My mission every day is to fight for a smaller, less costly and more accountable government. Over the last five years, our majority has advanced conservative reforms that will help our children and their children. We’re now on track to cut government spending by $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years. We’ve made the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades. And we’ve protected 99 percent of Americans from permanent tax increases.
We’ve done all this with a Democrat in the White House. So I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.
But more than anything, my first job as Speaker is to protect the institution. A lot of you now know that my plan was to step down at the end of last year. I decided in November of 2010 when I was elected Speaker that serving two terms would have been plenty. But in June of last year, when it became clear that the majority leader lost his election, I frankly didn’t believe it was right to leave the end of last year. So my goal was to leave at the end of this year. So I planned, actually on my birthday, Nov. 17, to announce that I was leaving at the end of the year.
But it’s become clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution. So I informed my colleagues that I would resign from the Speakership and resign from Congress at the end of October.
Now, as you’ve often heard me say, this isn’t about me. It’s about the people, it’s about the institution. Just earlier this week, we witnessed the awesome sight of Pope Francis addressing the greatest legislative body in the world. And I hope that we will all heed his call to live by the Golden Rule. But last night, I had started to think about all this. Then this morning, I woke up, said my prayers, as I always do. And I decided, you know, today’s the day I’m going to do this, as simple as that.
That’s the code I’ve always lived by: if you do the right things for the right reasons, the right things will happen. And I know good things lie ahead for this House and this country. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, and I’m especially proud of my team. This is my 25th year here, and I’ve succeeded in putting a staff together and a team together, many of which have been with me for a long time. Without a great stuff, you can’t be a great member, and you certainly can’t be a great Speaker.
I want to thank my family for putting up with this all these years. My poor girls, who are now 37 and 35. Their first campaign photo was in July of 1981, and so, they’ve had to endure all this. It’s one thing for me to have to endure it. I’ve got thick skin. But, you know, the girls and my wife, they had to put up with a lot over the years.
Let me express my gratitude to my constituents, who’ve sent me here 13 times over the last 25 years. You can’t get here without getting votes. But — I say this often. People ask me, what’s the greatest thing about being speaker, or about being an elected official? And I said, well, it’s the people you get to meet. You know, I have met tens of thousands of people in my own congressional district that I would have not met, other than the fact I decided to ran for Congress. Over the years, as I traveled on behalf of my colleagues and the party, I’ve met tens of thousands of additional people all over the country. And you meet rich people, you meet poor people, you meet interesting people. Probably a few boring ones along the way.
But I can tell you that 99.9 percent of the people I meet on the road, anywhere, could not be — could not be nicer than they’ve been. It’s been — really, it’s been wonderful.
It’s been an honor to serve in this institution.
John Boehner represents Ohio’s 8th District, which includes all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami and Preble counties, and the southernmost part of Mercer County. He was first elected to Congress in 1990.