>> It's been a wild ride.>> Speaker Paul Ryan's days in Congress are numbered. But the drama touched off by his coming retirement is just starting to unfold. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, where Ryan's bombshell decision to step down is opening up a massive power vacuum on Capitol Hill.
Ryan says he wants to stay on as speaker through January, but he's always seen as a lame duck, and some Republicans are saying he should step down sooner rather than later. They are worried that he won't be able to advance the republican agenda or raise the money they need to get through the 2018 mid-term elections.
All of this adding yet another layer of chaos, in a town that's already seen more than it's fair share. Ryan's surprise move puts him in a growing club. Nearly one in five Republicans in the House of Representatives have decided not to run for re-election. At least one more joining those ranks since Ryan bowed out.
Analysts say Democrats stand a good chance of winning control of the chamber.>> The Speaker of the House.>> Law makers like Tom Graves, pushing for new blood, saying matters will only get worse if Ryan hangs on as Speaker through the midterms.>> I've talked to a lot of members, a lot of members, who think it's in all of our best interests for this leaderships team to stay in place.
>> Ryan's lieutenants are already angling for his job. Majority leader Kevin McCarthy, seen as the front runner. But he's come up short before, unable to scrape up the votes in 2015. Steve Scalise, the number three house republican is also in the mix. Still recovering after being shot at a baseball practice.
Congress doesn't have much left on it's plate this year, priorities of president Trump like infrastructure, and a border wall, were already seen as dead in the water. But republicans will have to pass another spending bill to avoid a government shut down shortly before the November elections. Trillion dollar deficits on the horizon as well.
A legacy of Ryan's steep tax cuts. There's another intangible here. Ryan is a pillar of the chamber of commerce wing of the Republican party, seen as a reassuring figure by business leaders, who are spooked by Trump's America first approach to trade, in his appetite for cultural wars. Ryan has avoided criticizing Trump in public since taking office, but he's certainly aired their differences behind closed doors, urging him not to interfere with the Russia probe for example.
Now there will be one less voice in the room urging restraint.