He is third in line for presidency after the vice president, one of the most powerful positions in Washington, and for months has been lambasted for his failure to take a harder stance on conservative causes such as defunding Planned Parenthood. Today in a shocking announcement, House Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation as the top House Republican and says Pope Francis’ message to Congress played a crucial role in his decision.
Boehner, who has served as House Speaker since 2011, made his announcement in a closed-door meeting with House Republicans. According to one lawmaker, Boehner told the lawmakers that Pope Francis’ visit to Congress the day before was a crystallizing moment and that he “literally did not make the decision until last night.” This was confirmed by a top Boehner aide who told CNN the Speaker did not make his final decision until Thursday night, after Pope Francis pointed out the importance of Congressional role in caring for the people and lambasted congress for host of missteps including arms dealing for money, ignoring global warming, and failing to care for the needy. According to Boehner:
“Last night I started thinking about this and this morning I woke up and I said my prayers — as I always do — and I decided today’s the day I’m going to do this. As simple as that.”