- The Washington Times - Monday, January 12, 2015

Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, announced Monday that he will pass on a 2016 White House bid, saying he wants to focus instead on his job as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which puts him in charge of writing all tax laws.

The decision by is the latest to shape the Republican Party field, coming just days after his 2012 running mate, Mitt Romney, said he is considering a third run. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also have said they are actively exploring bids.

“I’ve decided not to run for President in ‘16,” Mr. Ryan said via Twitter. “My job as Chairman of Ways & Means Cmte deserves my undivided attention.”

The move ended speculation about what’s next for Mr. Ryan, who received mixed reviews for his performance as part of the 2012 GOP ticket but who, at the age of 44, is still seen as a rising star within the party and as an eventual candidate to succeed House Speaker John A. Boehner, who is 65.

As chairman of the House Budget Committee for the past six years, Mr. Ryan was a fixture in the high-profile spending battles on Capitol Hill, and negotiated a budget deal that helped ease friction during the spending process over the past two years.

Mr. Ryan was named chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee shortly after the November elections, when Republicans strengthened their majority in the House and took control of the Senate.

Mr. Ryan was running near the front of the pack in early presidential polls. His decision to take a pass means he wouldn’t have to face off against Gov. Scott Walker, a fellow Wisconsin Republican.

It also clears one of the hurdles that could have complicated the race for some of the party’s other fresh faces, including Mr. Walker, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas.

It just so happened that right around the time Mr. Ryan was announcing his decision, Mr. Cruz was laying out his vision for the future of the Republican Party at the Conservative Policy Summit hosted by Heritage Action for America in Washington.

Mr. Cruz called on Republican lawmakers to follow through with campaign promises, including to repeal Obamacare, open up federal lands to more energy exploration and stop President Obama’s executive action granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. He also called on lawmakers to do more to confront the rise of Islamic militants and Iranian leaders over their disputed nuclear program. “It ain’t complicated; we need to do what we said we would do,” Mr. Cruz said.

Mr. Paul, meanwhile, is scheduled to speak near the end of the two-day summit Tuesday. On Wednesday, Mr. Paul plans to travel to New Hampshire, which hosts the first-in-the-nation primary, where he has six stops planned.

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