Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, has announced that he will resign from one of the most powerful positions in government and give up his seat in Congress at the end of October. Until then, he plans to try to pass “conservative legislation.” Boehner, 65, from Ohio, has been Speaker for five years. He is very popular among House Republicans and is known for his relaxed and sociable demeanor, his love of golf, and his tendency to cry in public.
Boehner was first elected to Congress in 1990 and established a strong conservative record. However, he was not confrontational enough to satisfy the most conservative faction in the House. Some believed Boehner was too willing to compromise with President Obama and too likely to rely on Democratic votes to pass crucial legislation. Currently, a group within his party wanted to deny government funds to Planned Parenthood as a part of a deal to keep the government open. (The government was due to run out of money Sept. 30.) Additionally, a group was threatening a floor vote to determine whether Boehner would continue as Speaker. Such actions risked a partial government shutdown, but Boehner’s resignation lessened that risk. Boehner said he plans to schedule a vote on a government funding bill that includes money for Planned Parenthood. Sources say that with Democratic support the bill is likely to pass. Boehner has also said there will be no government shutdown when funding runs out and that he would have had enough votes to survive a potential floor vote for his removal as Speaker.
Rep. Charlie Dent said there was a lot of sadness in the room when Boehner informed his colleagues of hid planned resignation. Sen. John McCain said, “Basically, he was unseated. And that’s not good for the Republican Party. We’ve got to unite and recognize who the adversary is.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Boehner’s resignation was a “stark indication of the disarray of House Republicans. It is a demonstration of their obsession with shutting down government at the expense of women’s health.”
President Obama praised Boehner as “a good man.” Boehner said, “Over the last five years our majority advanced conservative reforms that will help our children and their children. I am proud of what we have accomplished. It’s the right time to [leave[, and frankly I’m entirely comfortable doing it.”