Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is thinking of stepping down after the 2018 midterm elections, Politico reported on Thursday. Here’s five things to know about Ryan, his career and his family:
1. Ryan Himself Denies Reports of his Impending Retirement
As first reported in Politico, Ryan told his “closest confidants” that his current term as Speaker of the House will be his last, and that “In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker—fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists—not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.”
That said: The Hill noted that such speculations have been flying for months, and Ryan denies them all.
2. He Said Blake Farenthold Made the Right Decision to Leave Congress
Regarding not Farenthold in particular, but sexual-harassment allegations in general, Ryan said last month that “We are having a watershed moment in this country. I think this is a defining moment in this country. And I think it needs to be a defining moment in this country…. I think we’re all horrified at these stories we’ve been seeing unfold in the last few weeks. I think we’re all realizing that sexual harassment in America is absolutely pervasive and it’s got to go and we need to end it. And nowhere more is this important to set a standard and an example than elected officials. We should be held to a high standard.”
So far Ryan’s opposition to sexual harassment appears to be genuinely non-partisan, criticizing Democrats as well as those from his own party. He also said the allegation of misconduct levied against Alabama Republican Roy Moore were “very, very credible.”
3. His Wife Janna was a Lobbyist and Tax Attorney
Paul Ryan’s wife is the former Janna Little. She has a law degree from George Washington University. After graduation but before meeting and marrying her current husband, she worked as a tax attorney, and later as a lobbyist for PriceWaterhouseCooper and Williams & Johnson.
Today, however she is a stay-at-home mother. She met Paul (who is a year younger than she is) at her 30th birthday party. The couple married the following year, in 2000.
When her mother died in 2010, she inherited a trust fund worth somewhere between $1 million and $5 million. As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2012, that trust fund comprises the bulk of the Ryan family’s assets, which that year were reported to be in the range of $2 million to $7.7 million.
Since Janna Little supported some Democratic causes before her marriage, overly partisan hardcore Republicans are wont to blame her anytime Paul Ryan casts a vote they don’t like.
4. He and his Wife Two Sons and a Daughter
Paul and Janna Ryan have three kids. Their daughter Liza is the oldest child; son Samuel is the youngest and Charles is their middle child. As of March, their ages were 15, 14 and 12, respectively.
In May 2016, Breitbart reported that Ryan’s three kids attend a Catholic school attached to the parish where Ryan himself once served as altar boy.
5. He Says Americans Need to Have More Kids
On Dec. 14, the same day rumors broke that Ryan might step down after the 2018 midterms, Talking Points Memo reported that Ryan said Americans need to boost their birth rates. “People,” Ryan said. “This is going to be the new economic challenge for America. People. Baby boomers are retiring. I did my part, but, you know, we need to have higher birth rates in this country, meaning, baby boomers are retiring and we have fewer people following them in the work force.”
Though he wants Americans to have larger families, Ryan opposes paid family leave policies.
Immigration is another way a country’s population can rise, and Ryan to his credit does claim to support “fix[ing] the legal immigration system.” In the past, Ryan has said he wants to make abortion illegal in all circumstances, including for rape victims. However, it’s possible his stance has softened since then; in 2012, when Ryan was the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate alongside presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the Romney campaign distanced itself from them-Representative Todd Akin’s claim that rape rarely results in pregnancy because “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” At the time, Romney said “Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong.”
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