U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, who has repeatedly been challenged by the conservative wing of his Republican Party, plans to resign from the House at the end of October.
Boehner made the surprise announcement to stunned GOP colleagues at a closed-door meeting Friday morning-less than 24 hours after he reveled in the first-ever papal speech to a joint session of Congress, something he has dreamed of for 20 years.
Boehner, who is Roman Catholic, tried for 20 years to get a pontiff to address Congress – something that had never happened before Thursday, when Boehner welcomed Pope Francis to the House chamber and stood with him on a Capitol balcony overlooking a cheering throng of tens of thousands.
The Speaker began the meeting with standard business, talking about plans to avoid a government shutdown next week.
Boehner has been mired in an attempt to avert a government shutdown with a contingent from within his party that said it would not vote for a measure unless it removes funds for Planned Parenthood. It is likely to pass with Democratic support, notwithstanding conservative complaints.
Formally announcing his resignation later Friday, Boehner rebuffed the idea he would capitulate on his way out.
But some of the conservative newcomers who made that victory possible had zero patience for legislative compromise and the sort of relationship-building that have been hallmarks of Boehner’s career.
About Obama, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) complained: Hes run circles around us since John Boehner was speaker of the House.
Now he’s stepping down at the end of October, when Congress could be overwhelmed by turmoil. As majority leader, Scalise said he would work with every Republican to advance conservative legislation, and said he would ensure the House took the steps to develop consensus within the caucus.
But the 50-year-old McCarthy has thrived in the rough-and-tumble world of House Republicans, raising money for lawmakers across the spectrum, listening on end to the sometimes unreasonable demands of tea party lawmakers and sensing which way the political winds are blowing.
Boehner thanked his family, staff and constituents for electing him 13 times. Pearce did an about-face and voted for Boehner for speaker at the beginning of the current Congress but then clashed with the speaker again over trade this summer.
“The time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leadership in this country”, Rubio said. “So how much change somebody can bring about we’ll see”, Westmoreland said.
The New Mexico Republican said he sits next to McCarthy, whom some have characterized as at least slightly more conservative than Boehner, in the Financial Services Committee, but he did not commit to voting for him for speaker. “I had to tell him five times because he didn’t believe me”, Boehner said.
As of late Friday, there was only one announced challenge to McCarthy’s presumed bid to succeed Boehner, Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla.
So Boehner had good reason to be fed up with Pope Ted.
“I don’t think he is as dedicated to the institution as John Boehner was”, said Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.
Hanna says he doesn’t have anyone in mind who would be suited to Boehner’s job just yet.
While insisting the decision is up to fellow Republicans, Boehner declared that “Kevin McCarthy would make an excellent speaker”. He was ousted from his leadership role after the GOP’s disappointing performance in the 1998 midterms but eventually climbed back to the top. The American people are watching, and I share their frustration with this regrettably typical dysfunction.