New Mexico’s three U.S. House representatives struck significantly different tones today when taking on the topic of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s retirement announcement.
The Wisconsin Republican – among the most powerful people in the U.S. – surprised Washington early Wednesday when he announced he would not seek reelection to another term in November.
Rep. Steve Pearce, a conservative Freedom Caucus member who has clashed with mainstream GOP House leadership over spending and other issues in the past, nevertheless voted for Ryan for Speaker in 2015 and praised his colleague on Wednesday.
“Serving as the Speaker of the House is not an easy job,” Pearce said. “Paul Ryan hit the ground running with the goal of achieving fiscal reform, and he did just that by working with Congress and the President to get the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed and signed into law. I offer my congratulations and appreciation for his steadfast leadership. As a Congress, we must remain dedicated to building our nation’s economy and preserving the values that guide us towards prosperity.”
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, took a more political and pointed aim at the Speaker.
“I think Speaker Ryan sees what’s coming in November,” Lujan said, referring to the upcoming midterm elections. “He knows that the failed strategies he and his Republican colleagues have pushed through Congress have hurt the American people.”
“It started with a repeal of basic health protections and affordable healthcare, and culminated in tax package filled with giveaways to corporations and the top one percent at the expense of middle class families,” Lujan said. “I think the negative reaction to those policies, coupled with the results in recent special elections, were very clear to Speaker Ryan and contributed to his decision to retire.”
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, also a Democrat, took a measured approach to her Republican colleague’s resignation.
“I first knew Speaker Ryan as Chairman Ryan when I served on the House Budget Committee with him and despite our distinct political differences, he always treated me with dignity and respect,” Lujan Grisham said. “Shortly after I was elected, we met to discuss the Budget Committee and how I can best advocate for New Mexico priorities as a new Member of Congress.
I am hopeful that this announcement gives Speaker Ryan the freedom to let the House work its will and allow votes on resolving important issues, including protecting DREAMERS, advancing gun violence reform, and passing a badly needed infrastructure package. I wish him and his family all the best and thank him for his service.”