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House Republicans on Friday quietly adopted a new rule that could complicate Rep. Paul Ryan’s options if he decides to run for president in 2016.
The rule would require committee chairmen to resign their leadership posts if they were to run for another office such as for president or for the Senate. The next highest ranking Republican on the committee would then take over until a new chairman is selected.
Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, is expected to be selected early next week as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. If the Wisconsin Republican were to make a presidential run himself in 2016, he would need to turn in his gavel, according to the rule. But, a waiver could be granted by the Steering Committee – run by Speaker John Boehner – that could allow Ryan to do both.
The rule was offered by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and was passed by voice vote at a closed door GOP organizing conference. House Republicans who support it say the measure was not aimed at Ryan.
Cole’s spokesman told NBC News: “This rule was not directed at any one member in particular. If it's needed, it's meant to serve as a review to always keep the best interest of the conference at the forefront.”
One of the main arguments in support of the rule, according to Congressional aides, is that serving as both committee chairman and running for another office would also hinder the member’s ability to raise sufficient funds for the National Republican Congressional Committee.