All four members of Arkansas’ delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives said Thursday they are pleased with Paul Ryan’s election to the powerful post of U.S. House Speaker. Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, succeeded U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who resigned from the job of managing the 435-member body.
The election for the House Speaker was held Thursday morning (Oct. 29), with Ryan receiving 236 votes. He is the 54th Speaker of the House. At age 45, Ryan is the youngest speaker since 1869.
After accepting the ceremonial Speaker gavel, Ryan was blunt in his assessment of House affairs.
“But let’s be frank: The House is broken. 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. Neither the members nor the people are satisfied with how things are going. We need to make some changes, starting with how the House does business,” Ryan said in his prepared statement. “We need to let every member contribute—not once they have earned their stripes, but right now. I come at this job as a two-time committee chair. The committees should retake the lead in drafting all major legislation. If you know the issue, you should write the bill. Open up the process. Let people participate. And they might change their tune. A neglected minority will gum up the works. A respected minority will work in good faith. Instead of trying to stop the majority, they might try to become the majority.”
Following are comments from Arkansas members of the U.S. House delegation.
• U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro
“Ever since Speaker Boehner’s resignation announcement, I’ve argued that true change must be predicated on reform of the House legislative process. More than anything else, that’s what a new Speaker must be concerned with, bringing back a functioning House of Representatives. Ryan pledged reform of the House rules and process, and afterwards he secured our party’s nomination. He has the opportunity now to make good on his word, and I look forward to working with our new Speaker to end the current govern-by-crisis model and to return the House of Representatives back to a truer reflection of the will of the American people.”
• U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock
“Paul Ryan is the person best equipped to lead this Congress. having served as Chairman of the Budget and most recently as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Ryan has proven to be an effective messenger and a committed conservative. I look forward to working with him to advance policies that enhance economic growth and support our national security, our consumers and the millions of Americans who want a full-time job.”
• U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, agreed.
“I cast my vote for Congressman Paul Ryan the next Speaker of the House. He has united Republicans in the House and at this moment in our history, he is the right man for the job. He has committed to restoring regular order which will allow all members’ voices to be better heard and should minimize future ‘crisis’ situation votes providing a more conservative approach to governing.
“I wish him well in this new role, look forward to working with him and encourage my constituents to keep Speaker Ryan, his family and America in your prayers as I told the new Speaker I would do.”
• U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers
“Congratulations to Speaker Ryan. I am confident in his ability to unify our conference and our House, and I am proud to have voted for him. I look forward to working with our new Speaker to take America down a more conservative path.”