is Speaker, my job is to look out for the interests of those I represent and to fight on their behalf in Washington. Your priorities remain my priorities, and I’m proud to represent you in Congress.
There’s lot of work to do. As we turn the page and begin a new chapter in Congress, I look forward to working with Speaker Ryan and my other colleagues to move America ahead by advancing responsible, conservative, common sense ideas.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. She is currently serving her third term.