What does a Congress look like without Paul Ryan?
Not long ago I wrote an article defending Speaker of the House Paul Ryan against all of the ire and hatred directed his way from both sides of the isle during his time as House Speaker. In the past month reports that Paul Ryan would step down as Speaker of the House after the 2018 midterm elections surfaced. This came as a shock to many pundits, especially after the biggest win of Paul Ryan’s political career: passing landmark tax reform.
This leaves one huge question surrounding the biggest job on Capitol Hill in a midterm election year: Who will take over the job of Speaker of the House? Interestingly enough there are very few Constitutional requirements to be the Speaker of the House. The Speaker does not even have to be a member of the House of Representatives or an elected official of any sort. The Speaker of the House is simply chosen through vote of Representatives of the Majority party in the House. That being said, every Speaker of the House in our history to this point has been an elected member of the House of Representatives.
There are no clear frontrunners as of yet, however, there are many prominent GOP voices on Capitol Hill that could certainly be up to the task. One such prominent voice is Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District. Congressman Gowdy is Chairman of the House Oversight Committee and was one of, if not the leading voice during the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Gowdy persistently sought answers from the Clinton team on their questionable actions during Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. Gowdy has also voiced concerns with the handling of the Russia Investigation, and criticized the way in which some Democratic officials seem to be jumping to bold conclusions even as Bob Mueller has yet to provide substantial evidence of collusion between President Trump and the Russian Government. This would make Gowdy a popular choice among many in the GOP due to his vocal disdain for Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration, a trait he shares with Paul Ryan.
“The Speaker does not even have to be a member of the House of Representatives or an elected official of any sort.”
Another prominent Republican member of the House, who also happens to be on the Oversight Committee and has made his voice heard in recent months, Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio’s 4th Congressional District. He has been an outspoken critic of the Russia Investigation due to its lack of any substantive evidence regarding the President. He also noted during House Oversight Committee hearings the fact that the Russia Investigation has also uncovered a lot about Hillary Clinton’s dealings with the Russian government during her time as Secretary of State. Jordan even called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step down due to his recusing himself from the investigation. President Trump was also a vocal critic of this move, although he never went as far as to remove him or ask him to step down. This shared distaste for the Russia Investigation, and Jordan’s support for Trump shows it would be easy for these two to get along if Jordan were to rise to Speaker of the House.
One of the slightly more likely choices for the job would be House Majority Whip, Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District. Steve Scalise was in the news over the summer when he was shot and seriously injured at a Congressional softball practice near Washington D.C. Thanks to the brave D.C. police officers that shot the gunman, and by the glory of God, Scalise survived his injuries and a few months ago returned to work at Capitol Hill.
Scalise mirror’s his friend, current Speaker Paul Ryan, on many hot button issues such as healthcare, tax reform, and their shared vocal pro-life stance. Steve Scalise rising to the job of Speaker of the House would be a heart-warming story of perseverance for a man who stared death in the face and through sheer will — along with help from the Almighty — survived. Steve Scalise would be a strong choice for establishment conservatives hoping to grow the conservative movement while keeping President Trump in check.
It has not been confirmed by Paul Ryan that he is indeed stepping down, however, there is no reason to believe the reports are false. Despite the public’s apparent hatred for Ryan, he is without a doubt one of the most popular figures among the top brass of his party in recent history. The Representatives I have profiled here are only the surface of the many outspoken leaders the GOP has waiting to take the job should Ryan call it quits in 2018. This news adds even more uncertainty to an already unclear future for the GOP.
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