Paul Ryan claims the top job as speaker of the house
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A house divided on itself

Can Paul Ryan bring balance to Congress?

Paul Ryan takes on the top job of uniting the House of Representatives.

Paul Ryan takes on the top job of uniting the House of Representatives.

By Tom Gbean | Echo

At the age of 45, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was elected the youngest Speaker of the House on Oct. 29. Ryan began his political career in the House of Representatives when he was elected as a U.S. representative of Wisconsin in 1999. Throughout his political career in the House, Ryan has served as the House Budget Committee chairman and the House Ways and Means Committee chairman.

The speaker of the House position opened when former Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), announced in September of this year that he would step down amidst opposition from the more conservative sections of his party.

Candidates flocked to apply for the top job, including House majority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) McCarthy later stepped out of the race after receiving a letter from Steve Baer, a Chicago-based GOP donor known for mass-emailing conservative figures and Republican lawmakers, threatening to expose an alleged affair with Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.).

After losing McCarthy, House Republicans viewed Ryan as their best bet.

Ryan stated earlier that he would not run for the position but later reconsidered on the condition that the entire Republican Party unite behind him. The Republican Party obliged this request as 236 out of the 246 House Republicans voted for Ryan to become House speaker.

Now that Ryan is Speaker of the House, he will have to navigate a house div ided against itself. However there are signs that his policies will not only create more division between Democrats and Republicans but between himself and more conservative Republicans.

Ryan may have the respect of some top-ranking Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), but deep policy ridges still remain. Ryan is known for his staunch conservative fiscal and social agenda.

Economically, Ryan’s policy is summed up in a budget proposal which he submitted to oppose President Barack Obama’s budget plans during the 2012 presidential election campaign. In that proposal Ryan wanted to reduce government spending by cutting food aid, education spending and health programs for the poor and elderly. He also suggests lessening corporate income tax.

As for his social policy, Ryan has voted against gay adoption and gay marriage and has sponsored bills that support the claim that life begins at conception.

Despite his seemingly conservative track record, Ryan has some skeletons in the closet that “true conservatives” cringe at.

Ryan voted for many entitlement program policies under former president George W. Bush Jr., including the Drugs for Senior Citizens program. Ryan’s office also lobbied for stimulus money in 2009 but later denied charges that he did.

Ryan also wants to make David Hoppe his Chief of Staff. Hoppe is known for working against conservatives at times, but this may be a move by Ryan to bolster his claim that he wants to unite the House.

Despite these setbacks, it is up to Ryan to prove that he is able to mend the brokenness in the House of Representatives.

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