The Most Powerful Republican In Congress Is Quitting

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP Images.
Representative John Boehner, the highest ranking man in Congress, is stepping down at the end of October, according to his aides. The Speaker of the House, who has led the Republican-dominated Congress since 2011, will also give up his seat in Congress, as first reported by the New York Times.

The news comes at a touchy time for the House, with more than 40 members of Boehner's caucus vowing to shut down the government at the end of September, rather than pass a new spending bill that continues funding Planned Parenthood.

In almost five years, Boehner has presided over one other shutdown, in 2013, and another intense fight over Planned Parenthood's funding in 2013. The two Congressional sessions he led were the least productive and second least productive in our history, and saw approval ratings drop to below 10%.

The Speaker has represented Ohio's eighth district since he was first elected in 1991. Prior to assuming the speaker role, he served as House Majority and House Minority Leader. The speaker is second in line for the presidency, after the vice president.

Boehner, a Catholic, spent much of yesterday with Pope Francis. He stood behind the Pontiff — who spoke at Congress at Boehner's invitation — during the speech, and was visibly moved. His last tweet shows pictures of him with the Pope with the caption "What a day."

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