WASHINGTON (AP) — Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers late Tuesday that he will run for speaker, but only if they embrace him by week's end as their consensus candidate — an ambitious bid to impose unity on a disordered and divided House.
Ryan spoke to the House GOP behind closed doors and said if all factions can share his vision and he can get the endorsement of the major caucuses, then he "be all in."
"We as a conference should unify now," Ryan told reporters later. "What I told members is if you can agree to these requests and if I can truly be a unifying figure, then I will gladly serve, and if I am not unifying, that is fine as well — I will be happy to stay where I am."
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Ryan to seek speakership if unity candidate of House GOP
Speaker of the House Denis Hastert (L) administers the oath of office to Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin as his family looks on January 6, 1999 at the start of the 106th Congress. The oath is a recreation as the formal oath is administered to the entire congress as a body on the floor of the House. (photo by Rex Banner)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 12: Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks at a news conference in which House Republican leaders called for Permanent Tax Relief. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
KRT US NEWS STORY SLUGGED: SOCIALSECURITY-DISCUSSION KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY GEORGE BRIDGES/KRT (April 14) Conversation on Social Security between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), shown, and William Novelli, head of AARP, April 5, 2005 (lde) 2005 (Photo by George Bridges/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 22: MEDICARE BRIEFING--Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks at a Cato Institute briefing on Medicare reform in the Rayburn House Office Building. Tom Miller, director of Health Policy Studies at Cato, looks on. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 24: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) questions Peter Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office, during a hearing on Capitol Hill about the impact of recent market turmoil on the federal budget on September 24, 2008 in Washington, DC. Orszag reported that while the impact is currently unknown, it is likely to be substantially less than $700 billion. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 27: House Budget Committee ranking member Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) delivers an opening statement during a conference committee meeting with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) (L) and House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-SC) in the U.S. Capitol April 27, 2009 in Washington, DC. House and Senate lawmakers have already struck a tentative deal on the FY2010 budget resolution and they hope to file a conference report after today's meeting. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 19: (L-R) U.S. House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) listen during a news conference on the health care legislation March 19, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The House will vote on the Health Care Reform Legislation on Sunday, March 21. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 5, 2011. U.S. House Republicans today unveiled a plan to overhaul the federal budget and slash the deficit in coming years by about three-quarters, with a $6-trillion cut in spending and 25 percent cap on tax rates. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) left, and moderator David Gregory, right, appear on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, April 10, 2011. (Photo by William B. Plowman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 01: Republican Presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) jokes with U.S. Rep Paul Ryan (C) (R-WI) during a pancake brunch at Bluemound Gardens on April 1, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With less than a week before the Wisconsin primary, Mitt Romney continues to campaign through the state. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 26: House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is introduced before speaking about 'America's Enduring Promise,' and the federal budget, in a speech at Georgetown University April 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. During his speech, Ryan said that his proposed budget confronts the nation's growing $15 trillion debt before it impacts future generations of Americans. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
NORFOLK, VA - AUGUST 11: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) jokes with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) after announcing him as the 'next PRESIDENT of the United States' during an event announcing him as his running mate in front of the USS Wisconsin August 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Virginia. Ryan, a seven term congressman, is Chairman of the House Budget Committee and provides a strong contrast to the Obama administration on fiscal policy. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 14: Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Vice Presidential candidate, waves to the crowd after addressing the Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Woodley Park. Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - SEPTEMBER 18: Republican vice presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), pauses as he speaks during a campaign rally at Christopher Newport University September 18, 2012 in Newport News, Virginia. Ryan continued to campaign for the upcoming presidential election. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Republican vice presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) hugs waitress, Lourdes Alcerro, during a campaign stop at Versailles restaurant in the Little Havana neighborhood on September 22, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Ryan continues to campaign for votes across the country. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R) and running-mate Paul Ryan share a laugh as they are introduced at a campaign rally September 25, 2012 at Dayton International Airport in Vandalia, Ohio. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)
Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, arrives at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. Ryan said he'd be willing to run for speaker of the U.S. House if Republicans unify behind him now, end leadership crises and let him continue spending time with his family. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, center right, walks down the steps of the U.S. Capitol building following a vote in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. Ryan is under heavy pressure from fellow Republicans to run for U.S. House speaker after a hard-line faction forced Speaker John Boehner to resign and his top lieutenant to drop out of the race. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, walks to a meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. Ryan is set to meet with a group of House conservatives Tuesday as he weighs a potential run to replace Speaker John Boehner under pressure from fellow Republicans. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, center, talks to the media after walking out of the U.S. Capitol building following a vote in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. Ryan is under heavy pressure from fellow Republicans to run for U.S. House speaker after a hard-line faction forced Speaker John Boehner to resign and his top lieutenant to drop out of the race. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 20 - Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks at a news conference following a House Republican meeting, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. Ryan is stating that he will run for speaker only if he receives enough GOP support by the end of the week. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, awaits the arrival of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin for a meeting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, December 10, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) holds his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill on December 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Paul Ryan spoke on topics including Donald Trump and the spending bill. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-WI) speaks during a Politico interview at the Grand Hyatt on December 15, 2015 in Washington DC. Ryan was interviewed by Politico's Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen during a Politico Playbook Breakfast. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) (L) holds ceremonial swearing-in for Representative-elect Ralph Norman (R-SC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks after Senate Republicans unveiled their version of legislation that would replace Obamacare on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan introduces his new tax policy at the National Association of Manufacturers Summit in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan visits members of the Republican team prior to the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington, U.S., June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks to the press about President Donald Trump, former FBI Director James Comey and Russia investigations as Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) looks on after a closed meeting of the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with members of the Republican Congressional leadership at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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The 45-year-old Ryan, under intense pressure to seek the post, gave his colleagues until Friday to express their support. The question will be whether he can win over the hardline House Freedom Caucus, which drove the current speaker, John Boehner, to announce his resignation and scared off Boehner's No. 2, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Ryan, the GOP's 2012 vice presidential nominee, had consistently said he does not want to be speaker and would prefer to stay on as chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, which he's described as his dream job.
