WASHINGTON (AFP) – US lawmakers voted on Tuesday (Jan 3) to retain congressman Paul Ryan as speaker of the House of Representatives, making him a critical player in Congress as Donald Trump prepares to assume the presidency.
House members voted 239 to 189 to re-elect Ryan to the key post over the top Democrat, former speaker Nancy Pelosi. Five lawmakers voted for other figures.
Ryan will lead the incoming two-year session of the House, which opened Tuesday – 17 days before Trump’s inauguration.
“Honored to be elected speaker of the House for the 115th Congress,” Ryan tweeted moments after the roll call result was announced.
The re-election of Ryan, who was the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, marked a triumph for the 46-year-old, who had clashed with Trump during the presidential race and even refused to campaign with the Republican nominee ahead of the November election.
One week after Trump’s upset victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, Ryan insisted he and the Republican House leadership were “on the same page with our president-elect.”
But it had been clear that Ryan was at odds with the billionaire businessman over several policy issues, Trump’s combative tone with adversaries and his remarks about women.
The Republican majority in both the House and Senate is now expected to clear the way for Trump to roll out much of his conservative agenda.
Trump and the Republicans appear to be in broad agreement on a roadmap that includes replacing President Barack Obama’s trademark health care law, building a wall – or fence – on the Mexican border, and slashing taxes.