House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appeared on one Sunday show — CBS’ “Face the Nation” — after his Friday surprise announcement that he’d be resigning from Congress in about a month.
And Boehner used the opportunity to make another firm announcement: There will be no government shutdown this week, despite the efforts of some conservatives to block Planned Parenthood funding.
“The Senate is expected to pass a continuing resolution [this] week. The House will take up the Senate bill. We will also take up a select committee to investigate these horrific videos that we have seen from abortion clinics in several states that really raise questions about the use of federal funds and raise questions about aborted fetuses that are born alive,” he said.
“I have got another 30 days to be speaker. And I’m going to make the same decisions the same way I have over the last four-and-a-half years to make sure that we’re passing conservative legislation that is good for the country.”
Boehner said he doesn’t “want to leave my successor a dirty barn; I want to clean the barn up a little bit before the next person gets there.”
But he made clear that the GOP caucus is in “disagreement,” not “dysfunction.”
“I was planning on leaving at the end of last year. When my friend Eric Cantor lost his primary election in July of last year, it was clear to me that I just couldn’t leave, that I had to provide a transition for the next leaders,” he said.
“I planned on serving through this year. And on November 17, I was going to make an announcement. And on Thursday evening, and Friday morning, I looked up and went, why do I want to put my colleagues through this, when I’m going to make the same announcement six weeks from now? Why do I want to put the institution through this? And so it was the right decision. Frankly, I thought we handled it the right way.”
Boehner was facing a resolution from House conservatives demanding that he vacate the Speaker’s chair.
“Winning that vote was never an issue. I was going to get the overwhelming numbers of — I would have gotten 400 votes probably. But why do I want to make my members, Republican members, walk the plank? Because they’re going to get criticized at home by some who think that we ought to be more aggressive,” he said.
He stressed that “our founders didn’t want some parliamentary system where, if you won the majority, you got to do whatever you wanted.”
“They wanted this long, slow process. And so change comes slowly, and obviously too slowly for some.”
On his critics who say the GOP majority can and should shake up things more quickly, Boehner cautioned that “the Bible says beware of false prophets. ”
“And there are people out there spreading noise about how much can get done. I mean, this whole idea that we were going to shut down the government to get rid of Obamacare in 2013, this plan never had chance,” he said. “But over the course of the August recess in 2013, and the course of September, lot of my Republican colleagues who knew it was a fool’s errand really they were getting all this pressure from home to do this. And so we have got groups here in town, members of the House and Senate here in town who whip people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know, they know are never going to happen.”
Asked for his opinion of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Boehner replied, “I’ll refer you to my remark at a fund-raiser I made in August in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.”
That was: Boehner telling attendees that Cruz’s presidential campaign had a silver lining because it kept “that jackass” out of Washington and on the road.
“I’m referring to that same remark,” Boehner confirmed Sunday.