John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, will resign from Congress next month, he announced on Friday, in a stunning move that follows intense pressure from conservatives in the House.
The top Republican on Capitol Hill announced his resignation at a party meeting on Friday morning and later confirmed in a statement that he will step down on 30 October. It brings to a close a career spanning nearly three decades, and a four-year speakership that has been marked by Republican infighting following the party’s taking control of the chamber in 2011.
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.