US House Speaker Won’t Seek Re-Election, In Blow To Republicans

 

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), (C), speaks to the media while flanked by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), (R), and House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise (R-LA) (L), after a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill, on March 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP

 

The most powerful Republican in the US Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan, says he will not seek re-election in November, in a blow to President Donald Trump’s party as it braces for a battle to keep its congressional majority.

Ryan, who is second in line to the presidency, said he would serve as speaker through the November elections and into early January, the end of his term.

“This is a job that does not last forever,” Ryan said, after he told the rank and file of his party that this year will be his last as a House member.

The 48-year-old Wisconsin Republican only assumed the House speakership in 2015. He took the role as an internal peacemaker after a conservative revolt ousted his predecessor John Boehner, and he never fully embraced Trump.

“You all know that I did not seek this job,” Ryan told reporters.

“I took it reluctantly, but I have given this job everything that I have, and I have no regrets whatsoever for having accepted this responsibility.”

He said his decision to retire was driven by a desire to spend more time with his family and not by the turmoil in the White House.

“What I realize is if I am here for one more term my kids will only have a weekend dad. I just can’t let that happen,” he said.

Tributes poured in from fellow Republicans including Trump, who called him “a truly good man.”

“While he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question. We are with you Paul!” the president tweeted.

Ryan, a fiscal conservative who ran for vice president in 2012 on Mitt Romney’s ticket, gave no hint of his future political ambitions.

Rumours for months

His most important legislative achievement as speaker was passage in December of a major tax overhaul that included steep cuts in corporate taxes.

But he has come up short in his years-long effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, the health care reforms passed into law under President Barack Obama.

Rumours about Ryan’s departure have swirled for months in Washington, where earlier this year the talk of his retirement grew so loud that the speaker publicly knocked down the reports.

But at the time he also said that, after 20 years in Congress, he would sit down with his wife this year to map out their future.

For his part Ryan insisted he was confident he was “leaving this majority in good hands with what I believe is a very bright future.”

But his departure, at a time of upheaval in the administration, only highlights the disarray within the Republican Party as it faces a crucial election test in just over six months.

The party, deeply fractured between conservatives and moderates, has been described as ungovernable. And Trump’s presidency has raised questions about the role of traditional conservatism in the Republican world.

Ryan’s announcement is certain to set off a major succession battle, but he insisted he did not think his departure would make it harder for other Republicans to hold their seats.

But it no doubt could have a deflating effect on Republican efforts to maintain their control of Congress.

Democrats are fighting to flip the House, a difficult prospect in any election year, but one which experts have described as increasingly possible.

The number two Republican, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, is a frontrunner for the speaker’s job should the party maintain its majority, but on Wednesday he divulged little about his plans.

‘Break free’

With the caucus deeply fractured — and conservatives certain to play a major role in deciding the next Republican leader — an intense competition will play out over who will become the party’s policy chief in the age of Trump.

Number three Republican Steve Scalise, a Louisiana conservative, has also reportedly signalled he has his eye on the speakership.

Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the US Senate, praised Ryan as “a good man who is always true to his word.”

He expressed hope that in his remaining time in Congress, Ryan would “break free from the hard-right factions of his caucus that have kept Congress from getting real things done,” and reach across the aisle to work with Democrats.

But there was also sniping from the Democratic side.

“With his retirement announcement, Speaker Paul Ryan becomes the first casualty of the 2018 midterm election,” tweeted House Democrat Gerry Connolly.

AFP

US House Speaker Holds Talks With Saudi King

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on January 24, 2018, shows Saudi King Salman (R) meting with US House Speaker Paul Ryan (3rd R) and his delagation in Riyadh.
BANDAR AL-JALOUD / Saudi Royal Palace / AFP

The speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan held talks with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh on Wednesday on the first leg of a Gulf tour.

They discussed “bilateral cooperation” between the longtime allies, the official Saudi Press Agency reported without elaborating.

Relations between Riyadh and Washington frayed under the administration of Barack Obama after the US joined other major powers in agreeing a landmark nuclear deal with the kingdom’s arch foe Iran in 2015.

But they have improved markedly since President Donald Trump took office last year with a much tougher policy towards Iran that has seen his administration demand revisions that the other parties to the deal warn will torpedo it.

On Thursday, Ryan is due to travel on to Abu Dhabi for talks with leaders of close Saudi ally the United Arab Emirates.

AFP

U.S. Speaker, Paul Ryan Distances Self From Trump

U.S. Speaker, Ryan Distances Self From TrumpSpeaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, has distanced himself from the campaign of Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

A source said the disclaimer was in reaction to the remarks Trump made about groping women which led to an outrage.

The source added on Monday that Ryan would not campaign with Trump in the run-up to the Nov. 8 elections.

The Speaker has vowed to focus on defending seats in Congress, but did not end his endorsement of the party’s nominee.

Donald Trump, US, Women
US Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump

The American billionaire had earlier apologised for the obscene comments he made about women in a newly released videotape from 2005.

