John Boehner just sacrificed his career for the good of the Republican party

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

The Resignation of John Boehner.

Washington: The leader of the US House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner, stunned fellow Republicans yesterday, saying that he would resign from Congress at the end of October, giving up one of the most powerful jobs in Washington and his seat in the House in the face of hardline conservative opposition. Boehner, second in line to succeed the president and into his 13th two year-term, informed the Republican caucus meeting of his decision in a closed-door session.

Boehner had battled conservatives aligned with the Tea Party for most of his nearly five years as speaker, and in recent weeks they had threatened to try to oust him from power if did not pursue a strategy of defunding Planned Parenthood that would have likely led to a government shutdown. It came one day after a high point of Boehner’s congressional career, a historic speech by Pope Francis to the Republican-controlled Congress at Boehner’s request. Conservatives said that if Boehner failed to fight on the government spending bill, they would call up a procedural motion to “vacate the chair” and demand the election of a new speaker. A focus of conservatives’ complaints, Boehner “just does not want to become the issue,” said Republican John Mica, a Republican. “Some people have tried to make him the issue both in Congress and outside,” Mica said. That gives him plenty of time to deal with a looming standoff over funding for Planned Parenthood — and cut deals with Democrats if necessary to either avert a shutdown or keep it short.

Conservatives have demanded that any legislation to keep the government operating past next Wednesday’s deadline strip women’s healt care provider Planned Parenthood of government funds, an argument rejected by more pragmatic lawmakers. Boehner’s decision removes the possibility of a damaging vote to strip him of his speakership, a scenario that grew more likely amid the conservative clamor over a shutdown. Boehner’s decision comes just a day after what was arguably his most memorable moment as speaker: The Irish Catholic son of a barkeep hosted Pope Francis in the first-ever address by a pontiff to Congress. Boehner and his Republican counterpart in the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both believe a fight over Planned Parenthood is a losing battle. Another popular House Republican, Representative Paul Ryan, immediately took himself out of the running, according to the Washington Post’s Paul Kane. “It’s McCarthy,” the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee said Friday.

Republican leaders believe another impasse like the 16-day shutdown in 2013 could hand the Democrats an easy PR victory, gravely damaging the party’s chances to win the 2016 presidential election. The image of the Republican party could especially take a hit after this week’s appearance by the pope urging Congress to show more unity and to tackle big issues. As speaker, his tenure has been defined by his early struggles to reach budget agreements with President Barack Obama and his wrestling with the expectations of tea party conservatives who demanded a more confrontational approach.

Boehner then worked his way back up the leadership ladder, first becoming minority leader and then speaker after Republicans reclaimed the House majority in the 2010 election. Even if a shutdown is avoided, however, a more aggressive Republican-led Congress could also challenge the White House over a bill to increase the borrowing limit of the federal government.

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