WASHINGTON — Comments by a Nevada congressman on Monday touched off the latest round of speculation that Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan might hang up his gavel and retire, with Louisiana's Steve Scalise a possible successor.
Monday's speculation came after U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nevada, said in an interview on "Nevada Newsmakers" that he'd been hearing chatter Ryan could leave his post this spring.
"The rumor mill is Paul Ryan is getting ready to resign in the next 30 to 60 days and that Steve Scalise will be the new speaker," Amodei said.
The latest suggestion of a leadership change on Capitol Hill prompted a denial from Ryan's office and a statement from a Scalise spokeswoman, who said the Jefferson Parish Republican and House majority whip is "proud to serve alongside" Ryan and "fully supports him to remain speaker."
"The speaker is not resigning," a Ryan spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, told The Associated Press.
Talk of Ryan's possible retirement has swirled around Capitol Hill for months, though few have suggested Ryan would depart before the end of the year.
Ryan, 48, has called reports of his potential retirement "rank speculation."
But the former Republican vice-presidential candidate also hasn't committed to running for re-election this fall, telling several media outlets over the past three months that he hasn't yet discussed the possibility of running for another term in Congress with his wife.
The deadline for congressional candidates in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin is June 1.
Scalise, the House's No. 3 Republican, is widely seen as a potential candidate to lead House Republicans should Ryan leave. But Scalise's office tamped down on the speculation Monday.
"Whip Scalise is proud to serve alongside Speaker Ryan, and fully supports him to remain speaker," Lauren Fine, a Scalise spokeswoman, said in a statement. "Our whole leadership team is focused on working with President Trump to deliver more conservative wins for the country, and also ensuring we keep the majority so we can continue implementing President Trump's agenda that is getting our economy back on track."
The current No. 2 Republican in the House, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, is above Scalise on the leadership ladder. But McCarthy, a Californian, was passed over for the speaker's post in 2015 after then-Speaker John Boehner resigned.
McCarthy ran for speaker at the time but couldn't collect the 218 votes — a majority of House members — to win the post, prompting Ryan, then the chairman House Appropriations Committee, to step forward.
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