by Tori Fourman
On Friday, September 25th, John Boehner announced his resignation as Speaker of the House. His announcement came just the day after Pope Francis, while in Washington during visit to the United States, spoke in an address to Congress. Boehner’s announcement came as a shock to many, though he did say that he had planned to announce his resignation at the end of November regardless.
Republicans and Democrats alike expressed mixed reactions to the news, partly due to criticism Boehner had encountered from both sides of the political spectrum. Boehner was unanimously elected as Speaker in 2010, when he succeeded Nancy Pelosi. In the years following, House Democrats expressed frustration that as Speaker, Boehner did not stand up to Tea Party Republicans. Republicans, meanwhile, and mainly members of the Tea Party, criticized Boehner for not standing up to Obama on issues such as health care and immigration.
Boehner, however, has recently sounded off on the issues surrounding the Republican party. He called out Tea Partiers for attempting to push bills that would never pass, and essentially wasting the time of Congress and standing in the way of work getting done. Then to illustrate that as Speaker of the House, sometimes small victories could mean more than large ones, Boehner used a football analogy, which this author did not understand.
Now, in a party that currently has over ten presidential candidates for 2016, Boehner’s resignation reflects on the discord among Republicans, and the issues caused by far-right conservatives, such as the debate occurring now over whether or not to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Republicans have threatened not to agree to a federal budget unless funding is cut, which could lead to another government shutdown like the one in September 2013. At press time we will know if this has happened or not. John Boehner will officially step down from his position as Speaker of the House on October 31.
Victoria Fourman is a Sophomore at Barnard and a Staff Writer for the Nine Ways of Knowing.