What Boehner Resignation Means for a Government Shutdown

While House Speaker John Boehner's decision to step down at the end of October rocked the Capitol and reverberated through the political world, it won't shutdown the government.

Instead, Boehner's surprising announcement has lowered the odds of a second shutdown in three years.

Congress has until Wednesday night to pass a spending bill to keep the government open for business. Leadership in both chambers have broadly agreed on a short-term measure, called a continuing resolution, to keep the government funded for a few months at previous levels -- setting the stage for larger budget negotiations over lifting domestic and defense spending caps.

But Boehner faced conservative pressure to defund Planned Parenthood in a stopgap spending bill. He informed his conference today that -- along with his resignation -- Republicans would instead adopt a longer-term strategy to target the organization's federal funding, known as budget reconciliation.

The plan paves the way for the House to vote on a "clean" spending bill next week that doesn't touch Planned Parenthood funding, a demand of Senate Democrats who have filibustered attempts to defund the organization.

House conservatives, who had all but threatened to force a vote on Boehner's gavel, still plan to oppose the bill. But Boehner's announcement lowers the political stakes of using Democratic votes to avert a shutdown.

Boehner said today that conservative pressure had nothing to do with his decision to step down, which he had already been mulling.

"There was never any doubt about whether I could survive the vote," Boehner said at a press conference today. "But I don't want my members to have to go through this."

His retirement helps Congress over the short-term hurdle, with just days to spare.

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