>> Paul Ryan on Tuesday cast doubt on reports that fellow Republicans are leaning on him to step down as House Speaker before the midterm elections.>> The members drafted me into this job because of who I am and what I stand for.>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, where Paul Ryan can't seem to swad down persistent rumors that he may be forced to give up the Speaker's gavel months before he leaves town.
Reports in recent days suggesting that at least Republicans would like to see him step down well before he's ready to do so. Ryan saying any such move would be counter productive.>> Our members realized what we wanna do is act on our agenda, improve people's lives, and having a divisive leadership election at this time would prevent us from doing that.
>> Ryan had previously announced that he would not seek re-election to his Wisconsin House seat, but said he intended to remain as Speaker through the end of the year. White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney added fuel to the speculation at a conference last week, saying that he and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had discussed the idea of Ryan giving up his post in the coming months.
>> Let me be very clear that I read that report. The report's not true. When they brought it to me, it's not true.>> McCarthy is widely considered to be the favorite to become Speaker whenever Ryan steps down. The drum beat for Ryan's possible early replacement has grown louder in recent days after a disastrous effort to pass a new Farm Bill.
The bill collapsing in the House amid infighting between infighting between Republican moderates and conservatives over how to tackle immigration. These moderates are trying to force a vote that would protect the young immigrants known as dreamers from deportation. Meanwhile conservatives are pushing for a much tougher immigration measure. This is the sort of Republican infighting that prompted Ryan's predecessor, John Boehner, to give up the Speaker's gavel a few years back.
Ryan was seen as the one figure who could unite these different factions of his party, but these divisions are proving too severe, even for him.