POLITICS

Harry Reid Hopes Paul Ryan Becomes House Speaker

The top Democrat's endorsement may not help Ryan's potential bid.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to be the next House speaker.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to be the next House speaker.

WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says if he had his way, he'd pick Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to be the next speaker of the House.

"I'm a Paul Ryan fan," Reid told reporters.

"He appears to be one of the people over there that could be reasonable. I mean, look at some of the other people," the minority leader continued. "I don't agree with him on much of what he does. I think what he's done with Medicare and Medicaid, what he wants to do with it, I disagree with. But generally speaking, I think we've been able to work with him."

House Republicans have been scrambling to find someone to be their next speaker after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abruptly quit the race earlier this month. A few Republicans have thrown their names into the mix, but they've been drowned out by a groundswell of support for Ryan, who is widely respected in his conference and seen as someone willing to work with Democrats. So far, he's said he's not interested, but given the pressure from GOP leadership and others desperate for someone who can unify the party, people are watching to see whether he changes his mind this week.

Current Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is leaving Congress as soon as Republicans find his replacement.

Reid praised Ryan's past work with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to hash out a budget deal in 2013. He said Ryan, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, could also be key to ensuring that Congress raises the debt limit before Nov. 3, at which point the nation will default on its debt if lawmakers don't act.
 
Reid's endorsement wouldn't exactly help Ryan if he decides to run and needs support among GOP conservatives. Asked whether he realized his comments could work against Ryan, the Nevada Democrat shrugged.
 
"I speak the truth," he said. "If it helps him, fine. If it doesn't, too bad."
 

CORRECTION: This story previously identified Reid as the Senate majority leader. 

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