A new report indicates that House Speaker Paul Ryan is strongly considering retirement after the 2018 midterm elections come to an end.
Politico released a profile on Ryan which explored his thoughts about the current push for tax reform, as well as his interest in reducing entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. However, the piece also states that Ryan has been talking about his future with numerous associates, and it seems highly unlikely that he will stay in Washington beyond his current term as House Speaker.
Ryan was tiring of D.C. even before reluctantly accepting the speakership. He told his predecessor, John Boehner, that it would be his last job in politics—and that it wasn’t a long-term proposition. In the months following Trump’s victory, he began contemplating the scenarios of his departure. More recently, over closely held conversations with his kitchen cabinet, Ryan’s preference has become clear: He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress. This would give Ryan a final legislative year to chase his second white whale, entitlement reform, while using his unrivaled fundraising prowess to help protect the House majority—all with the benefit of averting an ugly internecine power struggle during election season. Ryan has never loved the job; he oozes aggravation when discussing intra-party debates over “micro-tactics,” and friends say he feels like he’s running a daycare center. On a personal level, going home at the end of next year would allow Ryan, who turns 48 next month, to keep promises to family; his three children are in or entering their teenage years, and Ryan, whose father died at 55, wants desperately to live at home with them full-time before they begin flying the nest. The best part of this scenario, people close to the speaker emphasize: He wouldn’t have to share the ballot with Trump again in 2020.
Ryan briefly told reporters today that he was not conidering retirement, though it’s possible that that statement was a means of maintaining his political capital as he continues to lead the congressional GOP in debates on government spending, health care subsidies, and other major bills.
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