Maybe it was the Pope’s visit yesterday. Maybe it was, after he said his prayer this morning, a decision “as simple as that.” Or maybe it was the pressure of leading without the guts to lead, as many in the House were urging him to get out of the way of those who want to take the issues in stronger direction. He had been mulling his resignation for some time. Now, the biggest question is who will replace him.

1. Boehner delivers resignation speech

2. “It isn’t about me…”

via CNN Politics John Boehner, the Ohio Republican who steered his party to an overwhelming House majority in 2010, said in a news conference Friday afternoon he had decided only that morning to announce his plans to resign from Congress.

“Last night I started thinking about this and this morning I woke up and I said my prayers — as I always do — and I decided today’s the day I’m going to do this. As simple as that,” Boehner said during an emotional Capitol Hill press conference.

He will step down as Speaker and leave Congress at the end of October.

The Ohio Republican’s tenure as Speaker has been marked by clashes with conservatives — especially when it comes to fiscal policy. He’s struggled to push through legislation to increase the debt ceiling and was facing another showdown next week to keep the government open. The Speaker has often relied on Democratic votes during these moments — a strategy that has infuriated conservatives.

Boehner said Friday that he had planned to step down at the end of the year but turmoil within his caucus prompted him to resign earlier than planned.

“I got plenty of people following me but this turmoil that’s been churning now for a couple of months, it’s not good for the members and it’s not good for the institution. If I was not planning on leaving here soon, I can tell you I would not have done it,” Boehner said. via CNN Politics

3. “It’s about the country…”

 

4. Congressional leaders respond

via CNN Politics “The resignation of the Speaker is a stark indication of the disarray of the House Republicans,” Nancy Pelosi said during a Friday morning press conference.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid tweeted similarly that the ouster of “a good man like Speaker Boehner — someone who understood the art of compromise” showed that “the party of Eisenhower and Reagan is no more.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also lamented Boehner’s resignation, saying it is “very, very sad” that the tea party has “taken over control of the party.”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the No. 2 Republican who could succeed Boehner, praised the Speaker as “a true statesmen” in a statement Friday morning and called on the Republican caucus “to focus on healing and unifying.”

Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman who was the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, said he isn’t planning to run for the seat at this time.

Rep. Raul Labrador, a favorite of conservatives who ran unsuccessfully for majority leader in January, declined to say if he would run for Speaker.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who claimed in January that he lost his Agriculture Committee seat after voting against Boehner for another term as Speaker, said he and other Tea Party Republicans were jubilant at the news of Boehner’s resignation. “The establishment lost today,” he said. “We need new leadership. Every time we go home we hear, ‘Fire Boehner.’ We need a new Speaker who can standup to the president.”

Rep. Greg Walden, a member of Boehner’s House leadership wondered what the Pope told Boehner that may have affected his decision: “I don’t know if this was a message from God but I wish he sent a different message.”

“Yesterday John Boehner was Speaker of the House,” Sen. Ted Cruz said at the Values Voter summit Friday. “Y’all come to town and somehow that changes. My only request is can you come more often?”

“It’s probably time for him to have stepped down to start a new chapter here in Washington, D.C.,” former Pennsyvania Sen. Rick Santorum said.

Sen. Rand Paul echoed that message during a campaign stop in New Hampshire calling Boehner’s resignation “a step in the right direction.” via CNN Politics

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