Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Speaker Boehner Announces Resignation Ahead of Government Funding Deadline

Drew Thies

House Speaker John A. Boehner shocked Washington D.C., the Republican caucus, and the political community at large on Friday, making a surprise announcement that he will step aside as speaker in October and resign his seat in the House.

The move by Boehner comes less than a week before a contentious government spending bill must be passed to avoid a government shutdown. Conservative members of the Republican party in both chambers have called for such legislation to be tied to the defunding of Planned Parenthood, a move that Democrats and President Obama were sure to block.

Speaker Boehner received much criticism from some members of his own party, including the conservative House Freedom Caucus, for ostensibly siding with Democrats instead of working to use the stop-gap funding measure to defund the women’s health organization. Some thought that if a so-called “clean” continuing resolution was passed, members of the House Republican party would seek to enact official parliamentary measures to replace the Speaker of the House.

Boehner said that he woke up on Friday morning and decided the day had come to quit. "I woke up, and decided today's the day I'm going to do this," he said. The previous day, Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress and attended a private meeting with Boehner in a visit primarily spearheaded and organized by the Speaker’s office.

The move sparked off an immediate race of Republicans attempting to climb the party ranks as the top post in the House becomes open. Current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy seems to be the odds-on favorite to take the Speaker’s gavel, but the race to then replace McCarthy as Majority Leader is much murkier.

The House will move to vote on a clean continuing resolution to fund the government until mid-December, leaving new Republican leadership just a few short months to get accustomed to handling their rank-and-file before another important policy deadline.

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