Congressional Democrats ripped into House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) resignation announcement as a sign of weakness and “a stark indication of the disarray” in the House Republican caucus.
At a press conference this morning, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the news “seismic for the House.”
Pelosi said she called Boehner this morning before the news broke, “just to see how we’re doing on the [continuing resolution],” and was told he was in a meeting and would call her back — then “the phones just lit up and that’s how we found out.”
“The American people are even now more closely watching what happens here because they’ve seen a speaker step down because those in his caucus are demanding a shutdown of government unless there’s a defunding of Planned Parenthood. Public awareness is the strongest, strongest opportunity we have for keeping government open and so even some of their Karl Roves and the rest of that, my understanding is, have spoken out against shutting down government,” she said.
Pelosi said she’ll stand again as the Democrats’ candidate for speaker. Four members of her caucus voted against her last time. “But it will be interesting to see who they nominate for speaker, that’s really the question,” she said.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor this morning that he was “stunned” by Boehner’s news.
“I have had a relationship with John Boehner for a long time. His becoming Speaker, of course, made those relations much more close. I have not always agreed and I wasn’t always happy with what John told me, but he never, ever misled me. He never, ever told me something that wasn’t true and I accepted that. I got where I understood John Boehner very, very well. His word was always good,” Reid said.
Boehner, Reid said, has had “a very difficult job,” juggling “this faction, that faction, that faction and a couple more.”
“But by ousting a man like John Boehner – a good man like John Boehner – he is a conservative Republican. But his problem is that John Boehner has been pragmatic. He realizes there comes times when you have to make a deal,” he said. “…To say that I will miss John Boehner is a tremendous understatement. I looked out for him in ways that I could, and he looked out for me in the ways that he could.”
“…Whatever I can do to make his life more pleasant, I’ll be happy to do that. Whether it’s setting up a golf game for him in Las Vegas or helping him in some government matter, I will do whatever I can. Because John Boehner, as far as I’m concerned, is a good man.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said House leaders, as Boehner prepares to leave at the end of October, should “seize immediately” on a clear path “for approval of a CR without continuing obstructionists efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.”
“Regardless of who succeeds him as Speaker, I hope this change in leadership will help bring Republicans together so the Congress can accomplish more, and move away from governing by crisis,” Blumenthal said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) opined that “it appears that even a very conservative speaker like John Boehner is unable to control the extreme right-wing drift of Republicans in the House.”
“This is a party whose ideology is way out of touch with the American people,” Sanders said. “Without Boehner, it may get even worse.”