Will Paul Ryan’s retirement be a chance to change the House?

Published 8:08 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan is retiring and there’s no guaranteed successor. And whichever party emerges from the November election in control of the House isn’t expected to have a big majority.

It’s a recipe for upheaval, though one outside group sees a once-in-a-generation opportunity for lawmakers to overhaul their rules and put Congress on a more cooperative footing.

“The Speaker Project” is what the bipartisan group calls the idea it’s circulating among House members.

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According to a draft of a proposal provided to the Associated Press, a small group of Democrats and Republicans could “exert tremendous leverage” over the contest for the next speaker. They could band together and condition their support for the new leader on the promise of House rules changes to make governing less polarizing. There’s already a list of other proposed changes.

“We have a perfect storm moment,” said Nancy Jacobson, founder of the group No Labels.

Lawmakers will meet in private after Election Day to decide their nominees for speaker. A formal vote comes when the new Congress convenes in January.

With a potentially narrow party split between Democrats and Republicans, a few lawmakers could have considerable sway in picking the new leader.