Rep. Richard Neal Says House Speaker Paul Ryan's Departure Is No Surprise
Republican Speaker of the U.S. House Paul Ryan announced Wednesday he would not be running for re-election this year. And Democratic Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield says he's been hearing rumors for the last month about Ryan's planned departure.
Neal, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the Speaker's plans may have something to do with the upcoming mid-term elections -- and may also impact them.
"This is going to demoralize the Republican base across the country," Neal said. "You can see in generic polling that at the moment we have a substantial lead, and I also think we now are in the position of contesting a hundred seats across the country that are in Republican hands. So, you can see there's an energized part of the Democratic Party now."
Neal offered a prediction before circling back to Ryan stepping aside:
"Republicans are looking at what could be a dreary November," he said. "And I think the Speaker's decision is indicative of that."
Another Massachusetts Democrat, Jim McGovern of Worcester, in a statement called for Ryan to open up the legislative process on Capitol Hill now that he doesn't have to worry about re-election.
"That means opening up the legislative process, holding regular hearings and mark-ups, and having real debates on the House floor," McGovern said. "Speaker Ryan is currently the only speaker in history to never have a truly open rule. That has prevented Republicans and Democrats alike from doing their jobs offering amendments on the House floor, and put this Congress on track to become the most closed Congress ever."
Ryan, a Republican from Janesville, Wisconsin, was first elected to Congress in 1998. He became speaker in 2015 after former House Speaker John Boehner retired. Ryan was former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012.
This report includes information from The Associated Press.