In a morning meeting with Republicans on Friday, House Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation from Congress amidst a struggle that could end with a government shutdown, the New York Times reports.
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The announcement comes just a day after Boehner emotionally presented Pope Francis before Congress to deliver an address that focused on equality for all. According to the Times, the Pontiff’s address was a “20-year dream” for the Speaker, who struggled to hold back tears during the speech.
While the details surrounding his resignation aren’t immediately clear, it’s likely pushback from conservative Republicans that influenced the decision. Boehner — whose attempt to keep the government open was being thwarted by a growing number of conservatives who vowed not to vote for a bill that did not defund Planned Parenthood — was said to have ignored his majority (a move that could have cost him his seat).
The resignation will end a nearly five-year reign as speaker, allowing the House Republicans to approve a short-term government funding bill that will avert a shutdown of federal agencies. Boehner’s hold of the speaker’s gavel had grown increasingly unsteady amid threats from more than 30 Republicans that they would force a no-confidence vote in his speaker’s position, which would have forced him to rely on Democratic votes in order to remain in charge.
Boehner, who capped his career with Thursday’s address by Pope Francis, met with a handful of the most conservative Republicans after the papal address to lay out the plan fund the government, but those rebels continued to agitate and threaten to force a vote at sometime in the near future to vacate his speakership.
“He’s run circles around us since John Boehner was speaker of the House,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.). “I think it’s a victory for the American people.” Huelskamp said it was “clear that he did not have the votes to remain as speaker unless Nancy Pelosi helped him out, which is obviously a very vulnerable position.”
Instead of depending on Democratic support, it seems Boehner made the decision for himself.
According to the Post, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will likely take Boehner’s place, but many argue the green GOP leader does not have the “political and tactical gravitas” to be an effective force in the House.
This is a developing story. We’ll keep you updated with the latest.