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Boehner Will Stay On Until New Speaker Elected (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After the surprise postponement of the Republicans' nomination vote for speaker, John A. Boehner reaffirmed he would stay in the job until a new speaker is elected.  

Boehner had previously announced he would resign from the House at the end of October and had set the House floor vote to replace him as speaker for Oct. 29. But at the GOP conference meeting Thursday, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., delivered his stunning decision to take himself out of the running. "As I have said previously, I will serve as Speaker until the House votes to elect a new Speaker," Boehner said in a written statement early Thursday afternoon. " We will announce the date for this election at a later date, and I’m confident we will elect a new Speaker in the coming weeks.”  

McCarthy Drops Out of Race for Speaker

The postponement of the vote opened some parliamentary questions. Boehner's exit before a successor is chosen would create a significant hole in the line of succession to the presidency, but would also have left the House without its top officer and administrative head.

Would regular business be on hold until a speaker is elected?

The Constitution does not specify how or when a speaker is elected, only that the speaker is chosen by the House. A March report by the Congressional Research Service states simply, "If a Speaker dies or resigns during a Congress, the House immediately elects a new Speaker."

Duke University professor David Rohde, author of "Parties and Leaders in the Post-Reform House," wasn't sure whether there's a requirement for an immediate vote in the rules, but said it's "hardly a trivial consideration."

"Whether it’s written down or not, it would have to be done immediately because the consequences are so pressing," Rohde said.

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