WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Tuesday that he’s not leaving his job “anytime soon,” minutes after getting a standing ovation from colleagues when he told them the same thing.
Ryan’s status has been the subject of speculation since reports last week that he’s discussed leaving Congress after his current two-year term, or even after the Republican tax bill is approved.
The tax measure’s passage, expected Tuesday, would mark a long-time goal of the Wisconsin Republican. But he faces the difficult task of reaching compromises with Democrats on the budget and immigration that could anger conservatives, and 2018 elections in which the GOP’s House majority is at risk.
“I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, and just let’s leave that thing at that,” Ryan said when asked if he’d seek re-election to his House seat next year.
Ryan said he felt compelled to tell his colleagues about his plans because of reporting that he called “very irresponsible” and “faulty speculation.”
In a closed-door meeting with GOP lawmakers, Ryan said that it made no sense to leave “when we’re winning and have the momentum,” according to Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. He and others said Republicans responded with applause and a standing ovation.
Ryan reluctantly assumed the House’s top job in 2015 after then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, resigned under pressure from party conservatives. Ryan, 47, was first elected in 1998.