LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

House Speakership: A 75-Year Timeline Of Mounting Frustration

U.S. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn takes his position in the speaker's chair of the House of Representatives in 1941.

Though it holds immense power, the House speakership seems like the worst job in Washington these days. Current Speaker John Boehner wants to leave, but after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suddenly dropped out of the contest, it could be anybody's race. Rep. Paul Ryan doesn't want to do it, though he's been prodded, and it's not clear any other candidate has enough consensus to win on the House floor. The House now plans to choose a new speaker at the end of this month, if it can.

Today's struggle seems like a lot of drama, but a look back a the speakership shows that, at least since the 1940s, it's had more than its share of tension, struggle and rebellion. And extreme partisanship on Capitol Hill has made the job even more unmanageable:

(We have a look at the rise of power in the House here, including why some earlier speakers were called czars).

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)