Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who for years has resisted a move into House Republican leadership, said Tuesday night he would serve as House speaker if he is the party’s “unity candidate.”
Ryan, the Ways and Means Committee chairman, wants to know by Friday if the 247 members of the House Republican Conference support him. If not, he is “happy” to continue as chairman of the powerful tax-writing panel, the 45-year-old lawmaker said.
The Wisconsin Republican laid out a series of “requests” to his GOP colleagues on Tuesday night, including a demand that the major factions within the Republican Conference endorse him before he agrees to seek the speakership. Ryan is clearly trying to shift the onus of his decision onto the House Freedom Caucus, a group of hard-line conservatives that repeatedly sought to undermine Speaker John Boehner.