Early Thursday afternoon, Politico reports that Paul Ryan, after having spent a quarter-century in Washington, is eying retirement. Throughout his years in Congress, Ryan has focused on two fundamental issues: taxation and entitlements.
As House Republicans celebrate their tax overhaul, Ryan is urging his colleagues to move forward to his other lifetime goal: reforming entitlements, particularly Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And there is a good reason why he is pushing his colleagues to reform America's safety net programs. As Politico puts it, "his time in Congress is running short."
Apparently, Ryan has been telling some of his close confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. And many in Washington don't expect Ryan to remain in Congress past 2018, considering that he was already tiring of D.C. before reluctantly accepting his current position as Speaker of the House. But they do think that he will stay until 2018, in order to make one last effort to pass entitlement reform and use his fundraising prowess to protect the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.
Apparently, one of the reasons for Ryan's possible departures is entirely personal.
Politico writes: "On a personal level, going home at the end of next year would allow Ryan, who turns 48 next month, to keep promises to family; his three children are in or entering their teenage years, and Ryan, whose father died at 55, wants desperately to live at home with them full-time before they begin flying the nest."
The other is professional. Many in the Liberty Caucus, who see Ryan as a compromiser and establishment Republican, and many Democrats, who are troubled by the speaker's willingness to slash taxes and entitlements, want Paul Ryan out.
According to ABC News, Paul Ryan's office responded to the rumor as "pure speculation," adding that Paul Ryan has said himself that he will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
Earlier this year, similar rumors spread about the possibility of Ryan retiring. Then, as now, Ryan claimed that he is not planning to retire.
"When I took this job at the request of our members, I knew it would come with lots of slings and arrows," Ryan said. "This is not something I am worried about or focused on. I'm worried about getting our agenda passed."
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