US House Republicans Nominate Paul Ryan As Speaker. Photo:  AFP
US House Republicans Nominate Paul Ryan As Speaker. Photo: AFP

Paul Ryan has been nominated by Republican members of the US House of Representatives to continue as Speaker.

Following Tuesday’s closed-doors vote at the Capitol, the 46-year-old lawmaker from Wisconsin tweeted: “It is a tremendous honour to be nominated by my colleagues to serve as Speaker of the House. Now it’s time to go big.”

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Democrats and Republicans will formally vote to elect the chamber’s speaker after newly-elected lawmakers take up their seats on 3 January.

Ryan all but Speaker again

Given that the Republicans maintain their majority in the House, Ryan’s re-election as speaker is essentially a foregone conclusion.

On the Democratic side, internal divisions have delayed the election of a party leader in the House until November 30.

The role is currently held by 76-year-old Nancy Pelosi. But she may face a challenge from the party’s young guard, in the person of 43-year-old Ohio lawmaker Tim Ryan.

Easy ride for Trump?

The Republican majority in both the House and Senate is expected to clear the way for President-elect Donald Trump to roll out much of his conservative agenda unfettered.

In a sign that the party leadership’s resistance to the maverick billionaire has all but disappeared, House Republicans assembling for the internal vote were each given one of Trump’s trademark red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps.

In support of Trump

Ryan himself , who on several occasions criticized Trump during the campaign, has swung firmly behind the 45th US president.

“Seventy percent of the people in this nation think America is going down the wrong path,” Ryan told a news conference on Tuesday morning.

“They now just said, get on a better way, a better path. That’s our job. Not to look backwards but to look forward.”

Trump and the Republicans appear to be in broad agreement on a roadmap. And that includes replacing President Barack Obama’s trademark health care law, building a wall — or fence — on the Mexican border, and slashing taxes.

“We’re on the same page with our president-elect,” Ryan said. “I talked with Donald Trump virtually every single day.”

Definitive results from last Tuesday’s election have yet to come in. But Republicans are assured of holding at least 239 seats in the House of Representatives. That is  against 193 for Democrats, and at least 51 of 100 seats in the Senate.