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Thursday, October 20, 2016

By Steve Holland and Erin McPike

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The news that U.S. House Speaker John Boehner will resign electrified a summit of Republican conservatives on Friday, with a variety of presidential candidates saying it is time for a new generation of leadership in Washington.

Raucous cheers broke out at the Values Voter Summit in Washington when Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, broke into his prepared speech to announce that Boehner planned to step down.

“I’m not here to bash anyone,” Rubio told the crowd. “But the time has come to turn the page.”

Many conservatives have long since been fed up with Boehner for what they consider a failure to advance their agenda. With Republicans in control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, conservatives are frustrated that President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law has not been repealed and that Obama still seems to have his way with Congress.

“This is an opportunity for a new speaker who will take it as a solemn commitment to the people who elected us that he or she is going to do exactly what we told the voters we will do,” said Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, another Republican presidential hopeful.

Boehner’s announcement that he was leaving the speakership and Congress effective Oct. 30 highlighted the split in his party between conservatives and more moderate Republicans.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, hailed Boehner as a good man who had grown weary of attempting to keep conservative House Republicans in line.

“I’m sad because I have great respect and affection for Speaker Boehner,” McCain told reporters after his address to the Values Voter Summit.

Some Republican presidential candidates are trying to tap into conservatives’ anger at the party’s establishment in order to gain support from a key voting bloc and advance their bid for the nomination to run in November 2016.

New York billionaire Donald Trump, who is leading in opinion polls of Republican voters, said politicians become different people once they get to Washington.

“They get elected. They’re full of vim and vigor. They’re going to change things. They’re going to get rid of Obamacare. They’re going to do all of these things. They come down to these magnificent vaulted ceilings that you see all over Washington. And what happens? They become different people,” Trump told summit attendees.

The candidates had another reason to welcome the Boehner news. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 72 percent of Republican primary voters were dissatisfied with Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ability to achieve Republican goals. The poll was conducted Sunday through Thursday.

(Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Photo: U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) wipes away tears as he answers questions about his resignation as Speaker and from the U.S. Congress at a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 25 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

  • charleo1

    There is a cancer in the U.S. House of Representatives, and it’s frustrated. And it’s angry at it’s failure to advance it’s agenda of killing it’s host. At it’s host, the Federal Gov. for it’s institutionalized resistance to minority rule by threat, coercion, or fiat. If only there wasn’t a Constitution that dictates agendas be advanced by majorities formed by consensus born of compromise. And that if only compromise consisting of talking, bargaining, and working with those who have a different agenda, and vision, wasn’t so essentially a part of democratic governance. If only we weren’t America.

    • Polana

      How true. Now we will have poss. McCarthy a copy of Hitler/Mussollini agenda.
      The TP is winning and stupid/gullible people will vote them in. It’s not about Country and it’s people it’s about them and power and money. Even if Jesus would run, they /Trump would found that he is not even Jesus (no birth certificate, he is a Jew or Arab or Muslim or leader of ISIS) Repukes Marco Rubicon,Cruz (half breed),Hoothatbe, Santorectorum, Carstonboring, Furiousrina etc will condemn him to death again. Even a myth. Only in USA Morons win, the know nothing but know how to get it.

      • Bill

        The GOP has done nothing for the people who voted them in, but they will still believe what they say over what they do. When they destroy everything, what then?

        • Looner

          I shudder to think of the answer to that question.

  • rednekokie

    The problem is the Republican party itself, for allowing itself to be split in two by this group.
    If this group (“tea party”) wants to govern, they should do it under their own name. Instead, they have usurped the rightful place of what used to be a fine political party with a great name, and have totally replaced republican ideas with ideas of their own.
    If the republicans had a grain of sense, and ever wanted to gain full power and the ability to govern again, they would disenfranchise these idiots, for they never will with all this fractured infighting.
    I used to be a republican. Now, wouldn’t vote for one for dog catcher.

    • Raja Mitchell

      Totally agree with you. Same with me.

    • Bob Eddy

      The problem with that is that there just aren’t enough of the old guard Republicans anymore to make a viable party. That is why they welcomed these yahoos into the party. Paradoxically, as the upper middle class which was the backbone of the party has been decimated, largely as a result of Republican policy, the party has had to welcome these kooks and grifters into the party and now the kooks and grifters have taken over the asylum.

  • Bob Eddy

    Boehner and McConnell can’t advance Republican goals because those goals are at odds with the majority of Americans — and these fools just can’t comprehend that basic truth, even though poll after poll shows that what they say Americans want is not what Americans want. Then there is the problem that they just don’t seem to understand the legislative process. It is beyond their comprehension that no matter what legislation the house passes, it still has to pass through the Senate and then the long odds of overcoming a Presidential veto. Through gerrymandering, voter suppression and dark money, they have formed some seblence of minority rule, but in the end, this is a democracy and democracy wins!

  • John Murchison

    Everyone who has commented on this article are spot on correct. The thing I took away from this article was how incredibly easy it was for the GOP to stab one of their own in the back. I’m no fan of Boehner but damn cant they leave the man a little dignity on his way out. Old Rome had nothing on these guys. Et tu Marco.