Like traditional daytime drama, the House of Representatives has been a soap opera. First, after a fractious couple of weeks of taking fire from conservatives in the House over the looming debt ceiling crisis, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH 8) announced that he would step down as Speaker and resign from Congress at the end of October. The heir-apparent, Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 23), then dropped out of the race the day before the scheduled election for Speaker after it became clear that he did not have enough votes to be elected.
A mad scramble ensued until members coalesced around Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1) as the one person who could gain enough support to be elected, which occurred on Oct. 29. Ryan, who is the youngest to hold that position since 1869, received 236 Republican votes out of 247. He didn’t seek the position but was persuaded to run only after making it clear to the Republican Caucus that there were some things he would not give up – notably time with his family (he has three young children). The new Speaker pledged to change how the House operates, including making the process more accessible to rank-and-file members. He also served notice to his fellow Republicans that he expected their support in moving legislation through.