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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Speaker Boehner Announces Resignation Amidst Party Infighting and Washington Deadlock


On Sept. 25, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced he would resign at the end of October.

On the morning of September 25, John Boehner announced his resignation as Speaker of the House midway through his third term. The decision comes amidst party infighting and a Washington deadlock that risks repeating the 2013 government shutdown. The budget deadline, Sept. 30, looms.

“Boehner saw a big battle on the horizon over Planned Parenthood and a wing of the Republican Party he is sick of dealing with. I think he decided to cut his losses,” says Erin O’Brien, Political Science chair at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Boehner, son of a poor Buckeye barkeeper, climbed both corporate and political ladders. The Republican congressman from Ohio was made Speaker when his party took control of the House chamber in 2010.

The ultra-conservative Tea Party movement has for a long time clashed with Boehner ideologically and over his ‘old school’ leadership style.

“He is not an ideologue on social policy. He doesn’t hate government. He sees a role for government while the Tea Party wants to figuratively blow up government,” says O’Brien.

Boehner doles out ‘pork’ money as a reward, something the Tea Party considers a waste of taxpayer dollars. ‘Pork’ is funds appropriated to districts for civic projects, like new bridges or senior centers, that wins constituent satisfaction with representatives.
“The Tea Party never had enough votes to oust him, but they did have enough votes to make his life very very miserable,” says O’Brien. 

The Tea Party grassroots political movement sprang up shortly after Obama took office, and has found representational foothold in Congress in the years since.

Many conservatives have refused to vote for any government spending bill with Planned Parenthood funding attached, because of recent controversy.

A series of videos released by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress this summer depicted personnel at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic exhibiting fetal tissue to undercover filmmakers posing as buyers from a biomedical company. Some say the videos prove Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue, although the organization claims they only get reimbursed for transportation costs. Planned Parenthood further asserts that any techniques purposefully utilized to preserve fetal tissue are done with permission of the mother, because from an bioethical standpoint, her health should be priority. Criticism has been lined at the videos because post-production editing pulled some statements out of context.

Pro-lifers morally object to abortions, believing them to constitute the taking of human life.

Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of reproductive health services in the country. Their services include birth control, STD and cancer screening, abortion clinics, and more. With Obama poised to veto any spending bill that defunds Planned Parenthood, Washington is set in political deadlock as the Sept. 30 deadline approaches. Will there be another government shutdown?