Amid reports of conservative infighting, John Boehner — the speaker of the House of Representatives — announced at a party meeting Friday morning that he will resign from Congress in October to avoid becoming “the issue.”

The Guardian reports:

While addressing the media on Friday afternoon, a tearful Boehner cast his decision as one designed to protect the institution of Congress.

“I’m doing this today for the right reasons,” Boehner said. “And the right things will happen as a result.”

Boehner, 65, has long been under intense pressure from House conservatives, who have repeatedly threatened to stage a coup against him and expressed dissatisfaction with his leadership in high-profile fights on Capitol Hill. Boehner has survived many rebellions from the hard-right wing of his party over the years, notably over bipartisan deals that raised taxes in 2012 and resolved a government shutdown in 2013. …

As speculation immediately spread over who would succeed Boehner, a number of influential Republicans took their names out of the mix.

Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the powerful House ways and means committee, told reporters he would not seek the job. “I don’t want to be speaker,” Ryan said.

North Carolina representative Mark Meadows, a conservative who in July filed a motion to remove Boehner as speaker, also ruled out a run.

Kevin McCarthy of California, the House majority leader, is next in line as speaker but would have to secure the votes of his caucus in a formal leadership election. …

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House and a close friend of Boehner’s, said his departure was “seismic”.

“The resignation of the speaker is a stark indication of the disarray of the House Republicans,” she said.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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