For months, there has been speculation on Capitol Hill centering on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and whether the longtime congressman will step away from Washington, D.C. Ryan squashed the rumor in December.
But the rumor mill was reignited on Monday after a Republican congressman told the media in his local district that he recently heard from the grapevine that Ryan will step aside in the coming weeks.
What did he say?
Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) told Nevada Newsmakers on Monday that he heard as recently as last week that Ryan will soon step aside and be replaced by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
"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 said.
"Now that is interesting, because no one has talked to members on how they are going to vote. 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," he explained.
Asked why Ryan would chose this time to step away from House leadership, Amodei explained that Ryan may have achieved everything he set out to do when he accepted the speaker's role in 2015. He also said Ryan likely wants to take a role on the national stage.
"If it, in fact, is true, I know that Paul Ryan thinks he wants to play on the national stage in some capacity or another, so I don't know what that means," Amodei said.
Why is this significant?
Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, many are warning of a Democratic "blue wave," a prediction that Democrats will make significant inroads in Congress this November. The idea is that because President Donald Trump is seen as unpopular, Democrats are in a position to strike.
If Ryan's resignation were even a remote possibility, it might make sense that it would come just before the primaries for midterm elections. It would give the GOP enough time to whip support for the new speaker at the grassroots level and help set an aggressive agenda for the House GOP just prior to election time.
If there's one thing that could wreck the Democrats' "blue wave," it's an invigorated GOP rallying behind a fresh leader in Congress.
How did Ryan's office respond?
Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement: "The speaker is not resigning."
How did Scalise's office respond?
Scalise spokeswoman Lauren Fine told The Hill:
Whip Scalise is proud to serve alongside Speaker Ryan and fully supports him to remain speaker. 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.