Long Live Speaker Boehner? The GOP’s Punching Bag May Be Around For A While

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The revolt by conservatives to push out House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may have the opposite effect, some Republicans are suggesting. With House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) shocking decision to drop out of the speaker’s race — due to resistance from the same group of conservative hardliners — many are suggesting that Boehner will have no choice but to stick out the rest of the term, despite his desire to step down by Oct. 30.

“John Boehner has served the state of Ohio and the American people for a very long time, and I think he deserves the right to go out on his own terms, and so I don’t know what that will mean,” Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) said on Fox News. “But I do know John’s heart and I’m confident he will do whatever is best for the American people and the institution until we do find a Speaker.”

In his statement after the McCarthy’s decision, Boehner confirmed he would stay on as speaker until a new one is elected. Rules Committee member Tom Cole (R-OK) said earlier this week that according to parliamentarian rules, Boehner’s resignation cannot take effect until the House elects his replacement.

With the implosion of McCarthy’s speaker bid, some Republican lawmakers are now expressing doubt whether there’s any possible candidate that can gain the support of Republicans hardliners and institutionalists alike in order to secure the 218 votes necessary once the speaker vote hits the House floor.

Based on conversations with several senior congressional aides, Fox New’s Bret Baier suggested that Boehner would stay on until a candidate with 218 votes of support was found, even if that meant staying on until the end of the current term, in January 2017. The previous plan was for a House vote on Oct. 29. But with Boehner’s announcement that the GOP vote to pick a nominee had been postponed, it is unclear when or if that vote will happen.

Even before Thursday’s surprising events, some had suggested the party would remain deadlocked on the issue.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get a speaker until the next Congress,” one Republican unnamed lawmaker told Fox News, while McCarthy still was in the race.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.
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