There are lots of reasons Rep. Paul Ryan doesn’t want to run for House Speaker, including the fact that he already has his dream job.
He presides over the House Ways and Means Committee, the top tax-writing committee in the U.S. House – a perfect fit for the policy wonk who is just at home talking about repatriated tax breaks as he is his beloved Green Bay Packers.
“I feel like, at 45-years old, as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee with a 10, 12 and 13-year-old at home, I can make a huge difference for the country. These issues, trade, tax, poverty fighting, health care reform, entitlement reform, all go to the Ways and Means Committee… And I can be home on weekends and be the kind of husband and dad I want to be. And so, it's just that simple,” he said.
Ryan is said to be discussing the possibility of running for speaker with his family, but it’s easy to see why he’d rather stay at the helm of one of the most powerful House committees in terms of making policy and fundraising, with massive budget and debt ceiling fights on the horizon in which the 2012 vice presidential candidate could play a big role.
For now, Ryan is caught in the middle of a stalemate for the House GOP conference as its conservative and moderate wings try to find one person who they can all see leading them into 2016 and beyond – a person who could wind up being Ryan.
Many stripes of Republicans, from Jim Jordan, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, to Tom Cole, one of John Boehner’s top allies, have at least said Paul could be an acceptable choice, although Jordan says his group still wants to meet with Ryan.
Even if Ryan does meet with them, he’s probably not going to give them a pitch based on his desire for the job – he simply prefers the one he has – something he was far from coy about during an interview with Charlie Rose last year before he got the Ways and Means chairmanship.
“It is said that you want desperately to be -,” Rose started, before Ryan interrupted him.
“I don't want anything desperately,” he said.
“Yes, you do,” Rose countered. “Do you want to be chairman of Ways and Means?”
“Yeah,” Ryan relented. “It is the path I'm on.”
And it’s a path from which it might be hard for Ryan to deviate to accept the thankless job of House Speaker.