John_Boehner

Oh, happy day! – CVP

The Hill Speaker John Boehner told GOP lawmakers on Friday he will resign at the end of October. 

The embattled Ohio Republican will resign from both his Speakership and his House seat, he told GOP lawmakers at a closed-door conference meeting.

“Speaker Boehner believes that the first job of any Speaker is to protect this institution and, as we saw yesterday with the Holy Father, it is the one thing that unites and inspires us all,” a Boehner aide said. 

The aide said the Speaker had only been planning to serve through the end of last year but decided to stay on after then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) suffered a stunning primary loss. 

“The Speaker believes putting members through prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution,” the aide said.
“He is proud of what this majority has accomplished, and his Speakership, but for the good of the Republican Conference and the institution, he will resign the Speakership and his seat in Congress, effective October 30.”
 
Boehner’s decision comes as Congress struggles to find a way to fund the government. 
 
Boehner’s leadership has become a part of that struggle. Conservatives unhappy with his style have repeatedly threatened to seek to unseat him.
 
They’ve specifically suggested that they will be watching his steps on a government funding plan, and they’ve demanded that he take action to halt federal funds for Planned Parenthood as part of a measure to keep the government open.
 
GOP leaders in both the House and the Senate have criticized that strategy, saying it could lead to a shutdown that would hurt Republicans in the 2016 elections. 
 
The latest spending fight is just a microcosm of Boehner’s long-standing problems in running the Republican conference, which has repeatedly bucked his direction.
 
His announcement also comes a day after one of the biggest moments of Boehner’s career: Pope Francis’s visit to Capitol Hill and address to Congress. It was long a goal of Boehner’s to have a pope address the Congress, and he had difficulty on Thursday keeping his emotions in check.
 
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) emerged from the private House meeting to say that members were “stunned” when Boehner announced his decision.

“Everybody’s still in sort of a state of shock,” he said.

According to Mica, Boehner told members that he thought opposition to his role as Speaker was becoming a distraction from broader policy debates.

“He just does not want to become the issue,” said Mica. “Some people have tried to make him the issue, both in Congress and outside.

“We’ll just have to regroup. We faced challenges before.”

Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot, a fellow Ohio Republican and close Boehner ally, described the room as “somber.”

The famously emotional Boehner shed some tears, as did many other lawmakers.

“You have to put up with a lot of crap when you’re Speaker, and he’s put up with a lot of it,” Chabot said, emerging from the meeting. “I hope the next person on the next team will bring this conference together and do what’s necessary to move this country forward.”

A GOP lawmaker in the room said the meeting also had moments of laughter. Boehner and lawmakers joked about his favorite endearing term for his colleagues: “shithead.”

Even Boehner’s closest friends didn’t get a heads-up from Boehner. Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), one of Boehner’s staunchest defenders, said he was in the dark until Friday’s bombshell. 
 
Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said someone slipped her a note right before he meeting saying Boehner would resign. 
 
Thoughts immediately turned to who might succeed Boehner. 

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is seen as one strong possibility. 

“I assume Kevin McCarthy would likely succeed him,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

The Hill reported last week that conservatives were warming to the idea of McCarthy as Speaker, as part of a coalition that would also include other conservative lawmakers. 

Members of the House Freedom Caucus had held informal conversations about such a coalition, with one conservative lawmaker personally informing McCarthy over the summer recess of the discussions, and that he would have his support. 
 
Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) has already been approaching colleagues about a potential leadership run, lawmakers say.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a co-founder of the Freedom Caucus who has been a thorn on Boehner’s side in recent weeks, said the Speaker had “served with honor and distinction and his resignation was done with real class.”

Meadows, before Congress’s August recess, introduced a measure that could have led to Boehner’s ouster. Since then, he and other conservatives had suggested they might try to force a vote on the measure to end Boehner’s Speakership.

On Friday, Meadows said he would not run for the position.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats had kind words for Boehner.
 
“Speaker John Boehner is a decent, principled conservative man who tried to do the right thing under almost impossible circumstances,” Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), likely to be the next Senate Democratic leader, said in a statement.  
 
“He will be missed by Republicans and Democrats alike,” Schumer added.
 
“Let us hope the Republican majority, which Speaker Boehner played a large role in creating, learns the right lesson from his resignation: to work with Democrats in a constructive way, rather than let a handful of extreme right-wingers dictate his party’s policy.”
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