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Paul Ryan Willing to Be House Speaker with Conditions

Paul Ryan has said he will run for House Speaker if Republicans in the chamber unite behind his candidacy.

The Wisconsin Representative, who ran as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential candidate in 2012, is seen as his party’s best hope to elect an effective Congressional leader.

A group of ultra-conservative House members have recently rebelled against party leaders.

House Speaker John Boehner resigned last month under pressure.

John Boehner’s handpicked successor House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy withdrew from consideration after it was clear he did not have the support of the ultra-conservative bloc known as the Freedom Caucus.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Freedom Caucus, a group of about 30 to 40 members, demanded key concessions from Kevin McCarthy. The California representative reportedly said he could not effectively lead the House under those conditions.

The very public party infighting has been seen detrimental to the Republicans’ goal of retaining control of Congress and re-taking the White House in 2016.

“We as a conference should unify now,” Paul Ryan told reporters on October 20 after meeting with House Republicans.

“What I told members is if you can agree to these requests and if I can truly be a unifying figure, then I will gladly serve, and if I am not unifying, that is fine as well – I will be happy to stay where I am.”

Paul Ryan gave his colleagues until October 23 to express their support.

He had been reluctant to serve, preferring his role as the chairman of the influential House Way and Means Committee.

Paul Ryan also is the father of three young children and returns home to Wisconsin on weekends to spend time with them.

John Boehner spent many of his weekends raising money for fellow Republican representatives.

Paul Ryan said on October 20 that if elected the role will have to change to accommodate his family life.

To run, Paul Ryan also demanded a House procedure known as “motion to vacate the chair” be abandoned.

The motion allows a small group of lawmakers to challenge the Speaker and is a key source of leverage for the Freedom Caucus.

John Boehner resigned in part because of this tactic.

It is unclear whether Republicans will unite behind Paul Ryan. At least one conservative called Paul Ryan’s demand to end the “motion to vacate the chair” a “non-starter” and others are still uncertain.

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