Republican Congressman Paul Ryan was elected new U.S. House of Representatives Speaker on Thursday, promising that he would fix the broken House.
Ryan, who was nominated by the Republican Party on Wednesday to the top Washington power position, was elected by the full House by 236 votes by fellow Republicans out of 247, while Nancy Pelosi received 184 votes from the Democratic Representatives.
A handful of Republicans did not support the Wisconsin Congressman and instead cast their votes for Ryan’s main rival Representative Daniel Webster of Florida , former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Representative Jim Cooper of Tennessee and Representative John Lewis of Georgia.
According to Reuters, Ryan in his first speech as Speaker addressed the broken House of Representatives and promised to fix it with repairing the division among the Republican majority that is leading the House and creating a legislative blockage in Washington. He stated “We are not solving problems, we are adding to them and I am not interested in laying blame. We are not settling scores, we are wiping the slate clean.”
Ryan is replacing retiring Congressman John Boehner as Speaker of House. Boehner made an emotional speech before the vote and said that he has no regrets and leaves no burdens and advised his fellow Republicans to persevere and that change will come only with a slow struggle.
According to Reuters, the White House spokesman Josh Earnest stated that Obama has contacted Ryan to congratulate him and stated that he respects him even though they have “significant policy differences.”
The newly elected Speaker has laid out some of the issues that he is to take with a tough approach and they include reducing budget deficits and reforming the tax system. He said that by doing this he would help raise incomes and reduce the poverty rate.
He also said that he want to make sure that the legislating power and the control over drafting legislation would be returned to committees and rank and file members , stating that if one is well versed in an issue, one should write the bill.
Paul Ryan was the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and has been serving in Congress since 1999 and is a well known policy expert, as well as an architect of conservative budget plans that seek to cut social security benefits in the safety net programs, privatizing Medicare health care benefits for the elderly, cutting taxes for the wealthy and raising the caps on military spending.
He is now holding the second place of succession to the Presidency, right after the Vice President. He ran for Vice President along with Mitt Romney in the 2012 elections.
Ryan’s first challenge as the 54th Speaker of House will be to avoid the nearing government shutdown on the 11th of December.