Wisconsin GOP House Members React To Boehner Resignation

Ryan Not Interested In Job, Sensenbrenner Calls Boehner A "Scapegoat"

Speaker John Boehner (CC-BY-NC)

Members of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation are expressing surprise over the planned resignation of House Speaker John Boehner, who announced Friday that he will be stepping down at the end of October.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan released a statement that praised the speaker as, “a great leader of the Republican Party and the House of Representatives,” and called Boehner’s decision to step down is “an act of pure selflessness.”

Ryan, a Janesville Republican and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee also said he’s not interested in vying to replace Boehner as House speaker, according to a spokesman.

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Northeastern Wisconsin’s Rep. Reid Ribble said he would have supported Boehner if he had chosen to continue in the position.

Ribble met with John Boehner Thursday and said he had no indication a resignation was coming.

Ribble often aligns himself with the conservative wing of the Republican party in Congress. But he says he did not support a so-called “motion to vacate the chair,” which was proposed by Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

“I think that was one of the converging ideas that maybe helped the speaker move to a place where he decided he wanted to step down now,” said Ribble. “It’s difficult to manage when at anytime any member can just put a resolution out there and try to move the speaker out.”

Ribble said he and other lawmakers urged Boehner to “ignore” the motion, but said he’ll support whoever is the next speaker. He said California Rep. Kevin McCarthy is a likely replacement.

Meanwhile, fellow northern Wisconsin Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy applauded Boehner’s decision to step down, saying the speaker will follow a tradition of voluntarily handing over power that dates back to George Washington.

Duffy was in agreement with Ribble, saying that despite frequent battles with Tea Party members of Congress, Boehner wasn’t in jeopardy of losing the speakership.

“I think he thought that with some of the turmoil that’s been going on right now, someone else might be able to lead the institution better even though he could stay until the end of his term,” Duffy said.

For his part, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Milwaukee, said Friday on WTMJ radio that Boehner ended up “being the scapegoat” for not being able to overcome filibustering Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

Sensenbrenner calls the speaker’s job “thankless.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include statements from U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble.