John Boehner resigns

Links to stories about John Boehner’s resignation:

Links analysing the effect of his resignation, especially on the potential shutdown:

John Boehner has announced that at the end of October he will resign from the House, not just as Speaker but altogether. This is rather unprecedented in recent US politics and is good examples for students of factions within parties for Unit 3 and the power (or not) of the Speaker for Unit 4.

Since Boehner has taken the role of the Spaker, his time has not been without headlines. In January of this year he retained the position of Speaker but with 25 Republicans voting for someone else – the biggest rebellion in 150 years of Congress (https://lgspolitics.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/boehner-retakes-the-leadership-under-fire-from-his-own-side/). Now, with a shutdown looming and a battle over the funding of planned parenthood, Boehner has decided his continued leadership would do lasting damage to the House.

“Boehner had battled conservatives aligned with the Tea Party for most of his nearly five years as speaker, and in recent weeks they had threatened to try to oust him from power if did not pursue a strategy of defunding Planned Parenthood that would have likely led to a government shutdown. Conservatives said that if Boehner failed to fight on the government spending bill, they would call up a procedural motion to “vacate the chair” and demand the election of a new speaker. Facing the likelihood that he would need Democrats to save him, Boehner instead chose to step down.” (The Atlantic)

In the short term, this should mean that a shutdown will be avoided next week. A spending bill will be passed to keep the government running. However the Republicans will then consider Reconciliation Bills to defund planned parenthood and the Affordable Care Act. This type of bill cannot be filibustered in the Senate, menaing the House hold the power – in line with their constitutional ‘power of the purse’. This means to stop them, Obama will have to veto them. Obama has already made it very clear he will, even issung a statement from EXOP (https://lgspolitics.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/the-importance-of-a-veto-threat/) but he must convince Congress he actually will.

There is so much detail here for A2 students but this really is a momentous story and one which demonstrates the connectivity of the topics that you study at A2. In brief, it could demonstrate:

  • the declining power of the role of the Speaker, unable to hold on to his position or control his party in the face of opposition (Congress – Unit 4)
  • The factionalisation of parties, especially the growing power of the right wing of the Republican Party (Parties – Unit 3)
  • It also demonstrates the importance of parties within Congress (Parties – Unit 3/Congress – Unit 4)
  • The unwillingness of Boehner to use Democrats to maintain his position shows a failure of bipartisanship. (Constitution – Unit 4)
  • The use of Reconciliation Bills show the exclusive powers of the House of Reps and their power over money (Congress – Unit 4)
  • The issued threat of the veto from Obama shows the power of a president, even towards the end of his time in office when facing an opposition Congress (President – Unit 4

This is certainly an example on which it is worth reading a few of the links above and definitely one I would recommend you knew well for your exams.

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