House Speaker Paul Ryan

The Speaker Saga that began when John Boehner announced his resignation last month has finally come to an end. Paul Ryan is now the 62nd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and while he was all smiles Thursday morning, Ryan has now assumed a role he said he never wanted.

A look back on Representative-now Speaker- Ryan’s career shows an early start in Washington politics. He has represented Wisconsin’s 1st district since 1999- after an election where he had to defend his character, his politics, even his age. Elected at the age of 28 years old, Ryan was only three years older than the minimum age required of representatives in Congress. However, he was able to convince voters that yes; he was old enough to shave and thus began his stellar career on the Hill.  

In his 17 years on Capitol Hill, Ryan has spent most of his time utilizing his econ degree, serving as Chairman of the House Budget Committee from 2011-2015 and then Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He has been remarkably successful in a Congress that is criticized for getting nothing done. His accomplishments include:

* During his tenure as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, every single one of his budget bills was passed.

* In 2013, he was able to negotiate the first budget agreement in the bitterly partisan Congress since 1986.

* In July of 2014, he introduced anti-poverty legislation, entitled “Expanding Opportunity in America” where he presented reforms to decades of anti-poverty legislation and proceedings. 

These achievements are the exact reason Ryan did not want to become Speaker.

Paul Ryan has made reforming American tax code a part of his platform since his very first campaign.  He has described himself as a “policy guy” and continually said that Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee has been his dream job. It is the job that could have let him finally rewrite and get passed a new tax code, especially if a Republican goes to the White House in 2017. Ryan was also unwilling to run for Speaker due to family reasons. He stated that the Speakership was a role for an “empty-nester”, and he wanted to be able to spend his weekends in Wisconsin. Unlike many families of Congressional members, the Ryan family has never moved to Washington, choosing to raise their kids in Janesville, Wisconsin.

But in the end, Ryan sacrificed his dream job because he flat out feared what would happen if he did not. Ever Since Rep. Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the Speaker Race, there has been a panic that no one could get the 218 votes needed to secure the Speakership. Fortunately, Ryan was able to garner 236 votes, which included all but six of the House Freedom Caucus members, the same Caucus many consider responsible for John Boehner’s resignation.

So today, October 29th, Paul Ryan once again took on a role that is usually held by an older man, becoming the youngest Speaker of the House since 1869. He has also taken the place of a man for whose congressional campaign he volunteered on in college, John Boehner. Boehner mentioned this story in his farewell speech, along with thanking his colleagues and wishing Ryan all the best.

Many in America are wishing Speaker Ryan best of luck as he prepares for what could be his first test as Speaker: next week’s Highway funding bill.


Rep. Paul Ryan clarifies CPAC story

Congressman Paul Ryan's speech at CPAC this week is making news, but probably not the kind of news he and his staff had in mind. 

Questions arose regarding the veracity of a story Rep. Ryan told at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference, citing Eloise Anderson, a member of Governor Scott Walker's cabinet. 

"This reminds me of a story that I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a very poor family and every day at school he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise he didn't want a free lunch, he wanted his own lunch. One in a brown paper bag just like the other kids. He wanted one because he said that he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him."

"This is what the left doesn't understand. We don't want people to leave the work force we want them to share their skills and talent with the rest of us. People don't just want a life of comfort--they want a life of dignity. They want a life of self-determination. A life of equal outcomes is not nearly as enriching as a life of equal opportunity."

Ryan is accused in some quarters of lifting the story from a bestselling book titled "An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny."

To provide context, Anderson testified before a House Budget Committee--Ryan serves as House Budget Committee Chairman--and said:

"My thought has always been around the SNAP program even when it was called "food stamps" is, why do you have this program, school program, school breakfast, school lunch, school dinner, when do we start asking parents to be responsible for their children?"

"You know, a little boy told me once that what was important to him is that he didn't want school lunch, he wanted a brown back because the brown bag that he brought with his lunch in it meant that his mom cared about him. Just think what we have done. If this kid tells me a brown bag was more important than a free lunch, we've missed the whole notion of parents being there for their children because we've taken over that responsibility, and I think we need to be very careful about how we provide programs to families that don't undermine families' responsibilities."

Anderson's spokesperson now says that she was referring to a television interview she had previously seen. 

Ryan took to social media and posted on his Facebook page that when Anderson related the story at a Budget Committee hearing last year, she misspoke. 


What do you think about this story? Could this create a problem for Rep. Paul Ryan down the road? Should his staff be held responsible for not verifying the source or do you think the blame falls solely on Anderson? 

Share your thoughts here on 'The Daily Bret' or via Twitter @BretBaier--


Romney/Ryan T-Shirts Find New Home

Ever wonder what happens to all of those leftover presidential campaign t-shirts when the candidate loses the election?  Well, the Romney/Ryan campaign office in Tennessee donated 200 of the campaign shirts to a village in Kenya. The children in the small village were happy to receive the new shirts--


Will you join me for lunch?

President Obama and Governor Romney will sit down over lunch for the first time since the election. The President will host his former political rival at the White House Thursday.


A senior Romney source tells Fox News that the Governor has no plans to attend a press conference/stakeout  and he will be coming in with no agenda.


Fox has also learned that Mitt Romney will meet with his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) tomorrow as well.


Bret previews the VP debate

Vice Presidential Debate

Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan will face off in the vice presidential Debate Thursday evening at Centre College in Danville, KY.  Both Biden and Ryan have taken time off the campaign trail to prepare for Thursday's debate--Biden in his hometown of Wilmington, DE where he has held mock debates with Congressman Chris Van Hollen (playing the role of Ryan) and Ryan has been practicing and watching old debate tapes, including Biden-Palin debate from 2008.


So what can we expect from this debate? Well...after Governor Romney's strong performance in the 1st presidential debate in Denver, the pressure is on Paul Ryan to maintain the momentum. We do not really know what to expect from Congressman Ryan in a debate setting on a national stage-- an unknown variable with high expectations. Even without previous debate experience we do know that Ryan has years of experience selling conservative ideas to voters who are not predisposed to liking them. His congressional district in southeastern Wisconsin is one of the most politically balanced in the country, but he has won re-election easily over the past 14 years.


And don't expect VP Biden to go into this debate unprepared-- President Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, has been spending time in recent debate sessions with him. He is expected to be on the attack and is under pressure to help the Obama campaign after the Denver debate. He has also been "studying up on Congressman Ryan's positions on the issues."


"Obviously, what we expect is the vice president's going to come at me like a cannonball," Ryan said. "They said he won every single primary debate in 2008. So believe you me, I understand that this man is extremely experienced."


Both sides view this debate as critical and we will have to wait to see what happens. Who will come out on top? Will there be any gaffes from Biden? Or a gaffe from Ryan perhaps? Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly will bring you live debate coverage beginning at 8:55pmET on Fox News Channel and we hope you will tune in to watch! Follow along on Twitter @bretbaier and @megynkelly and let us know what you think!

Election turns to debate over Medicare

Paul Ryan in battleground state of Colorado


Lakewood High School gymnasium where Paul Ryan is set to speak-- the fire marshal tells Fox News the crowd has reached maximum capacity. Congressman Ryan just wrapped up his interview with Brit Hume! Tune in tonight 6pm ET to Special Report for more!



Coming Up

Don't miss New Jersey governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie tonight on Special Report.

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