House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), tissue box within reach, took to the House floor Thursday morning to offer his farewell as House Speaker.
“I leave with no regrets, no burdens. If anything, I leave the way I started. Just a regular guy, humbled by the chance to do a big job. That’s what I’m most proud of. I’m still just me, the same guy who came here 25 years ago as a small business man and spent all these 25 years trying to just be me,” Boehner said on the House floor.
Following Thursday’s speaker’s election, Boehner will resign as House speaker and will resign as a representative at the end of October. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) the Republican’s nominee for speaker, is expected to take the gavel as his successor.
Before the election, Boehner offered his remembrances and thanks to colleagues, constituents, family, and staff.
“I want to express what an honor it’s been to serve with all of you,” he said. “The people’s house is in my view the great embodiment of the american dream. everybody here comes from somewhere and everybody here’s on some mission.”
Boehner touched on some of the House’s accomplishments under his leadership, including entitlement reform and preventing tax increases.
“We are on track to save taxpayers $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years. the most significant spending reductions in modern times. We have banned earmarks all together. Sorry,” he said.
“We have protected this institution,” Boehner continued. “We have made it more open to the people. And every day in this Capital City there are hundreds of kids from the toughest neighborhoods who are finally getting a chance at a decent education. I’m proud of these things.”
The outgoing speaker noted that his mission for “smaller, less costly, and more accountable federal government” is not over but that it is a lengthy process.
“Real change takes time,” he said. “Yes, freedom makes all things possible, but patience is what makes all things real. So believe in the long slow struggle. believe in this country’s ability to meet her challenges and to lead the world. and remember, you can’t do a big job alone. Especially this one.”
Boehner recalled how his likely successor Paul Ryan actually put up signs as a college student for of his earlier campaign.
“Paul is being called to serve, and I know he will serve that calling with grace and energy,” Boehner said.
The Ohio lawmaker did have some tears, in considering the journey he has had, analogizing it to a winding hill in his home town and calling it “a chase for the American Dream.”
“Never forget, we are the luckiest people on the face of the Earth. In America, you can do anything if you’re willing to work hard and make the necessary sacrifices. If you falter – and you will – you can just dust yourself off and keep on going. Because hope always springs eternal. And if you just do the right things for the right reasons, good things will happen. And this, too, can really happen to you,” he said.
Boehner commenced and concluded his speech to standing ovations.