He said he wanted to spend most weekends at home in Janesville, Wisconsin, where he and his wife, Janna, have three school-age children. In addition to the historically high number of Republican retirements, numerous other classic signs of a wave election are showing themselves: low approval ratings for the incumbent president, a consistent voter preference for the out-of-power party in polling questions and a growing enthusiasm gap among Democratic and Republican activists. Barack Obama and Donald Trump both said they would fix it and Washington has only gotten worse.
"I go back to my district and people couldn't be more ecstatic about the things we're doing", Florida Rep. Brian Mast said.
"If we do see those more moderate members going to the exits, who fills their space?"
Ryan's plans have been the source of much speculation and will set off a scramble among his lieutenants to take the helm.
Control of the House was already at risk in a tough midterm election.
He is giving up on getting entitlement reform. "If I am here for one more term my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad. I just can't let that happen", he explained.
"I want to get this done this spring", Ryan said at a news conference, referring to possible House passage of a farm bill with changes to nutrition assistance programs that is expected to face deep opposition.
Ryan on Sunday again stressed his focus on his family.
Paul Ryan has been seen as the future of the Republican party, and so for the most powerful Republican in the House to step down from power is not a vote of confidence for conservatives. Ryan has been "a steady force in contrast to the president's more mercurial tone", said Rep. Mark Sanford of SC. "What was the surprise was that he was announcing it before the election..." Even though he vowed to keep fulfilling his political responsibilities, he will not be almost the draw as a lame duck.
They include prominent traditionalists like Senator Bob Corker, congressmen Ed Royce, Mr Bob Goodlatte, and centrists Charlie Dent and Mr Dave Reichert. "Everybody figured he'd just hang in there till after the election".
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Republican tax bill Ryan pushed previous year will result in a federal deficit of $1.5 trillion in 2020. Along with Reps. Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, he branded himself a rising "young gun" in an aging party and a new breed of hard-charging Republican ready to shrink the size of government. When he ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, he released his 2010 tax return, which showed adjusted gross income of $3.2 million. Ryan (R-Wis.) has been part of the solution. We're all big fans of his policies here.
Under House Republican rules, when there are more than two candidates for any office and none receives a majority of the votes on the first ballot, the candidate with the lowest number of votes on that, and each succeeding ballot, will be dropped until one candidate receives a majority of the votes.