“The rumor mill is that Paul Ryan is getting ready to resign in the next 30 to 60 days and that Steve Scalise will be the new Speaker,” Amodei told Nevada Newsmakers, referring to the Majority Whip from Louisiana.
“Now that is interesting, because no one has talked to members on how they are going to vote,” he added. “Now, maybe they have talked to all of the members but me. I don’t know, so that is the rumor mill from last week.”
Ryan’s office denied that the Speaker is heading for the exit. Ryan has said he and his wife will decide in the spring about whether he will run for reelection.
“The speaker is not resigning,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement Monday.
Questions about Ryan’s political future — and who could replace him has Speaker — have been swirling all year.
Growing concern about a Democratic wave in the midterms, as well as the passage of a massive government funding package last week, have stepped up speculation that this may be Ryan’s last Congress as Speaker.
Ryan also succeeded last year in shepherding tax reform through Congress, providing him with a long-sought goal.
“If I was just guessing, he wanted to do the tax bill,” Amodei said, when pressed on why Ryan would decide to leave now. “You know, [former Speaker] John Boehner said the same thing: ‘Hey, when I checked all of the boxes I thought were important and I’m moving on to whatever else.’ “
Amodei, who is not a close ally of Ryan’s, emphasized that he was just repeating a rumor. But the on-the-record comments from a Republican lawmaker — and the suggestion that Ryan could resign before the midterms — made waves on Monday, briefly crashing the Nevada Newsmakers website.
Scalise, whose star has risen since he survived a shooting at a GOP baseball practice year, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are both seen as possible contenders to replace Ryan as Speaker if he doesn’t stick around.
But Scalise’s office pushed back against the rumor that he is eyeing the Speaker’s gavel, saying Scalise is focused on his job in Congress and keeping the majority.
“Whip Scalise is proud to serve alongside Speaker Ryan and fully supports him to remain Speaker,” said Lauren Fine, Scalise’s spokeswoman. “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.”
This article originally appeared on thehill.com