Republican Speaker of the House John A. Boehner has just announced that he will be resigning from Congress at the end of October. With the government in an already unstable position because of the looming Planned Parenthood controversy, Boehner’s move has thrown Congress into a state of chaos, with veritable threats of a government shutdown on the horizon.
John Boehner was elected into Congress in 1990, and became an Ohio representative for Speaker of the House in 2011. From the get-go, the New York Times reports that the position was difficult for Boehner, considering the great challenge he faced of keeping a severely fractured bipartisan government together. And combined with the pressure of his fellow conservative Republican Congress members, the task became increasingly difficult.
Before his announcement, Boehner was working to come up with a way to prevent the government from shutting down due to conservative members who vehemently opposed a bill that wouldn’t defund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood’s controversy relies on its pro-choice stance and practice, even though majority of their services aren’t relevant to abortions. For example, Planned Parenthood helps with women’s sexual health issues such as endometriosis, a condition that 10% of infertile couples grapple with.
With immense pressure on Boehner, conservative members in opposition of Planned Parenthood funding sought to remove Mr. Boehner from Congress.
Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Representative, presented a prepared statement on Friday, praising Boehner for his work in Congress.
“This was an act of pure selflessness. John’s decades of service have helped move our country forward, and I deeply value his friendship,” Ryan says.
He adds, “We will miss John, and I am confident our conference will elect leaders who are capable of meeting the challenges our nation faces. I wish John and his family well as he begins the next phase of his life.”
In the lead spot to step into the role is Californian Representative Kevin McCarthy, a Republican candidate who is preferred by more conservative members of Congress.
Representative Paul Ryan was also a leading Republican candidate, but according to the New York Times, he isn’t interested in filling the position.
Regardless of who replaces Boehner, it will be a tough position to fill. With tensions high in Congress, the next speaker will have a delicate balance to maintain.
“The next speaker is going to have a very tough job,” said Pennsylvania Republican representative, Charlie Dent. “The fundamental dynamics don’t change.”