Boehner to resign as Speaker, quit Congress in October
Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, became Speaker in January 2011, following the midterm election that gave GOP the majority in the House of Representatives.
“I was never in the legacy business,” he said at the press conference Friday afternoon, shrugging off suggestions that the resignation was inspired by the papal visit or the rebellion in Republican ranks.
“It’s become clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution” of the Speaker, he told reporters.
Boehner thanked his family, staff and constituents for electing him 13 times. He spent 25 years in Washington.
“Really, it’s been wonderful,” he said.
Speaker Boehner just announced in Conference that he will resign as Speaker and from Congress at the end of October.— Rep. Bill Huizenga (@RepHuizenga) September 25, 2015
The announcement comes as Republicans square off with with minority Democrats over funding arrangements. The impasse threatens to cause a government shutdown on October 1.
Boehner aide's full statement on impending resignation. Comes amid rumblings of conservative coup. pic.twitter.com/ZB3IY8xdbC— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) September 25, 2015
In a statement released by an aide, Boehner said he would be resigning "for the good of the Republican Conference and the institution."
The aide told reporters that the Ohio lawmaker had originally planned to leave at the end of last year, but decided to stay on after the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, suffered a shocking loss in the primaries.
Boehner has had a long run in Congress and it's hard to imagine the last few months, perhaps last few years, of speakership have been fun.— Jim Antle (@jimantle) September 25, 2015
"He didn't give anyone a heads up. This was a complete surprise to all of us," said Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, according to the Washington Post.
Unhappy with Boehner's leadership, more than 30 Republican lawmakers have previously threatened a no-confidence vote, which would have forced him to rely on support from Democrats to remain in charge of the House.
He appears to have decided to leave on his own terms, rather than be ousted in a rebellion.
Lots of reporter people waiting for Boehner to emerge post-conference meeting. pic.twitter.com/00LILmqO0G— Meredith Shiner (@meredithshiner) September 25, 2015
Though his colleagues were surprised by the announcement, Boehner appears to have hinted at it to reporters. On Thursday evening, he told two reporters — one from Politico and another from the Washington Post — that he had nothing left to accomplish after he brought Pope Francis to the Capitol, Politico reported.
Boehner made it clear yesterday, that he felt the Pope's visit to the Capitol and Address to Congress accomplished a lifelong goal of his.— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) September 25, 2015
“We don’t simply want to move the deck chairs around,” Louisiana Republican John Fleming told the Washington Post.
Fleming added that Boehner’s move makes a government shutdown next week “highly unlikely.”
Rep. Bridenstine (R-OK) at Value Voters Summit: "bad news, Leadership told us we have 2 fund PP, amnesty, Ocare Good:getting new Leadership"— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) September 25, 2015
A press conference was scheduled for 10 am, but at 10:45 minutes later an aide came out and told the reporters that Boehner had left "out the back door" and that he would not be speaking to the press after all.
One of the names mentioned as Boehner's possible successor is the current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican who has been in office for less than a decade.
Possible replacements for John Boehner as speaker - Kevin McCarthy of CA or Former VP Candidate Paul Ryan via @chucktodd— Chris Erickson (@ChrisErick30) September 25, 2015
California Republican Nancy Pelosi, current House Minority Leader and Boehner's predecessor when her party held the majority, compared the Speaker's resignation to a major earthquake.
From Dem conference. Pelosi on Boehner. Said, "God knows what’s next over there. Coming from earthquake country, this is a big one.”— Lauren French (@laurennfrench) September 25, 2015
Boehner's resignation was applauded by the more conservative Republicans.
"Speaker Boehner was not responsive to what activists wanted, and it shows through the terrible approval ratings of Congress. We need a new speaker that represents the entire caucus, not just the special interests in Washington," said Adam Brandon, CEO of the conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks.