While House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he’s decided not to run for re-election, he’s “not done yet” and intends to finish the year and continue to “keep fighting” for entitlement reform.
Ryan, who admitted during a Wednesday morning press conference that he took on the speaker role reluctantly, said the Congress had “accomplished so much since” he took over in 2015 for former House Speaker John Boehner, with the most important accomplishment being the “major reform” of the tax code.
“You realize something when you take this job: it’s a big job with a lot riding on you, and you feel it. But you also know that this is a job that does not last forever,” Ryan said.
He added that he “thanked his colleagues” for the honor of serving as speaker.
Noting that it’s his 20th year in Congress, Ryan said it was time to spend more time with his three teenage kids. What “I’ve learned about teenagers is their idea of an ideal weekend is not necessarily to spend all of their time with their parents. What I realize is, if I’m here for one more term, my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad. I just can’t let that happen.”
In responding to a question that he “wasn’t sticking around for tax reform’s biggest consequence” — trillion-dollar deficits, according to a recently released Government Accountability Office report — Ryan responded that “entitlement reform is the one other great thing” that he’s spent his career working on.
While the House passed “the biggest entitlement reform bill ever considered in the House of Representatives,” Ryan said he regretted the fact that the Senate failed to pass the bill.
“But I feel from all the budgets that I’ve passed, normalizing entitlement reform, pushing the cause of entitlement reform and the House passing entitlement reform — I’m very proud of that fact, but more work needs to be done.”
Ryan also said that the chance that he would not become speaker come the midterm elections in November did not factor into his decision to not seek re-election.
He attributed his decision to two things: “I’ve really accomplished much of what I came here to do, and my kids aren’t getting any younger. If I stay, they’re only going to know me as a weekend dad.”
— Check out CBO: Tax Cuts, Spending Driving Debt to Historic Levels on ThinkAdvisor.