Ryan, Paul Davis

Ryan, Paul Davis, 1972–, U.S. politician, b. Janesville, Wis., grad. Miami Univ. (B.S. 1992), Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (2015–19). A politically active, conservative Republican, he was influenced by the economic theories of Hayek and Friedman and the political philosophy of Ayn Rand. In 1998 he first won election as a U.S. representative from Wisconsin. A member of the House Budget Committee, he became its ranking Republican in 2007 and chairman in 2011. Ryan has advocated reducing government spending, privatizing Social Security, replacing Medicare with a voucher program, turning Medicaid into block grants to states, repealing President Obama's health-care legislation, and lowering income-tax rates. A favorite of Tea Party Republicans, he was chosen by Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, as his running mate; the two lost to the incumbents, Obama and Biden, in the general election. When John Boehner stepped down as House speaker in 2015 due in large part to party squabbles, Ryan succeeded him with some reluctance. He retired from Congress in 2019.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies