WASHINGTON, April 11 (Reuters) – US House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, told Republicans in the House of Representatives yesterday he will not seek re-election in November, his office said.
Ryan will serve his full term and retire in January, Brendan Buck, spokesperson for the Speaker, said in a statement.
“After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father,” Mr Buck said.
The departure of 48-year-old Mr Ryan could complicate Republican Party efforts to retain the House in November, when candidates may be dragged down by the unpopularity of President Donald Trump.
The announcement of his departure months before the election will give potential candidates for House Republican leadership positions plenty of time to campaign for support.
The House speaker has scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).
Reports of Mr Ryan’s departure have circulated for months. Politico reported in December that Mr Ryan told confidants he would like to retire after the 2018 congressional elections.
Friends said Mr Ryan, a longtime champion of tax reform, was ready to step down after passing a tax reform bill, according to the Axios news site, which first reported yesterday that Mr Ryan would soon announce his retirement.
The tax bill was Mr Trump’s first major legislative victory since he took office in January 2017 despite being helped by Republican control of Congress.
Lawmakers had expected Mr Ryan might leave Congress if Republicans lose the House in November. The early announcement could have an impact on Mr Ryan’s ability to raise campaign funds for Republican candidates.