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Resignation Avoids Shutdown

In a stunning turn of events, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced on Friday, September 23, 2015 he would resign from the speakership and Congress by mid-October, setting the stage for the election of a new Speaker amongst a fractured and dysfunctional Republican party.

Many analysts believe Speaker Boehner sacrificed himself in order to avoid another government shutdown.  Increasing pressure by a small group of Republicans in the Senate and House to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood in any measure that kept the federal government open was becoming a lightning rod for the Republicans, who hold a majority in the Senate and House.

However, with Boehner’s resignation, challenges still persist for the Republicans and the Congress. A short term funding bill was approved by both Chambers that keeps the government operating through December 11th. The timing couldn’t be worse, as the funding measure expires around the time that Congress will be asked to raise the debt borrowing limit and the Federal Reserve will meet to consider raising interest rates for the first time in nearly 10 years.

The race for the Speakership is seemingly wrapped up, current Majority Leaders Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is expected to be elected, even though Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the house oversight and government reform committee, announced his candidacy on October 4th and Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) has also announced his candidacy.  Elections for leadership will be held on October 8th.

The fight within the Republican caucus is not just happening on Capitol Hill but the Republican Presidential primary, where 15 candidates (two additional candidates have withdrawn, former Governor Rick Perry [R-TX] and Governor Scott Walker [R-WI]) are jostling for the party’s nomination. The next 13 months will be full of political twists and turns.

Katie Vlietstra is NASE’s Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs.

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