John Boehner Steps Down

WASHINGTON (AP)- John Boehner says his “first job” as speaker of the House is to “protect this institution that we all love.” And he says if he were to stay on as speaker, there would be a “prolonged leadership turmoil” that would “do irreparable damage” to the House.

In a statement, he says that’s why he is giving up the speakership, and his seat in Congress, at the end of October. He’s stepping aside in the face of hardline conservative opposition that came to a head in a battle over funding for Planned Parenthood.

Boehner says House Republicans have “advanced conservative reforms” during the past five years that he says “will help our children and their children.” He says, “I am proud of what we have accomplished.”

Some conservatives are welcoming the announcement. But more mainstream Republicans say the tea party lawmakers have scored a small victory that will cost them in the long run.

Although it’s not certain who will succeed Boehner, the most obvious candidate would be the No. 2 House Republican, Kevin McCarthy, a genial Californian who was first elected to Congress in 2006. Regardless of what he does, Boehner’s departure ensures a major leadership race in which tea party conservatives would be expected to field a candidate.

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