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Timeline: Paul Ryan’s Two Decades as a Lawmaker

A look back at his career and speakership

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Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced Wednesday that he would not seek re-election this fall, bringing his two-decade career in the House of Representatives to an end in 2019. Here’s a look at what Ryan is leaving to the history books.

Nov. 1998: Ryan is first elected to the House with 57 percent of the district’s vote.

Dec. 2008: With a General Motors plant in the process of closing in his hometown and a nearby Chrysler plant struggling, Ryan is one of only 32 House Republicans to vote in favor of a $14 billion legislative bailout of the domestic automobile industry. Both plants proceed to close despite the law’s passage.

Jan. 2011: Ryan begins a four-year stint as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Aug. 2012: Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign announces Ryan will join the ticket as the vice presidential candidate. The duo go on to lose as President Barack Obama wins re-election.

Jan. 2015: Ryan becomes Ways and Means Committee chairman and serves in the position until elected speaker in October.

youngest-speakers-01 (1)Oct. 2015: GOP members elect Ryan speaker of the House after Ohio Republican John A. Boehner’s resignation leads to a tumultuous five-week scramble to find a replacement. Ryan becomes the youngest speaker since 1881.

Nov. 2016: President Donald Trump is the first Republican president to win Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan, carrying Ryan’s district by 10 points. After long resisting, Ryan had finally endorsed Trump six months before Election Day. Ryan wins his own re-election with 65 percent of the district’s vote.

March 2017: Moderates and far-right House Republicans force Ryan to cancel a planned vote on repealing Obama’s signature health care law. The bill is one of the clearest examples of the central challenge for recent Republican speakers: uniting enough of a coalition among party factions to pass legislation.

June 2017: After a shooter opened fire at a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., severely wounding Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others, Ryan makes a memorable floor speech calling for members to remain united, regardless of party, “For all the noise and all the fury, we are a family.”

Dec. 2017: Congress gives Trump and Republican members a win by passing a $1.5 trillion tax cut. Though it is smaller than two of Obama’s tax cuts and far from the dramatic overhaul that Ryan had regularly proposed during his time in the House, he cites it as his chief Capitol Hill achievement.

April 2018: Ryan announces he won’t run for re-election. During his statement, he says several times he didn’t want to be a ‘weekend dad’ to his children. He plans to leave the House in January and his tenure as speaker will be the shortest since Texas Democrat Jim Wright’s 1989 resignation.