Representative John Boehner (R-OH 8th), currently serving as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, announced today that he will be resigning from Congress at the end of October. Boehner was first elected to the House in 1990, and is currently serving his thirteenth term. He became the House Majority Leader in 2006, and continued as the House Minority Leader when the Democratic Party gained a House majority following the 2006 congressional elections. He was elected Speaker of the House after the Republican Party regained a House majority following the 2010 elections.
Boehner has presided over a Republican Party in turmoil, splintered between old-guard ‘big government’ insiders and a resurgent wave of fiscal and social conservatives. He has attempted to chart a pragmatic course and find areas of agreement and compromise, but has been largely unsuccessful in today’s political environment. In addition to a hard-line taken by many of his more conservative Republican peers, the Democratic Party has also shifted toward a default position of stubborn intransigence, particularly with regard to budgeting and spending.
Conservative Republicans who feel that Boehner has been a poor advocate for their causes, and claim he has been too willing to capitulate to Democratic demands, had been preparing to mount an internal challenge to his leadership. It is unclear if Boehner would have been able to hold on, and he cited the prospect of a prolonged leadership battle as one reason for his resignation.
The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives falls immediately after the Vice President in the line of presidential succession. It is likely that the House will select a new speaker soon after Boehner’s resignation takes effect.