New Speaker Paul Ryan pledged today to fix the "broken" House of Representatives after winning the leadership election, promising to work with rank-and-file members, committee chairs and Democrats to legislate in the lower chamber.
"The House is broken,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “We’re not solving problems. We’re adding to them.”
Ryan, a former chairman of the House Budget and Ways and Means Committees, said committees "should retake the lead" in drafting legislation, and encouraged all members to contribute.
"If you know the issue, you should write the bill," he said.
"A neglected minority will gum up the works. A respected minority will work in good faith."
Ryan, 45, said he never wanted the job of House speaker, but emerged as the consensus candidate to replace John Boehner, R-Ohio, after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., dropped his bid for the speaker's gavel.
Well-respected in his conference for his place on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential ticket and work on the House Budget and Ways and Means Committees, Ryan decided to run after Republicans agreed to meet his conditions for service and unite behind him.
Ryan has also said he will meet conservatives' demands to change the way the House is run -- work is already underway to revisit House rules -- and give them a seat at the Republican leadership table. The results of his overtures showed today, with all but nine Republicans supporting him.
He'll have an easier start thanks to Boehner’s negotiating a two-year, $80 budget and debt-ceiling hike with the White House and passing it through the House Wednesday night.
But Ryan will still have to follow through on his promises and navigate the House through the appropriations process, reconciling conservative's policy demands with the need to find common ground with Democrats on allocating money across the federal government by Dec. 11.
On hand for Ryan's ascent Thursday was Mitt Romney, who attended the proceedings with his wife Ann as Ryan's guest.
"You'll see him be a very effective Speaker," Romney said of his former 2012 presidential running mate.
Alex Mallin contributed reporting.