House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, abruptly announced Friday he will resign from Congress at the end of October, according to aides in his office, the New York Times reported. Boehner was under extreme pressure from the right wing of his conference over several issues, including defunding Planned Parenthood. The announcement of Boehner’s resignation came only one day after Pope Francis addressed Congress, which was reportedly a lifelong dream for the speaker.
“What a day,” Boehner, a Catholic, said Thursday after the first-ever papal address to a joint session of Congress. “What a moment for our country... The Holy Father’s visit is surely a blessing for all of us.”
Boehner has had a hard time during his tenure as speaker. Members of his party, expecially those from the conservative tea party movement, have expressed disapproval of his leadership and his failure to fight for a variety of issues important to the Republican Party, from the health care law President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010 to the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four American staffers. The most recent pressure came from the battle over defunding Planned Parenthood. Boehner had been trying to find a solution to keep the government open through the rest of the year, but an increasing number of conservatives told him they would not vote for a bill that did not cut off Planned Parenthood from its federal funding.
“It is time for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to resign for the good of the nation and the Republican Party," popular talk radio host Mark Levin wrote on his Facebook page months ago. "The nation and GOP are both suffering as a result of the unwillingness or inability of McConnell and Boehner to effectively defend either. Indeed, time and again they have delivered victory after victory for Obama and his radical agenda -- from spending, borrowing, and Obamacare to illegal immigration, Iran and 'trade' power.”
An aide to Boehner said the speaker had intended to quit at the end of 2014, but the upset primary loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia changed those plans, NBC News reported.
Heritage Action: "Too often, Speaker Boehner has stood in the way" of "opportunity for all and favoritism to none."
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 25, 2015
Boehner was first elected to Congress from his western Ohio district in 1990, and became speaker in 2011, after the Republicans took control in the 2010 elections.
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) September 25, 2015
Pope Francis Wednesday called on lawmakers to work together despite political divides. “Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility,” he said.