Speaker John Boehner will retire from Congress in October, after spending nearly 25 years as an elected official. The announcement was made in a meeting with fellow Republicans on Friday morning (September 25), and the Ohio representative looked visible emotional as he departed the meeting. One of his aides spoke to the media, and said:
The Speaker believes putting members through a prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution. 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.
Reports indicate that Boehner anticipated that the Republican party would try to replace him as Speaker. While he was confident he would win re-election, he believed this would divide the Republican party pitting his pro-Boehner supporters against anti-Boehner detractors. His resignation is being hailed as a "selfless act" by numerous Republican politicians.
Boehner became speaker in 2010, as part of the Tea Party wave that hit the House. From the moment he came into power as the Speaker, he found himself in constant conflict with both Democrats and members of his own party. Though the announcement was met with heavy hearts by some in the Republican party, others, such as attendees of the Values Voter Summit, who cheered when Marco Rubio gave them the news, were pleased with the announcement.
The open Speakership position will make the Republican party an interesting story to follow, and for once not because of Donald Trump's asinine antics. There is considerable "unrest" within the Republican house; shifting leadership may be a catalyst for an intense battle outside of the Presidential nomination. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is rumoured to be the only candidate for the position who would be able to gather required 218 votes. This would leave his position vacant, and would incite a race for House Majority Leader, a position rumoured to be sought by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, House Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Rep. Peter Roskam.
While Boehner will likely be remembered for the complications and conflicts he faced during his time as Speaker, he did have certain victories. One of his most recent achievements was bringing Pope Francis to speak before the House, a 20-year dream in the making.
Boehner will continue as Speaker until the end of October, but without the pressure of seeking re-election, it's expected that he will approve a bill to both avoid a government shut-down, and to provide funding to Planned Parenthood.
What do you think of Boehner's time as Speaker? Who do you think should replace him?