Speaker Paul Ryan might have to give up his position as Speaker sooner than expected.
Top brass of the GOP reportedly want to install Kevin McCarthy as soon as possible.
Top Republicans in Congress and the White House have in recent days entertained a plan to push House Speaker Paul Ryan out of his post over the summer, in an effort to clear the way for his presumed successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to assume the speakership.
A source involved in the conversations and who has discussed the idea with President Donald Trump told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Trump believes there is merit to the plan, but has not formed a final position. McCarthy has been weighing the effort alongside a small group of trusted advisers, considering the pros and cons of forcing Ryan's hand, and debating the best time to launch the effort. As of last week he had not spoken to Ryan about the idea, the source said.
Proponents say that the benefits are twofold. It would trigger a vote to replace Ryan, giving McCarthy an opening to become speaker of the House — that is, if he can avoid crashing and burning on takeoff like he did in 2015. But it would also force Democrats to cast votes for — or against — Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a favorite target of Republican campaign strategists, to be speaker. That vote could then be used against vulnerable Democrats during the height of campaign season, the source said.
Under the plan, Ryan would step down from his post as speaker prematurely but would remain a member of Congress until his term ends in January 2019. The prospect of Ryan’s right-hand man amping up the pressure for him to leave sooner portends a significant shift in the power dynamics of the chamber. A spokesperson for Ryan declined to comment. McCarthy responded in a statement provided to TWS: "Completely untrue. Paul has my total support. Together we are completely focused on our agenda and traveling the country to take our unified message and action to the voters in November.”
Ryan has pushed back strongly on suggestions that he might depart early, instead pledging to serve as the chamber’s leader for the remainder of his term. Allies of Ryan argue his intent to remain speaker doesn’t come from a thirst for power, especially because it is a job he didn’t ask for in the first place. Instead, Ryan says that holding off on leadership elections will allow the GOP to focus on campaign season rather than engaging in a bloody intra-party feud.