House Speaker John Boehner. Speaker since January 2011, announces through his aides that on Friday that he will resign from Congress at the end of October. The decision, which has been rumored as a possibility, still surprised many and means there will soon be new leadership in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives and an open seat in Congress.
Speaking to NBC News, a Boehner aide said 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,” the aide said, “but for the good of the Republican conference and the institution, he will resign the Speakership and his seat in Congress, effective October 30.”
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) told the Associated Press that Boehner “just does not want to become the issue. Some people have tried to make him the issue both in Congress and outside.”
Boehner has faced unrelenting pressure from conservatives in Congress pressing him to lead the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, using a government spending bill as leverage. Conservatives Republicans in general have had their issues with Speaker Boehner over the years as well, not seeing the “fight” they would like to see on many conservative causes.
Some speculate that his timing for this decision, which may have been some time ago, revolves around the Pope’s visit and address to Congress. Being Catholic himself, many suggest that the Pope’s visit and speech may well have been a “bucket list” item for Boehner and having achieved and experienced that, chose this time to make the announcement.
Now the political battle begins to name his replacement, a battle that is well known and well executed by what many refer to as “establishment republicans,” so hopes for more “Tea Party” conservative leadership may be premature. However, only time will tell. Speaker Boehner himself has not yet made a formal announcement, but the political wheels behind the scenes are most definitely turning at full speed, gearing up for what is to come.