Boehner Resigns Under Pressure From Right

      WASHINGTON (CN) – John Boehner will resign as speaker of the House and from Congress at the end of October, under pressure from the Republican Party’s right wing.
     As news of the departure swirled Friday morning, the conservative representative from Ohio ducked out of a 10 a.m. announcement. The speaker took the podium later in the afternoon, pausing at times during the 30-minute speech to shed some tears while discussing the weight lifted off his shoulders.
     Boehner said he did not feel it right to leave the post as he had planned late last year. He said his goal had been to leave at the end of this year, but he decided when he woke up this morning, after saying his morning prayers, that today was the day to step down.
     “It became clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreperable harm to the institution,” Boehner said.
     The New York Times attributed the move to “extreme pressure” from right-wing Republicans, angry that Boehner refused to shut down government by demanding that Planned Parenthood lose funding in the budget bill.
     Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was among Republicans who applauded the announcement. “The country will be better served with a strong, conservative speaker,” Cruz told reporters.
     Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, said she tried to call Boehner this morning but was told he was in a meeting.
     “The American people are even now more closely watching what happens here because they’ve seen a speaker step down because those in his caucus are demanding a shutdown of government unless there’s a defunding of Planned Parenthood,” Pelosi told reporters.
     Emphasizing the need to keep government open, Pelosi noted that “some would say the party has been hijacked by a fringe element in the House Republican party, and we’re seeing evidence of that now.”
     Boehner, 65, announced his resignation Friday morning during an “emotional meeting” with other Republicans. He is reported to have said he did not want to become the issue in intraparty fighting.
     The news came the morning after Boehner, a Catholic, broke into tears as he sat behind Pope Francis as the pope addressed both houses of Congress, gently reminding its 535 members to live up to the country’s historic concern for immigrants and the poor.
     Several right-wing congressmen sniped at Boehner in comments to the Washington Post. Boehner has struggled to control the extreme right wing of his party since he was elected speaker in 2011.
     His most likely replacement as speaker is expected to be House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, whose 23rd District is based in Bakersfield. McCarthy is dependably right wing, a skeptic on global warming, an opponent of Obamacare, abortion and the Export-Import Bank.
     Boehner said he told McCarthy about his plans “about two minutes” before the formal announcement. He said McCarthy would make a great successor.
     President Barack Obama said Friday afternoon that he looks forward to working with the next speaker. “John Boehner is a good man,” Obama said. “He is a patriot.”

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