Why Is John Boehner Stepping Down From Congress?

On Friday morning, aides from the Speaker of the House's office told The New York Times that John Boehner will resign from Congress at the end of October. There had been speculation as early as Friday morning from Salon that Boehner had planned a shutdown of Congress, having been under immense pressure from other Republicans in Congress about the problem of government funding for Planned Parenthood. (Update: Politico reports that Boehner's resignation has been confirmed by several parties who were present in a closed-door meeting on Friday morning.)

In the announcement regarding his impending resignation, one of Boehner's aides stated,

He [Boehner] is proud of what this majority has accomplished, and his speakership, but for the good of the Republican Conference and the institution, he will resign the Speakership and his seat in Congress, effective October 30.

Boehner gave a statement later on Friday morning that confirmed his resignation and ended with a note of gratitude from the Speaker,

Today, my heart is full with gratitude for my family, my colleagues, and the people of Ohio’s Eighth District. God bless this great country that has given me - the son of a bar owner from Cincinnati - the chance to serve.

Despite calls from some Republicans who were supportive of forcing a shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding, Boehner had said, many times, that he did not want a shutdown, but he also had not offered a plan for how to keep Congress open when the budget runs out on Sept. 30. U.S. News reported last week that the lack of a plan had been a source of much frustration for Republicans, some of whom wanted to declare the Speaker of the House position vacant, which would force the election of a new Speaker. The New York Times reported Friday morning that these same party members had also made it clear that they would not approve a budget that included any funding for Planned Parenthood.

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However, Boehner is not merely giving up his position as Speaker of the House — he is resigning from Congress altogether, perhaps indicating the intensity of the pressure he has been under with the possibility of a shutdown a mere five days away.

The announcement of Boehner's resignation during an already very tense and chaotic time in Congress is likely to go one of two ways. Either conservative members of the party will elect a Speaker that is likely to force a shutdown until Democrats concede on Planned Parenthood funding, or the position will prove difficult to fill, and the House will lack a leader during a shutdown.

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Boehner began his career in Congress in 1990, making his 2014 reelection the beginning of his 13th consecutive term in Congress. Boehner was elected as Speaker-designate on his 61st birthday, Nov.17, 2010, and was sworn into his position as Speaker of the House in January of 2011.