John Boehner (R-OH) has officially announced he will resign as Speaker of the House and as Congressman effective in late October. Boehner, who served as House Majority Leader for five years until being elected Speaker in 2010, made the announcement Friday shortly after his meeting with Pope Francis on Capitol Hill.
Boehner’s resignation was somewhat of a shock in the Capitol. Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, called Boehner’s resignation “seismic for the House”. Currently, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is presumed to succeed John Boehner. However debate has already arisen over who will really take Boehner’s place as Speaker.
Virginia Ninth District Republican Congressman Morgan Griffith commented on Boehner’s resignation earlier, saying “I respect Speaker Boehner’s decision and thank him for his service to these United States… I wish the Speaker, his family, and his team the best as they move forward.” Griffith, a Republican, has given little information about his own intentions in supporting a successor for Boehner.
Boehner’s resignation ironically led to a temporary stabilization in Congress. Now that Boehner has announced his resignation, he has effectively relieved himself from the threat of being ousted. The stabilization, especially with the threat of government shutdown looming over Capitol Hill, is well timed. With Boehner retaining a more secure bargaining position, the threat of a shutdown is effectively diminished.
I respect Boehner’s decision to resign in October. However, his succession is my real concern. Though McCarthy is expected to succeed Boehner as Speaker of the House, a lot of uncertainty surrounds this succession. The current stability in the House Leadership could easily be torn asunder; or, it could be upheld.
I do not expect Congress to be more stable in the months to come following Boehner’s resignation, but maybe I am just being pessimistic. Hopefully Congress will prove me wrong.