patty murray

Democrats Predict Same Pitfalls for a Speaker Ryan

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has laid out his terms and is now running for speaker of the House. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats on both sides of the Rotunda see Paul D. Ryan as a reliable legislator, but someone likely to face the same pitfalls as his predecessor if elected speaker.  

As the Wisconsin Republican spent Wednesday reaching out to the various factions of the House GOP conference, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said in a brief interview there were many aspects of Ryan's background he feels "good about." He cited the 2013 budget agreement with Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and a 2013 appearance in Chicago with Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., in support of an immigration overhaul , saying the latter "showed more courage than most people in the House Republican caucus." Durbin said it was too soon to tell what kinds of policies Ryan, now chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, would pursue as speaker, but he expects "to see some conservative suggestions that I might not agree with."  

4 Times Paul Ryan Broke Ranks With GOP

Ryan has earned praise for working across the aisle, but that may hurt him with his own party's most conservative members. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Wisconsin Rep. Paul D. Ryan ran for vice president on Mitt Romney’s ticket in 2012, he was known as an Ayn Rand-inspired conservative policy wonk who advocated turning Medicare into a voucher program. A year later, in December 2013, he was heralded as a compromiser for crafting a budget deal with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., that averted another government shutdown.  

If Ryan runs for speaker , as many colleagues have urged, he’ll have to negotiate the legacies of both of those reputations. Ryan was elected to Congress in 1998, and since President Barack Obama has been in office, the Wisconsin Republican has supported him 17 percent of the time — slightly less often than the average House Republican, according to CQ's Vote Watch .