Speaker of the House John Boehner had a rough 2013 — his party turned against him and shut down the government. Now, the poor guy is contemplating death, or at least the death of his career.
At a San Antonio, Texas luncheon on Monday organized by local chambers of commerce, Boehner sat down for a live interview with the Texas Tribune. When asked whether he'd remain speaker after the midterm elections, he said:
Listen, I’m going to be 65 years old in November. I never thought I’d live to be 60. So I’m living on borrowed time.
The Ohio Republican said he expects to be the speaker next term, but that he can't "predict what's going to happen." He didn't commit one way or another.
Many in the party are worried about the balance between establishment Republicans like Boehner and the vocal Tea Party members in the House. As Politico's Jake Sherman notes, some see Boehner's willingness to talk more about immigration reform as a sign he might give up the gavel to the rebels.
During the interview, Boehner did comment on reform, which has been stalled since last year because he won't bring a bipartisan Senate bill to the House floor. He said Congress is "getting closer" to passing some kind of immigration reform, and that the midterm elections shouldn't have any bearing on whether or not the job gets done: "This is not about politics. It’s not about elections; it’s about doing the right thing for the American people. It’s about doing the right thing for the country. Period."
Meanwhile, Tea Party candidates have tied Boehner to "amnesty" during their midterm campaigns. Bryan Smith, who's challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson in Idaho, ran ads this week alleging that "Boehner ally" Simpson supports "amnesty" for "illegal aliens." So Boehner will likely remain a symbol of D.C. establishment interests throughout the end of his career. Maybe the fact that he's held on to the gavel this long does make him a living miracle.