WASHINGTON — Paul Ryan was easily re-elected Speaker of the House of the 115th Congress, following a vote in the chamber Tuesday.
Only one Republican member defected and voted for Rep. Daniel Webster.
On the Democratic side, Nancy Pelosi was re-elected Minority Leader with only four of her colleagues voting for someone else for the top the Democratic post, following a year that saw both parties questioning their congressional leadership.
Ryan was re-elected by the House Republican conference in November to serve a second term as speaker of the House. And after a tumultuous first year in the top leadership spot — a job he was elected to after then-Speaker John Boehner abruptly resigned — Ryan clashed with both conservatives on the right of the conference and with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
But a lot has changed since then. Trump’s 2016 election win helped unite the Republican Party while Democrats are still trying to figure what went wrong.
Last October, 10 House Republicans didn’t vote for Ryan when the entire House took a roll call vote for the speaker. Instead, most voted for longshot Webster.
Republican House members typically vote for the person their conference already elected — Ryan was elected in vote after the election. Some of the 10 Republicans who broke from voting for him are still around.
And Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus will try to keep Ryan focused on what they view as conservative priorities. Anyone who breaks with him this time around is sending a message about what they want from the future of the Republican Party.
In November, Pelosi defeated Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan to retain her post as the top elected Democrat in the House during a closed-door meeting.
The final vote was 134-to-63 for Pelosi, meaning she matched her prediction that she’d retain the support of two-thirds of House Democrats. But it also meant that close to one-third of the diminished group voted for a change in leadership after getting beat again on Election Day.
The Democratic caucus vote, however, was secret ballot, whereas Tuesday’s vote was public, meaning there could have been more political consequences for publicly opposing Pelosi, who’s expected to retain her seat.