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Pledging To 'Wipe The Slate Clean,' Wisconsin's Paul Ryan Elected House Speaker

Newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks Thursday in the House Chamber.
Andrew Harnik
Newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks Thursday in the House Chamber.

This post was updated at 11:20 a.m. ET

Paul Ryan has been elected speaker of the House of Representatives, receiving 236 votes.

Ryan faced the full House vote Thursday after getting approval Wednesday from the House Republican conference. He faced token opposition from fellow conservative Daniel Webster and Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

"The House is broken, we're not solving problems, we're adding to them. And I'm not interested in laying blame ... we are wiping the slate clean," Ryan said after the vote. He called on the committees to take the lead in drafting all major legislation, and for a return to regular order.

Boehner is expected to submit his letters of resignation — one to Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the other to Ryan — informing them he will resign his congressional seat effective 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31. Boehner made farewell remarks in the House chamber earlier in the morning.

Ryan has said at least three times in the past year that he did not want the job, but he was pressured to run after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suddenly withdrew from the race.

In an exit interview with NPR's Susan Davis, outgoing speaker John Boehner praised Ryan, calling him "the right person to lead our team at this time."

"He's an innovative thinker who's focused on giving more Americans more opportunity to achieve the American dream and I think he's got the skill set to do this job and frankly I'm very confident he'll do it well," Boehner said. He expects Ryan will have an easier time building bridges within the House GOP.

That job may have been made easier after House and Senate leadership, along with the president, reached a two-year agreement on the budget and debt ceiling earlier this week. That deal passed in the House on Wednesday.

Ryan called for party unity as a condition of his running — he did get three House Republican conferences to support him, but only time will tell whether that signals true unity. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Ryan said: "We are turning the page. We are not going to have a House that looked like it looked the last few years."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Amita Kelly is a Washington editor, where she works across beats and platforms to edit election, politics and policy news and features stories.

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