Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) keeps his job as Speaker after just one House Republican voted against him this week.
But Ryan’s victory turned sour after he and the Majority Leader defended an attempt to weaken the independent ethics office.
Many rank-and-file members protested, and Ryan had to back down. NIU political science professor Matt Streb says deep divisions remain within the caucus.
"I think this shows you that, although there was support for Ryan as Speaker, there's still a lot of difficult negotiation ahead," Streb says.
Ryan could also find himself at odds with the incoming president, Donald Trump. Many House Republicans want to keep a hard line on spending, which may conflict with Trump's campaign promise to improve the nation's infrastructure.
The biggest difference between Ryan and Trump could involve trade. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly said China should be slapped with an import tax for "ripping of America." Trump also called the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact a "total disaster."
Streb predicts Trump will hit a roadblock if he tries to upset America’s trading partners.
"His views on trade look very different from traditional Republican views on trade. So that's one issue where you're going to see some differences," Streb says.
Trump takes the oath of office on Jan. 20.