Boehner to resign from Congress next month, aides say
Boehner to resign from Congress next month, aides say

Boehner to resign from Congress next month, aides say

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will resign from Congress at the end of October, his office announced on Friday.

Boehner is second in line to the presidency, after Vice President Joe Biden. He was first elected to Congress in 1990. He has served as speaker since Republicans took control of the House in 2011.

Boehner was meeting with his conference to discuss plans to avert a government shutdown, looming next week. The speaker was under enormous pressure to keep the government open and satisfy conservative members of the conference who were refusing to vote for any bill that would provide funds for Planned Parenthood.

Boehner is expected to announce his resignation in a press conference after the Republican conference meeting ends later Friday morning.

In a statement circulated to reporters, one of Boehner’s aides explained that the congressman would step down to avoid “prolonged leadership turmoil.” Conservative members of the Republican caucus have been calling for Boehner to step down as speaker.

The revelation that Boehner had planned to step down previously but changed his plans after then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost in the GOP primary is remarkable but not surprising. Boehner has struggled through his speakership to contain the conservative rebellion that started with the Tea Party wave in the 2010 elections and catapulted him into the top House position.

His resignation suggests that he may not have believed he could have survived a new attempt to oust him as speaker. He was re-elected as speaker in January 2015, but received a record number of defections, with 25 Republican members either voting “present” or for another candidate.

Boehner’s resignation comes the morning after Pope Francis visited the Capitol to give a speech before Congress — the speaker had been inviting popes to meet with U.S. lawmakers for years. Politico reported that Boehner mentioned Thursday night that he had nothing left to accomplish after the pope’s visit, laughing off a question about plans to resign:

On Thursday evening as he left the Capitol, Boehner (R-Ohio) 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. When asked if he was resigning, Boehner laughed before exiting into an awaiting SUV with his Capitol Police detail.

ABC News reported that the speaker’s decision was “inspired” by the pope.


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