House Speaker Announces Resignation

Date: September 25, 2015

Boehner To Resign Speakership, Retire From Congress By End Of October

In an abrupt announcement Friday morning, House Speaker John Boehner said he plans to resign as speaker of the House and retire from Congress on Oct. 30. Politico notes the “embattled” Boehner had initially hoped to leave Congress at the end of 2014, according to one of his aides, “but returned because of the unexpected defeat” of former Rep. Eric Cantor, who was House Majority Leader and in line to succeed Boehner. However, with Congress increasingly divided, even within parties, Boehner was anticipating conservatives in the next several weeks would attempt to remove him. Though Boehner believed he would win such a showdown, “he and his allies thought” such a battle “would do serious harm to the institution.” In comments to press after a meeting with Republicans, Boehner declined questions but said, “This is a wonderful day.” One Boehner aide said, “The Speaker believes putting members through prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution.” The aide continued, “He 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 Oct. 30.” The news follows comments Thursday evening from Boehner to two reporters “that he had nothing left to accomplish after he brought Pope Francis to the Capitol.” When the two reporters asked “if he was resigning, Boehner laughed before exiting into an awaiting SUV with his Capitol Police detail.”

What Happens Next

The New York Times notes that Boehner’s “stunning announcement lessens the chance of a government shutdown next week as Republican leaders in Congress will push for a short-term funding measure to keep the government operating and the speaker will no longer be deterred by those who threatened his job.” Meanwhile, a majority in the House will vote on a new speaker. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is considered the frontrunner, and “is widely viewed more favorably by the more conservative members.” Although many Republicans also support Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Ryan “has said he does not want the job.” For now, the fate of the House speakership is unclear.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small business owners are losing one of their key champions in Congress with Boehner’s retirement. Since coming to Congress in 1990, Boehner has been a supporter of small businesses both in his home state of Ohio and across the US, earning NFIB’s Guardians of Small Business award throughout his career as a member of Congress with a voting record in the best interests of the small business community. The House must ensure its new speaker keeps small business priorities in mind going forward.

Additional Reading

NFIB previously noted Boehner’s work with the organization on behalf of small businesses in his home state of Ohio.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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