Live video from the U.S. House Chamber
Speaker of the House John Boehner will hand over the speaker's gavel to Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan today. Later this week, the West Chester Twp. Republican will also end his 24-year career in Congress
Erica Werner of the Associated Press said that Boehner reflected Wednesday on a nearly quarter-century run on Capitol Hill, defended his decision to push a bipartisan budget deal through the House as his final act before leaving Congress.
"It's a solid agreement and I'm proud of it," Boehner told a group of reporters in his office shortly before the House approved the deal that raises the government's borrowing limit through early 2017 and sets spending levels for two years — taking both those thorny issues off the table for Speaker-nominee Rep. Paul Ryan.
"It was something that in my view had to be done," Boehner said. "I didn't think leaving this for the next speaker was at all fair."
Guide to today's events
Times are tentative
9 a.m.: Speaker Boehner opens the House
9:40 a.m.: Speaker Boehner delivers farewell remarks
9:50 a.m.: Nominations for Speaker
9:57 a.m.: Manual roll call on election of Speaker
10:55 a.m.: Speaker Boehner announces election of Speaker-elect Ryan
11:05 a.m.: Sergeant at Arms announces Speaker-elect Ryan and the Escort Committee
11:07 a.m.: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi presents Speaker-elect Ryan and Speaker-elect Ryan addresses the House
11:20 a.m.: Oath of Office is administered to Speaker-elect Ryan by Dean of the House."
Boehner will then submit his letters of resignation. The first letter will be sent to Governor John Kasich and the second letter will be delivered to Speaker Ryan. The letters will inform them that he will resign his congressional seat, ... effective at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.
Columbus-area Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Twp., recalled how as a freshman in 2001, Boehner pulled him aside when he saw that Tiberi had not requested to serve on the Education and Workforce Committee. Boehner told him he’d serve on it. “It was an unbelievable experience,” Tiberi said.He said he watched as Boehner ironed out differences with other lawmakers to pass the 2001 No Child Left Behind.
“Boy, could he run a committee,” Tiberi recalled. “It was really his forte.”
Boehner proud of his work in Congress
Boehner said he's proud of the work he's done as a member of Congress from Ohio's 8th District which includes Butler, Clark, Miami, Preble, Darke and part of Mercer counties.
He said he's having no second thoughts about his decision to resign under conservative pressure, leaving Congress before the end of his term.
Earlier this month, Boehner told Washington Bureau reporter Jessica Wehrman that he developed a thick hide in the speaker's job.
“You’re going to have this job, you’re going to have people criticize you every day,” he said. “You just get used to it.”
He admitted Congress is far more polarized today than it was 20 years ago.
“The Congress reflects their constituents,” he said, “and as we’ve watched over the last 20 years people were getting hundreds of times more information about their Congress than they ever got before … it’s tended to pull or push people into one or two camps, leaving fewer people in the middle.”
Boehner said he'd given Ryan lots of advice. Chief among it: "This is the loneliest place in the world," Boehner said. "Almost as lonely as the presidency."
Boehner's biggest regret, he said, was not finalizing a major budget deal with President Barack Obama in 2011 that would put the country on a much sounder fiscal footing.
That failure "still stings," said Boehner. But he demurred on getting drawn into why it was tough to work for Obama, saying he'd save such reflections for a book.
Boehner said he wasn't aware of anything he could have done differently to deal with the House Freedom Caucus, the group of hard-line conservatives who pushed him toward the exits by threatening a floor vote on his speakership after complaining of his penchant for compromise.
The 65-year-old has worked every day of his life since he had a paper route at age 8, and claimed to have no idea what he'll do next. Golf and time with his first grandchild — who he joked will address him as "Mr. Speaker" — will play a big part.
"It's the Congress," Boehner said. "We've been America's favorite whipping boy for 200 years. And guess what. Two hundred years from now they're going to be saying the same thing."