WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSDFW.COM/CBSNEW.COM/CNN) – After months of, House Speaker Paul Ryan will not be seeking re-election in 2018.
After speaking with members of the House Ryan held a press conference where he said, “Today I am announcing that this year will be my last one as a member of the House. To be clear, I am not resigning. I intended to serve my full term – as I was elected to do. But I will be retiring in January, leaving this majority in good hands with what I believe is a very bright future.”
Ryan joins a growing list of Republican House members who are stepping away from Congress. More than 30 Republicans in the House and Senate have announced that they plan to leave Congress by the beginning of 2019.
Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, has been in Congress since 1999 and became House speaker in 2015 when colleagues elected him to replace John Boehner. The 48-year-old conservative was also the vice-presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in 2012.
Addressing the media Ryan said, “You all know that I did not seek this job. I took it reluctantly, but I have given this job everything that I have and I have no regrets whatsoever for having accepted this responsibility.”
Before the press conference the speakers’s office released a statement that said, in part:
“After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father.”
Ryan said with the position of House Speaker “it’s easy for it to take over everything in your life” but that he realizes his time as a husband and dad is fleeting. “If I am here for one more term my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad. I just can’t let that happen. So, I will be setting new priorities in my life, but I will also be leaving incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
Many speculated Ryan would depart political office after helping successfully champion a rewrite of the U.S. tax code. Ryan’s office, however, had denied the speculation that he was leaving anytime soon. Just last month his spokesperson, AshLee Strong, told CBS News, “The speaker is not resigning.”
Ryan’s plans have been the source of much speculation and will set off a scramble among his lieutenants to take the helm. A self-styled budget guru, Ryan had made tax cuts a centerpiece of his legislative agenda, and a personal cause, and Congress delivered on that late last year.
Ryan, who has had a difficult relationship with President Donald Trump, thanked the president for giving him the chance to move the GOP ahead.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)