By: Priyanka Chellappa
Paul Ryan’s bid for Speaker of the House may be the best news the Republican Party has had in a while.
Despite his initial reticence, Ryan announced his formal decision on October 22. After months of Trump dominated headlines, the emergence of a policy-minded and straightforward Republican leader is a refreshing change of pace. Of the potential candidates, the most prominent being Kevin McCarthy, Ryan is by far the most qualified for the position.
With nine terms as a Wisconsin congressman and chairman of the Ways and Means committee under his belt, Ryan has a track record of holding the government accountable for wasteful spending and bureaucratic mismanagement. His focus on keeping Medicare and Social Security programs sustainable appeals to policymakers on both sides of the aisle, making him a perfect candidate for promoting bipartisan reform.
Ryan’s announcement comes at a time when the House is desperately in need of strong leadership. With the November 3 deadline to raise federal spending looming large, Ryan will likely have to deal with severe partisanship in order to avoid yet another government shutdown. But before he can reach across the aisle for support, Ryan must first bridge the gap within his own party. As backlash towards establishment politicians and “business as usual” politics becomes more apparent, Ryan represents a new generation of more “in-touch” GOP leaders.
In his announcement, Ryan also addressed his focus on a work-life balance, a directive which reopened the parental leave discussion. Although Ryan voted against a proposal to give federal workers four weeks of paid leave in 2009, his comments signal a change of heart. By emphasizing the importance of his family, Ryan has the opportunity to advocate for working parents in both the private and public sector.