House Speaker Paul Ryan renominated to top House post

November 15, 2016 1:58 PM EST

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) arrives for a news conference after his caucus meeting with fellow House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


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By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives nominated Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday for re-election to his post next year, as lawmakers giddy with election success smoothed over their differences and pledged to unite behind Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

Ryan, who faced no challengers from Republican ranks, was nominated in a unanimous voice vote in a closed-door meeting of all Republican lawmakers in the House. He will face an election in January, when all members of the new House, both majority Republicans and minority Democrats, vote on a new speaker.

While January's outcome is not guaranteed, Republicans who had been feuding with each other and Trump before the election said Tuesday they thought Ryan was in a solid position to be re-elected speaker now that intra-party tensions have dramatically lessened with the Republican election victory.

"Politics is politics, but this is as unified as I've ever seen it," said New York Republican Representative Peter King, who has been in Congress since 1993.

Republicans kept their majorities in both the House and Senate in the Nov. 8 elections in which voters elected Trump to the White House over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Ryan, 46, had criticized Trump numerous times during the campaign, which angered some of Trump's supporters in the Republican caucus. Had Trump lost the election, these Republicans and some conservatives who already had doubts about Ryan might have sought to blame him and block his re-election.

But lawmakers said Trump's election, along with a stronger-than-expected performance at the polls by House Republicans, changed the outlook.

"To suggest that President-elect Trump's victory didn't weigh as a factor in terms of the speaker's race would be disingenuous" said Representative Mark Meadows, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus.

However, one conservative lawmaker, Representative Raul Labrador, continued to express skepticism about Ryan ahead of Tuesday's vote, and said he would not consider Tuesday's outcome binding on his vote in January.

"I haven’t heard from him what he wants to change — what’s going to be different the next two years than the last two years?" Labrador asked reporters.

Ryan, for his part, said House Republicans would be working "hand in glove" with Trump. "We're going to do everything we can to help him be as successful as he can," Ryan told reporters ahead of Tuesday's vote.

Republicans also re-elected three other lawmakers to leadership positions: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, and the chairwoman of the Republican conference, Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and James Dalgleish)



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