Republicans Elect Paul Ryan as House Speaker

The Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has elected conservative stalwart, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as the new House speaker.

After endorsing him in a party caucus Wednesday, Republicans formally selected the 45-year-old Ryan in a vote Thursday on the House floor.

Ryan received 236 of the 247 House Republican votes. Nine Republicans voted for Representative Daniel Webster of Florida.

He will succeed John Boehner, an Ohio lawmaker who is leaving Congress after 25 years, the last five as House speaker.

Instantly, Ryan becomes one of the most politically powerful figures in Washington, and second in line to the presidency.

‘Greater clarity’

One of his aides said Ryan, the party’s unsuccessful 2012 vice presidential candidate, plans to use his acceptance speech to ask Republicans and opposition Democrats, often at odds with each other on an array of policy and spending issues, for a time of healing.

«If you have ideas, let’s hear them,» the aide said Ryan is planning to say. «A greater clarity between us can lead to a greater charity among us.»

After his Republican colleagues selected him Wednesday, Ryan said Republicans «think the country is heading in the wrong direction.»

They have often attacked policies advanced by Democratic President Barack Obama, but have mostly been stymied in winning approval for conservative proposals on social programs and spending cuts opposed by the White House.

«We have an obligation here in the people’s house, doing the people’s business, to give this country a better way forward,» Ryan declared.

Ryan has been in Congress for 17 years and will become its 54th speaker.

Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner departs the podium during a standing ovation after he addressed colleagues during the election for the new Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in the House Chamber in Washington, Oct. 29, 2015.

Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner departs the podium during a standing ovation after he addressed colleagues during the election for the new Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in the House Chamber in Washington, Oct. 29, 2015.

He has significant ties to various factions of the Republican party, although some staunch conservative lawmakers have criticized him for spending agreements he has negotiated with Democrats.

Opposition Democrats in turn have attacked Ryan for favoring policies they say will cut taxes for the wealthiest in the United States and trim spending for health and pension plans for older Americans.

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate in 2012, picked Ryan as his running mate, but the pair lost the election to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Ryan’s office said Romney and his wife, Ann, will be watching his election as House Speaker as his guests in the chamber.

Latino Public Radio

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