WASHINGTON, D.C.: US congressman Paul Ryan and hardline Republicans signaled Wednesday that he is closer to taking the role of speaker of the House after the majority of a conservative faction offered their support. Ryan, who had been hesitant to take the job, said he would only do so if the deeply divided Republican caucus would unify around him. On Wednesday he earned the support of many — but not all — in the House Freedom Caucus. Ryan, a Wisconsin native, was the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee. He chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, where he presides over tax policy. Claiming the speaker’s gavel would place him second in the line of succession to the presidency, after the vice president. Boehner announced that Republicans would pick their nominee October 28, with the full House voting the following day. He aims to step down October 30.