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John Boehner Resigns: House Speaker Will Resign from Congress in October

First Posted: Sep 25, 2015 10:45 AM EDT
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House Speaker John Boehner

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UPDATE: 1:11 p.m. EST

John Boehner issued the following statement regarding his resignation:

"My mission every day is to fight for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government.  Over the last five years, our majority has advanced conservative reforms that will help our children and their children.  I am proud of what we have accomplished.

"The first job of any Speaker is to protect this institution that we all love.  It was my plan to only serve as Speaker until the end of last year, but I stayed on to provide continuity to the Republican Conference and the House.  It is my view, however, that prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution.  To that end, I will resign the Speakership and my seat in Congress on October 30.

"Today, my heart is full with gratitude for my family, my colleagues, and the people of Ohio's Eighth District.  God bless this great country that has given me - the son of a bar owner from Cincinnati - the chance to serve."

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner announced on Friday that he will resign from Congress and give up his speakership position at the end of October.

Just one day after Pope Francis became the first pontiff to address the U.S. Congress, which is a noted highlight in Boehner's career, the Republican leader revealed that he will end his term in the House on Oct. 30, reports Reuters.

An aide also confirmed the news Friday morning, telling reporters, "The speaker believes putting members through 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."

The announcement comes in midst of Boehner's battle with the conservative wing of the Republican Party who threatened to oust him from power if he did not support their efforts to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood. Thirty-one conservatives have since pledged to vote against any spending bill that includes money to fund the pro-abortion women's health group. If they're successful in blocking a spending bill from passing by the Sept. 30 deadline, then the government will shut down on Oct. 1.

Not only has Boehner been under extreme pressure from the right wing to defund Planned Parenthood by any means necessary, but he has also been repeatedly challenged by the conservative wing of his Republican Party since he became Speaker of the House in 2010.

Once the Ohio lawmaker steps down, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California will likely become the top contender to replace lead House Republicans.

Boehner, who was first elected to Congress in 1990, received mixed reviews following his shocking announcement. Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland praised Boehner's decision as the "most selfless act I've ever seen in politics," reports USA Today.

However, other conservatives celebrated his resignation. Michael A. Needham, chief executive officer of the conservative group Heritage Action, said Boehner's decision was "a sign that the voice of the American people is breaking through in Washington. Now is the time for a principled, conservative leader to emerge."

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Linda Sánchez, representative for California's 38th Congressional District, called on Boehner to act on comprehensive immigration reform before he retires.

"I commend Speaker Boehner for leading this institution with dignity and I thank him for his service to our country. I am sure this was a difficult decision and I wish him well as he begins the next chapter in his life," said Sanchez in a statement.

"As chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I stand ready to work with Speaker Boehner in this spirit of cooperation. The American people are looking to us to get to work," said Sanchez, adding Pope Francis' message to Congress, on Thursday, for renewed cooperation should bring hope for collaboration to pass immigration reform before Boehner's term ends.

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