Paul Ryan's Election as Speaker Unique in 2 Ways

Boehner gives a tearful goodbye
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 29, 2015 10:28 AM CDT
Paul Ryan's Election as Speaker Unique in 2 Ways
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., accompanied by outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, waves in the House chamber.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

He gets the gavel: Paul Ryan captured enough House votes Thursday to become the chamber's next speaker. In a slow-moving roll call that mixed politics with pageantry, 236 lawmakers called out the Wisconsin Republican's name as their pick for the job. That assured that Ryan will become speaker, presiding over a chamber that has been awash in tumult ever since defiant conservatives hounded John Boehner into announcing his resignation last month. A sign of the tumult: Ryan is the first speaker elected in the midst of a congressional term since 1989, notes the New York Times. One other way his election is unique: At 45, Ryan is the youngest speaker since 1869, when 39-year-old Maine Rep. James Blaine took the job.

Before the vote, Boehner bade farewell to his colleagues after a quarter-century House career, including the last five as speaker. "I leave with no regrets, no burdens," said Boehner in a 10-minute speech. "If anything, I leave the way I started, just a regular guy, humbled by the chance to do a big job." Boehner, a regular crier, got a standing ovation from members of both parties before he even started speaking when he pulled out a box of tissues. As the vote then proceeded, most of the hard-liners—including members of the rebellious House Freedom Caucus—backed Ryan. Yet a handful voted for others, underscoring that future tensions between them and the House's next leader could not be discounted. "Tomorrow, we are turning the page," Ryan said, per the Washington Post. "Our party lost its vision, and we are going to replace it with a vision." (Ryan has a new name to go with his new title.)

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