By Geoffrey Thomulka,
Money & Investing Writer
The pope’s visit to America was one of the most watched and documented trips to the United States by a foreign dignitary in the memorable past.
There is one ramification from this that no one saw coming. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner (R-OH), announced his resignation from Congress following the papal visit to Congress.
Boehner, a Christian man, was reported saying the pope helped him go through with his decision.
Boehner has been wanting to resign from his position in Congress, but never had the drive to do it until he met the pope.
Pope Francis reportedly pulled Boehner in for a hug and whispered the words, “pray for me,” to Boehner.
This struck a chord with him and helped him decide that now was the time to leave Congress.
This was not seen coming and caught many Americans by surprise.
Boehner was quoted saying he was ready to do this since last fall, but refrained because power House Republican, Eric Cantor, was defeated in his primary election.
His main focus on the timing of his resignation was to not leave the Republicans in turmoil upon his departure.
Boehner started his political career as a member on the Board of Trustees in 1981 for Union Township in Ohio.
Four years later, he was moved up into the Ohio State legislature.
Soon later, he beat out incumbent Buz Lukens for a spot in the US House of Representatives, representing Ohio’s 8th district.
He has been re-elected back to his positions ten times, not meeting much competition.
He even ran unopposed twice.
In Congress, he held the position of Chairmen of the Committee for Education and Labor.
Under his tenure in this role, he helped create and pass the Pension Protection Act and a school voucher program for low income students in the DC area.
He also authored a portion of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2002.
Boehner is on record saying the passage of that bill was his proudest professional moment.
In 2006, he was elected as the House Majority Leader, called by many to be an upset.
That marked the beginning of his true congressional leadership. In 2010, when the republicans won control of the House due to a net gain of sixty-three Republican congressmen, Boehner took over as Speaker of the House, a position held by Nancy Pelosi.
Boehner’s resignation does come as a surprise because no one had seen it coming.
He called the visit by the pope to Congress a high point of his career. He is happy to be leaving office on a high note.
Boehner’s likely replacement is Kevin McCarthy, a Republican congressman from California.
He is a very likeable man with a great track record in Congress.
Whoever the replacement is will want to make sure to avoid dissent among the party and try to limit opposition and challenge of authority from the 40 to 50 members that gave Boehner a tough time during his tenure.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 6th print edition.
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