Next Speaker Will Face Familiar Math, Difficult Challenges

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Following up on his retirement announcement Friday, House Speaker John Boehner expressed frustration this week with the “unrealistic” views of Republican critics who say their congressional leaders should be more confrontational.

Noting that the Bible warns against “false prophets,” Boehner said on Face the Nation Sunday: “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 a chance.”

He plans to leave the speaker’s post and his House seat at the end of October. In a press conference Friday, Boehner expressed pride in what Republicans had accomplished in recent years but said he decided to announce his resignation because of “this prolonged leadership turmoil.”

His announcement comes as Congress faces several deadlines for difficult fiscal decisions that have been repeatedly postponed.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed Monday he would seek the speakership. As Boehner’s remarks this week underscored, however, whoever follows him can also expect to face difficult challenges.

The Republicans will still lack a veto-proof majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. That means little can get accomplished on Capitol Hill without the sort of bipartisan cooperation and compromises that Boehner’s critics on the right have denounced.

As. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) noted: “Whoever is in the speaker’s chair has the same mathematics.”   

External links:
Boehner’s Sept. 27 Face the Nation Interview
Boehner’s Friday News Conference
Boehner Successor Likely to Face Similar Problems (N.Y. Times)
Top 5 Policy Challenges Facing Next Speaker (Fiscal Times)

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