WASHINGTON – Speaker Paul Ryan is losing his grip on the feuding House Republican conference just months before pivotal midterm elections, caught between dueling factions vying for power inside the party and facing scattered calls for his departure ahead of a planned year-end retirement. The unrest comes in the wake of a humiliating defeat for Ryan and other GOP leaders last week, when conservatives sank a farm bill amid a broader dispute over immigration policy, and threatens to spark months of bitter infighting as Republican lawmakers try to make the case that they should be returned to power in Washington. But there is no clear way out for the party. Numerous aides and lawmakers said Tuesday there is not a viable alternative to Ryan who can win enough support within the GOP for a clean transition before November – and there is little stomach at the moment for the messy battle that would ensue when Ryan departs. “Whoever comes in is going to walk right into a buzz saw,” said Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, a Ryan supporter. “Who better than Paul, who came in under these circumstances, to continue to calm the waters?” Ryan’s preferred successor is Majority Leader Kevin… Read full this story
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