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Republicans nominate Paul Ryan as House speaker

After weeks of uncertainty, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan has been officially nominated by his party to serve as the next Speaker of the House.

Two hundred of the House's 247 Republicans backed Paul's bid in the secret-ballot vote. His only announced rival, Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida, received 43 votes.

In a closed-door meeting Wednesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy nominated Ryan, with Reps. Jeb Hensarling and Kristi Noem seconding the nomination.

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The full election for Speaker of the House will take place in the full House on Thursday, when members of both parties will vote publicly to award the gavel.

Early this month, the House was thrown into chaos after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who was widely expected to succeed outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, abruptly dropped out of the race for the job.

"If we are going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to help do that," McCarthy said, explaining his sudden decision to exit the election on October 8.

Desperate to fill the leadership vacuum, Republicans implored Ryan, the party's 2012 vice presidential nominee and chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, to run for the post instead.

The Wisconsin Republican repeatedly refused, citing his young family and his commitment to his influential job on the House's tax-writing panel. But after a key pledge of support from the conservative House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group that had badgered Boehner and McCarthy, Ryan said last week that he was ready to accept the job.

Ryan's nomination comes just hours before the House is set to vote on a sweeping two-year budget deal that would largely neutralize the flashpoints that dogged Boehner throughout his tenure. The agreement would defer any threat of a government shutdown or a debt default until after the 2016 election.

Ryan has criticized the "closed-door" talks that led to the bipartisan deal, even though observers have pointed out the agreement's similarities with a budget agreement Ryan helped negotiate in 2013.

But Ryan also said Wednesday that he will vote for the agreement despite his concerns. "There is no doubt that a better process would have produced a better result. If I'm elected Speaker, we will begin a conversation about how to approach these big issues - as a team - long before we reach these kinds of deadlines," he said in a statement, adding "What has been produced will go a long way toward relieving the uncertainty hanging over us, and that's why I intend to support it."