Ryan Still Pondering Pelosi Challenge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan has not ruled out a challenge to Nancy Pelosi’s bid to return as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, despite comments on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning. 

Ryan, D-13 Ohio, appeared to downplay the notion that he might again challenge Pelosi for the leadership post during the interview this morning. 

“Congressman Ryan has expressed that it is not his intention to run for leadership at this time, but no final decision has been made,” spokesman Michael Zetts said Thursday morning.

Earlier in the day, Ryan told Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that whether Pelosi would be the next speaker is “to be determined,” but the next leader for House Democrats should be determined with input from the newly elected members who helped the party reclaim majority status in the chamber.

Many ran and won in districts where Pelosi is not popular and campaigned on promising they would not support her as speaker.   

“I don’t have any intention on running right now,” Ryan said, “but what I’m saying is why wouldn’t we sit down with these new members who have clearly put us in the majority, have won in districts we haven’t been able to win in? Why don’t we ask them what they want so that we can sustain the majority?”

Ryan previously challenged Pelosi for leadership of the caucus after the 2016 general election, when House Democrats failed to retake the majority they had lost in 2010. He again cited her high unfavorable rating and the Democrats’ ineffective messaging in response to the migrant caravan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pledge to “gut” Social Security and Medicare. 

“It’s nothing personal,” he said. “We’ve got to start thinking about how do we get into the future, who are the best people to put in place to go and campaign for these new members that we’ve got in these suburban districts.”

During the interview, Ryan also noted that many of the Democrats who won in more conservative districts might not be as progressive as others. The party needs to concentrate on winning seats so it is able to eventually advance a more progressive agenda.

“The major thrust of our argument and the agenda that we push forward has got to be reducing the economic anxiety that is facing middle-class people today,” he added. He also said the House has an obligation under the Constitution to provide oversight of the executive branch. In the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, members have suggested reopening the House investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and seeking President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Trump reacted angrily to the prospect of any investigation of the administration by the soon-to-be Democratic House and vowed to take a “war-like posture” in response.

“Article One of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to conduct oversight of the executive branch,” and Ryan “takes this duty seriously and will continue to up hold his constitutional responsibility,” Zetts said.

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