But he's been under heavy pressure to reconsider from Boehner and other party leaders who argue he is the only House Republican with the stature and broad popularity to unite a caucus divided against itself, at a moment of deep turmoil.
Congress is hurtling toward an early November deadline to raise the federal borrowing limit or invite a first-ever default, and a deadline to pass spending legislation or risk a government shutdown will follow in early December.
Several members of the fractious Freedom Caucus were unconvinced after hearing from Ryan.
"I think he has to campaign for it. We've heard one speech," said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. "We're willing to listen but it's the beginning of the conversation as far as I'm concerned."
Ryan laid out a number of conditions under which he would serve, all of them aimed at defusing an atmosphere of constant chaos and crisis that has hung over the House for the past several years as a large group of tea party-backed lawmakers pushed for confrontation with the White House and demanded changes that the strictures of divided government never could deliver.
The history of the House speaker:
House Speaker Timeline
Ryan to seek speakership if unity candidate of House GOP
Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg, Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg (1750-1801) Served As A Member Of The Continental Congress And The First Speaker Of The House Of Representatives. (Photo By Encyclopaedia Britannica/UIG Via Getty Images)
Portrait of American politician and merchant Jonathan Trumbull (1710 - 1785), colonial governor of Connecticut, 1770s. (Photo by Stock Montage/Getty Images)
Engraving depicting Jonathan Dayton (1760-1824), American politician, USA, circa 1810. By Albert Rosenthal. (Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images)
E2 NATHANIEL MACON Speaker of U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senator. Lived 1758-1837
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1843: Portrait of Henry Clay; the Great Compromiser. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
Engraved portrait of United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Philip Pendleton Barbour (1783 - 1841) as he wears a coat, vest, and cravat, mid 19th Century. (Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images)
circa 1850: John Bell (1797-1869), American politician. Member, US House of Representatives, 1827-1841; Speaker of the House, 1834-1835; US Secretary of War, 1841; US Senate, 1847-1859. Original Artwork: Engraved by A H Ritchie (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
James K. Polk (1795-1849) 11th president of the United States. James Knox Polk served as the 17th Speaker of the House of Representatives and Governor of Tennessee. Polk was the surprise candidate for president in 1844, defeating Henry Clay of the rival Whig Party by promising to invade and annex Texas. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Engraved portrait of Robert Charles Winthrop, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, with his signature, circa 1860. Engraved by A H Ritchie. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Howell Cobb, Howell Cobb (1815-1868), Southern Congressman Who Supported The Union And The Compromise Of 1850 Regarding Slavery In The United States. (Photo By Encyclopaedia Britannica/UIG Via Getty Images)
Full length portrait of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks (1816 - 1894), in full uniform, facing left, 1861. By Mathew Brady. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
circa 1865: James Lawrence Orr (1822-1873). American politician, South Carolina anti-secessionist in US Congress 1848-59, member, US Senate 1861, joined Confederacy, governor, South Carolina 1865-68, US ambassador to Russia 1872-73. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Galusha A. Grow - Brady-Handy.
Photogravure portrait of American politician US Secretary of State James G. Blaine (1830 - 1893), 1884.
Michael C. Kerr - Brady-Handy.
circa 1870: Samuel Jackson Randall (1828-1890). American politician. Member, common council of Philadelphia, PA 1852-55, member, Pennsylvania state senate 1858-59, member, US House of Representatives 1863-90, serving as Speaker of the US House of Representatives 1876-81. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Politician and major general during the Spanish-American War, Joseph Warren Keifer (1836 - 1932), circa 1885. (Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images)
An engraved portrait of President Cleveland's Secretary of the Treasury John G Carlisle (1835-1910), circa 1880. (Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images)
Thomas Brackett Reed, American politician, 1898. A Republican congressman from Maine, Reed twice served as Speaker of the House of Representatives, from 1889-1891 and again from 1895-1899. A print from Our Country in War and Relations with All Nations, by Murat Halstead, The United Subscription Book Publishers of America, 1898. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
An engraved portrait of Republican leader Joseph Gurney Cannon (1836-1926), circa 1890s. (Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images)
1905: Wedding portrait of Nicholas Longworth (left) and Alice Roosevelt posing with the bride's father, U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt. The bride is wearing a white dress, white gloves, a veil, and a train. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Portrait of John William McCormack (1891 - 1980), the 53rd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, 1963. Washington, D.C. (Photo by Bachrach/Getty Images)
circa 1985: American Democratic congressman from Massachusetts and Speaker of the House from 1976-1986, Thomas 'Tip' O'Neill, speaking and wearing a gray suit with a red tie. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - October 7: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, October 7, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
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He said he encourages changes to rules and procedures — something eagerly sought by members of the Freedom Caucus who claim they've been shut out of legislating in the House. But he said any such changes must be made as a team, with input from all.
He sought a change in the process for a "motion to vacate the chair" — the procedure conservatives were threatening against Boehner, which would have resulted in a floor vote on his speakership and ultimately drove him to resign.
He also made clear to lawmakers that family comes first and that he would be spending less time on the road than Boehner, who traveled nearly every weekend raising money for the party. Ryan, by contrast, has school-age kids in Janesville, Wisconsin and wants to be able to continue to visit them.