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Speaker Ryan's Greatest Hurdle: Congressional Math

Ryan should have no problem dealing with Senate Republicans, but problems still remain. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

It's well-documented that Speaker Paul D. Ryan's success depends on his ability to work with the Republican Conference's right flank, but that's just the half.  

For any legislation to advance to the president's desk, the Wisconsin Republican must also find common ground with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. It's not as much a personality issue as it is congressional math, and that means balancing the desires of conservative hardliners with McConnell's reality of needing at least six Democratic votes to clear anything for the president's signature. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, who is no stranger to the far-right's ire, is optimistic. He said Ryan seemed like "the one guy" who could unite House Republicans on legislation that has a chance in the Senate.