John A. Boehner is the second House Speaker since Thomas P. O’Neil Jr. to resign willingly from his post in Congress. Mr. Boehner, who is 65 and hails from Ohio in just a short amount of time, went on to hold a prestigious position in Congress. He arranged to meet with the Republican Party on Friday to announce his plans to give up the position of House Speaker.
Mr. Boehner decision to resign came as a surprise not just to his party members, but also to his wife. In his words, “So, before I went to sleep last night, I told my wife, you know, I might just make an announcement tomorrow.” Before he made the announcement, lawmakers were shuffling around to come up with a solution to prevent a government shutdown in the following week, but his sudden announcement to resign lessened that possibility.
Many who have followed Mr. Boehner journey to House Speaker can understand his reason to hand in the gavel for good. Throughout his term, the government constantly pressured him to pass reforms for vast spending cuts and aggressive policy amendments, which were impossible within the presidency of President Obama.
On top of that turmoil, the Republican Party stood to oppose actions by the Democratic government at every point, making it difficult for Mr. Boehner to manage the concerns and impending conflicts within his party. Therefore, he saw early retirement from the job as the best possible solution to relieve some of the pressure on all parties.
Mr. Boehner said, “My first job as speaker is to protect the institution. It had become clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution.” In his speech, he also reflected upon his request to Pope Francis to pray for him and was thankful to ascending to the position of House Speaker in Congress.
Mr. Boehner who earned the title of House Speaker in 2011 was elected to manage the challenges dividing the government while at the same time managing the quickly polarizing members of the Republican Party. With his name and role in Congress coming into question during the Republican Debates, it is evident that his fellow Republicans are unhappy with the decisions he has supported under President Obama’s government. One instance his party refused to support him was when he was trying to construct a plan to provide increased funding for Planned Parenthood.
With plans to shut down the government thwarted by his announcement, the Republican and Democratic leaders will go ahead and vote for the short-term spending limits to keep the government operating.
With Mr. Boehner leaving his post at the end of October, candidates that have come to the front to replace him are Representative Kevin McCarthy of California and Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, both Republicans. However, Mr. Ryan has refused to take the post. On the other end, President Obama, who recently praised the House Speaker during his meeting with China’s president, also said that Mr. Boehner’s announcement came as a surprise to him as well, but he plans to connect immediately with the next elected House Speaker.