House Speaker John Boehner Announces Resignation

| by Robert Fowler
House Speaker John BoehnerHouse Speaker John Boehner

House Speaker John A. Boehner will resign as Speaker of the House on October 30th. He disclosed the decision to fellow Republicans on Friday, Sept. 25. His departure is expected to incite a heavily contentious wrestling for power amongst the House Republicans.

Boehner, a Rep. of Ohio, became House Speaker in 2011 after a highly successful mid-term election for Republicans. His time as the most powerful congressman of the House of Representatives quickly became chaotic as threats of a government shutdown plagued the latter half of 2011 and a game changing fiscal deal forged between him and President Obama crumbled.

This week, Boehner has been trying to find a compromise with fellow House Republican members who have threatened to shut down government unless a motion to defund Planned Parenthood is attached to an upcoming spending bill.

The last government shutdown occurred in Oct. 2013 over a 16-day period, House Republicans attempting to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It was a highly unpopular move and Boehner has been trying to avoid another Republican-led shutdown. Bloomberg Politics reports that the Speaker met with  Republican conservatives on Thursday, Sept. 24, to discuss his ideas for finding a compromise. The meeting ended with no agreements. Talk resumed of challenging Boehner’s position as Speaker.

According to Politico, Boehner’s upcoming resignation signals that he will now outright ignore conservative calls to defund Planned Parenthood, instead passing a government-funding bill without the measure.

Boehner, a devout Catholic, told reporters that Pope Francis’ historic speech to Congress Thursday morning fulfilled a lifelong dream and that he had accomplished all that he had wanted in Congress, Politico reports.

"The Speaker believes putting members through prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution,” says one of Boehner’s aides. "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."

The aide disclosed that the Speaker had originally planned to resign at the end of 2014 but decided to remain after the surprise electoral defeat of his presumed successor, Eric Cantor of Virginia.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is mooted as the frontrunner to become the new House Speaker.

Sources: Bloomberg Politics, The New York TimesPolitico / Photo Credit: GageSkidmore / Flickr