Friday, September 25, 2015

Boehner to step down as Speaker, resign from Congress


U.S. House Speaker John Boehner surprised Capitol Hill this morning when he announced that he would be resigning both as Speaker and as Congressman, effective the end of October.

Here's the reaction from some of Oklahoma's congressional delegation:

Sen. Jim Inhofe:
"I was serving in the U.S. House when John Boehner was first elected, and I consider him a friend. We knew then that he would be a leader in our party. While he took positions that were not always popular, John led with conviction and was a true public servant. John will be remembered for his commitment in bringing about a new era for Republicans in the House. I wish him and his family my best."
Sen. James Lankford:
"I’ve always appreciated Speaker Boehner's sincere love for his family, his country and his party. It is admirable that he demonstrated a willingness to work on important issues, such as government transparency, energy, regulatory reform, defense, transportation and education. Leadership in Congress is a challenge for anyone, especially during a time when America grapples with so many issues. Any person who is willing to put in the long hours and endure all of the competing priorities deserves our gratitude and respect."

"Our nation, and this Congress, face very serious challenges, including massive federal debt, the deterioration of families, a stagnant economy and terrorism. Congressional Republicans need to select a new leader, set a clear path to govern, and stay focused on the needs of the American people."
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1):
"It is time to elect a Speaker who will resolve to no longer fund the government by Continuing Resolution. Congress must follow an appropriations process that ensures our constituents are represented. We must once again use the power of the purse as a constitutional check on the executive branch. I’m looking forward to supporting a candidate committed to these principles."
Rep. Tom Cole (OK-4):
“It has been a great personal privilege to serve with Speaker John Boehner,” said Cole. “I’ve had the honor of knowing the Speaker since he was a young freshman Congressman, and I’ve watched his career with admiration and appreciation throughout his time of service. After the 2008 election, most assumed that Republicans would remain in the minority for decades to come. It was because of John Boehner’s determination and leadership that Republicans recaptured the majority in 2010 and retained it in 2012 even as President Obama was re-elected.

“For the first four years of his speakership, he was both the tip of the spear and goalie in dealing with the Obama Administration. Despite having to confront a Democratic president and Senate during most of his tenure, he achieved several truly historic conservative victories. Among those for which all Americans should thank him are the rapid decline of the deficit, making almost all of the Bush tax cuts permanent and securing meaningful entitlement reforms that strengthened Medicare and Medicaid. One wonders what he might have done if given the opportunity to work with a Republican president and Senate throughout his entire tenure.

“In what is often a thankless job, made even more difficult in divided government, the Speaker has served with dignity and effectiveness. I regard John Boehner as a great Speaker, a dedicated public servant, a man of great personal integrity and a cherished friend. He leaves a truly remarkable legacy. I wish him, his family and his loyal staff all the best.”
Rep. Steve Russell (OK-5):
"History will judge John Boehner kindly."
Here is Russell's updated statement:
“It was quite a shock to the entire Conference this morning and we were all stunned when Speaker Boehner announced his resignation. I have had the privilege to get to know and work with him on important policy in my time in Washington. I have the utmost respect for him and the job he has done, as we have seen over 350 measures passed in the House this year, and see the largest majority since Calvin Coolidge was President. My hope is we can move forward and unite as a Conference, as there are many important issues we still need to address. The last thing we need is to just change out the target on the shooting range.”

In fairness to Rep. Russell, his office says he will be issuing additional comments later today (updated above). Rep. Markwayne Mullin and Rep. Frank Lucas do not appear to have issued any statements yet.

Tom Cole's glowing (and lengthy) statement praising Boehner does not surprise me -- Cole is the member of Oklahoma's delegation most out of step with most Oklahoma Republican activists. John Boehner has been, in many ways, a disaster as Speaker. Time after time, he capitulated to Democratic demands -- it's no wonder why Harry Reid says he will miss Boehner as Speaker. When Republicans needed backbone, Boehner didn't come through.

Let's hope that House Republicans make a good choice for his successor.

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