House Speaker John Boehner Is Resigning From Congress

Office of the Speaker of the House

Long un­der-fire from con­ser­vat­ives in his caucus, House Speak­er John Boehner will resign ef­fect­ive Oc­to­ber 30th, leav­ing both his speak­er­ship and his con­gres­sion­al seat, he said in a state­ment Fri­day morn­ing.

“Today, my heart is full with grat­it­ude for my fam­ily, my col­leagues, and the people of Ohio’s Eighth Dis­trict,” Boehner said in the press state­ment re­leased sev­er­al hours after one of his aides con­firmed the exit. “God bless this great coun­try that has giv­en me—the son of a bar own­er from Cin­cin­nati—the chance to serve.”The speak­er made the an­nounce­ment to House Re­pub­lic­ans in a “very mov­ing and hum­bling speech,” ac­cord­ing to one mem­ber.

At­tempt­ing to steer and unite a House Re­pub­lic­an con­fer­ence that is of­ten pulled in dif­fer­ent dir­ec­tions by mod­er­ate and con­ser­vat­ive fac­tions has been a de­fin­ing fea­ture of the speak­er’s ten­ure. The last sev­er­al years of Boehner’s speak­er­ship have been defined by lurches from one budget dead­lock to an­oth­er.

That ten­sion has been on full dis­play, and at times ap­peared at risk of boil­ing over, dur­ing the cur­rent de­bate over fed­er­al fund­ing for Planned Par­ent­hood and gov­ern­ment spend­ing in Con­gress, now likely to be Boehner’s last fight as speak­er.

A Boehner aide said Fri­day that the speak­er had planned to resign at the end of last year, but his plans changed once former House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor lost his reelec­tion. “The Speak­er be­lieves put­ting mem­bers through pro­longed lead­er­ship tur­moil would do ir­re­par­able dam­age to the in­sti­tu­tion,” the aide said. Boehner has been speak­er since Re­pub­lic­ans won the House fol­low­ing the 2010 elec­tion.

A spokes­per­son for Eric Can­tor tells Na­tion­al Journ­al the former Re­pub­lic­an ma­jor­ity lead­er is not com­ment­ing on Boehner’s resig­na­tion today.

The speak­er left the Cap­it­ol Fri­day without speak­ing to re­port­ers. He’s ex­pec­ted to ap­pear live on CBS’ Face the Na­tion Sunday.

Boehner’s resig­na­tion will be seen as a vic­tory to some mem­bers of the con­ser­vat­ive wing of the House, namely mem­bers of the House Free­dom Caucus. Rep. Mark Mead­ows of North Car­o­lina offered a mo­tion to va­cate the chair—re­mov­ing Boehner from the speak­er’s po­s­i­tion—back in Ju­ly, but ef­forts to re­move Boehner hadn’t fully taken off in the months since. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port from CNN, some Free­dom Caucus mem­bers wanted to wait un­til Pope Fran­cis left Wash­ing­ton to move on a vote. The con­ser­vat­ive Her­it­age Ac­tion, of­ten a Boehner foe, took something of a vic­tory lap after the news, say­ing “Today’s an­nounce­ment is a sign that the voice of the Amer­ic­an people is break­ing through in Wash­ing­ton. Now is the time for a prin­cipled, con­ser­vat­ive lead­er to emerge.”

House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Kev­in Mc­Carthy, the num­ber two Re­pub­lic­an in the House, called Boehner a “lead­er, ment­or, and most of all friend” in a state­ment on Fri­day. “He will be missed be­cause there is simply no one else like him,” Mc­Carthy said, adding: “Now is the time for our con­fer­ence to fo­cus on heal­ing and uni­fy­ing to face the chal­lenges ahead and al­ways do what is best for the Amer­ic­an people.”

Rep. Paul Ry­an, whose name was im­me­di­ately floated as a speak­er con­tender in the minutes after this morn­ing’s an­nounce­ment, char­ac­ter­ized Boehner as a “great lead­er” for the GOP in a state­ment, and said his resig­na­tion is “an act of pure self­less­ness.” Though Ry­an says he won’t be pur­su­ing the speak­er­ship him­self, he said he’s “con­fid­ent our con­fer­ence will elect lead­ers who are cap­able of meet­ing the chal­lenges our na­tion faces.”

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell praised Boehner in a speech from the Sen­ate floor on Fri­day, cred­it­ing the House Speak­er with the abil­ity to “trans­form a broken and dis­pir­ited Re­pub­lic­an minor­ity in­to the largest Re­pub­lic­an ma­jor­ity since the 1920s.” Dis­play­ing em­pathy for the oft-em­battled lead­er, Mc­Con­nell, who has also worked to rein in an at-times un­ruly Re­pub­lic­an con­fer­ence, said: “John knows what it’s like to struggle and to dream of something bet­ter.”

House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi called Boehner’s resig­na­tion “seis­mic for the House” dur­ing a press con­fer­ence Fri­day morn­ing. She called the exit “a stark in­dic­a­tion” of the House Re­pub­lic­an’s “dis­ar­ray” and what she said is an “ob­ses­sion” with shut­ting down the gov­ern­ment. Pelosi said she has not yet heard from Boehner per­son­ally. Dub­bing the speak­er “the latest Tea Party vic­tim,” Pelosi’s PAC sent out a fun­drais­ing pitch off the news.

The news ar­rives just a day after a mo­ment that, for the House Speak­er, rep­res­en­ted one of the high­lights of his polit­ic­al ca­reer. After ex­tend­ing in­vit­a­tions to heads of the Cath­ol­ic Church for more than 20 years, Boehner fi­nally suc­ceeded in get­ting a pope to vis­it and ad­dress a joint-meet­ing of Con­gress.

On Thursday, the fam­ously sharp-tongued Re­pub­lic­an lead­er ap­peared highly emo­tion­al dur­ing Pope Fran­cis’ speech to Con­gress, a wind­ing ad­dress that touched on im­mig­ra­tion, the en­vir­on­ment, and the fam­ily.

Boehner teared up dur­ing the speech, paus­ing many times to wipe away tears with a handker­chief.

Zach C. Cohen contributed to this article.

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