An emotional House Speaker John Boehner says he woke up Friday morning and decided to announce his resignation from Congress because prolonged turmoil over his leadership would do irreparable harm to the House.
The Ohio Republican says he had planned to leave the speakership by the end of the year anyway. But he says he moved up his timetable as unrest among conservatives threatened the House. He told reporters at a news conference it has been an honor to serve in the House for 25 years and as its top leader.
The 13-term Ohio Republican shocked his GOP caucus early Friday morning when he informed them of his decision in a closed-door session. Florida Rep. John Mica says Boehner "just does not want to become the issue."
Conservatives have demanded that any legislation to keep the government operating past next Wednesday's midnight deadline strip Planned Parenthood of his funds, a stance opposed by more pragmatic lawmakers. The dispute had threatened Boehner's speakership and roiled the GOP caucus.
Boehner took over the speakership in January 2011.