Boehner Quits; McCarthy Seen as Successor
Speaker John A. Boehner told fellow Republicans Friday morning he will resign from Congress and give up his House seat at the end of October, according to members.
The Ohio Republican has been under fire from hard-line conservatives in his conference over the GOP leadership’s reluctance to shut down the federal government as part of a dispute over the funding of Planned Parenthood.
According to Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Boehner told GOP lawmakers during a closed-door GOP conference meeting Friday morning that he plans to put a clean continuing resolution on the floor — a move that critics of the speaker have warned could cost him his gavel.
Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon said it is “likely” that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy would be the next speaker of the House.
Boehner’s resignation will complicate President Barack Obama’s last year in office.
The two men often were at odds but maintained a cordial relationship and the speaker was seen as a moderating influence on a conservative wing wanting their party to use all the tools of the Constitution to stand up to the president — including the power of the purse.
Boehner had made clear he thought the 2013 government shutdown was a mistake and that another one now wouldn’t have resulted in a better result. And after he succeeded in getting the president to agree to trillions of dollars in spending cuts in return for a debt limit hike in 2011,Obama said he would never again give anything in return for a debt limit increase.
Facing a potentially catastrophic default, Boehner blinked, and his “Boehner Rule” requiring a dollar in deficit cuts for every dollar of debt limit hikes effectively headed for the dustbin.
Another debt limit hike will be required this fall, not to mention a budget deal, a highway bill deal and plenty more before Obama heads for the exits, all with the 2016 presidential election ramping up in the background.
Informed of the news, a surprised Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, reiterated his view that decisions about House leadership belonged to House members, but he called on congressional Republican leadership to lead, running through a familiar litany of complaints.
Steven Dennis, Matt Fuller and Niels Liesnewski contributed to this report.