Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s efforts to be elected for a full two year term passed a crucial first hurdle on Tuesday as the Speaker was nominated by the House Republican conference for the top leadership post. Ryan was approved by unanimous voice vote.
Each conference has a top leader who will then be voted for in January’s Speaker roll call vote. The Speaker election is one of the first acts the new Congress will take and the majority’s nominee always wins, although there is no guarantee. While Republicans do not have to vote for Ryan now, most, if not all, will.
The Speaker election also serves as an opportunity for certain members to start off the session with a streak of maverick. Some members will vote for someone other than Ryan as a show of protest and discontent with the leadership team. Ryan and Speaker John Boehner, who resigned over numerous challenges to his leadership, both faced small, but significant, challenges from the far right of the conference, particularly members of the Freedom Caucus.
While Ryan was approved unanimously, there was still minor opposition. Representatives Dave Brat, Raul Labrador, and Thomas Massie have had reservations over Ryan’s Speakership while Representatives Jim Jordan (who chairs the Freedom Caucus), Louie Gohmert, and Jim Renacci rose during the meeting to request a delay in leadership elections. That request, however, was ignored and the meeting progressed to Ryan’s victory.