In the video, Mr Trump said “You can do anything” to women “when you’re a star”.

In his statement, he stressed that the words do not reflect who he was.

Top Republicans had condemned the comments while his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton called them “horrific”.

More Republican Bigwigs Sever Ties With Trump

Donald Trump, US, Women
Mr. Trump insists he wont quit the race despite the backlash

A handful of top Republicans have shifted ground in their support for US presidential candidate Donald Trump after his remarks about women became public last week.

Since the comments became public, more than 12 Republican bigwigs have announced that they would not be voting for Mr Trump in November.

Mr Trump, who has apologized over his comments, however insists he will go ahead with his campaign, as he lashes out to some Republicans who advised him to withdraw from the race.

In the tape from 2005, Mr Trump is reportedly heard bragging about groping and kissing women.

Former Republican presidential candidate John McCain and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are the latest of such Republicans to withdraw their support.

Rice, Condoleeza, US, America, Elections, Republican, Party
Condoleezza Rice says it is enough from Trump, asking him to drop out of the race

Mr McCain said such comments “make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his (Trump) candidacy.”

While Ms Rice said: “Enough! Donald Trump should not be President. He should withdraw.”

The Republican Senator from New Hampshire, Senator Kelly Ayotte, in a statement she released after Mr Trump’s comments were published said, “I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women.”

The Senator however says she won’t vote for Hilary Clinton either.

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Paul Ryan who was initially supposed to host Mr Trump at a campaign event in Wisconsin this weekend, withdrew the invitation, saying he is “sickened” by what he heard.

The second TV debate between Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton will take place on Sunday evening (October 9) in St Louis.

Gun Control: US Democrats Occupy Congress

Gun Control, US CongressA mild drama has taken place at the U.S. Senate where democrats staged a sit-in on the floor of the lower house to demand tighter gun control.

This comes after a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people at the pulse nightclub in Orlando, in the deadliest shooting in modern US history.

Although the 16-hour sit-in at the US House of Representatives failed to force a vote on tougher laws, members of the centre-left Democratic Party said they will keep fighting for gun control

Unlike the Senate, there is no formal mechanism for lawmakers in the House to hold the floor indefinitely.

One congressman, John Lewis, told his colleagues to never give up.

“How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something? We were elected to lead, Mr Speaker,” Lewis said during the sit-in.

However, Republican speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, dismissed the protest as a publicity stunt.

“This bill was already defeated in the United States Senate,” the Speaker of the House said, justifying Republican opposition to the bill by adding: “We are not going to take away a citizen’s constitutional rights to due process.”

Ryan further denied that the issue was gun control, but rather terrorism.

“Let’s find out what we need to do to prevent future terrorist attacks. And if a person is on a terror watch list and they go try to buy a gun, we have procedures in place to deal with that,” he told CNN.

Senators are pushing for a compromise, with top Democratic senator Harry Reid, supporting a Republican proposal that would stop gun sales to a limited number of people on some terrorism watch lists.

Trump Hints At More Taxes On The Rich  

TrumpUnited States Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump says taxes for rich people may be increased. This appears to be a reversal of his initial policy.

Speaking during an interview, he also reversed his position on the minimum wage.

He said that he was yet to decide in terms of numbers; but he thinks people have to get more in terms of wages. He had previously said he is against increasing the minimum wage.

“We were talking about the minimum wage, and they said ‘Should we increase the minimum wage?’ And I’m saying that if we’re going to compete with other countries we can’t do that because the wages would be too high.”

Mr Trump, who looks set to become the official Republican candidate for the November presidential election, says he is allowed to change his policies.

Trump readily admitted that he had given up his previous position.

“Sure, it’s a change,” he said, framing his willingness to abandon one position as a negotiation tactic. “I’m allowed to change. You need flexibility. But my real minimum wage is going to be I’m going to bring companies back into this country, and (people are) going to make a lot more than the $15, even.”

However, several top Republicans including the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, have said they will not vote for him.

US Republicans Attack Obama Gun Control

obamaLeading Republicans have criticised President Barack Obama’s move to tighten gun controls.

House of Representatives Speaker, Paul Ryan, said that the executive orders, which bypass congress, “undermines liberty” and will be challenged in court.

Republican Presidential front runner, Donald Trump, also said that, if elected, he would reverse the measures.

In an emotional address on Tuesday,  President Obama accused the gun lobbyists of holding the country hostage.

Wiping away tears, he recalled the 2012 Sandy Hook primary school shooting in which 20 children and six adults were killed.

President Obama announced the law change at the White House, surrounded by survivors and relatives of victims of shootings.

“The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they can’t hold America hostage,” he said.

The BBC reported that sales of guns in the US appear to have risen recently amid speculation that the White House was going to tighten the law.

Shares in gunmaker Smith & Wesson rose to their highest value since 1999 ahead of President Obama’s announcement.
Congress has been reluctant to pass any laws restricting gun ownership, facing pressure from gun owners and the NRA.