House Speaker John Boehner, under fire from conservatives over a looming government shut down, said Friday he will resign from Congress at the end of October. "Prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution," he said.
In an afternoon news conference, Boehner became emotional when expressing gratitude to his family and constituents, and said he was proud of what he's accomplished.
However, Boehner said he plans to get as much work done as he can on outstanding fiscal issues before he leaves Congress at the end of October.
He said although he doesn't know what he will do in the future, "I know this, I'm doing this for the right reasons and you know what, the right things will happen as a result."
Boehner, 65, told House Republicans of his decision earlier in the morning. Later, he left a meeting and answered a reporter's shouted question about how he felt with, "It's a wonderful day."
President Barack Obama said he was taken by surprise by Boehner's decision, adding that he called the Republican leader after hearing the news.
"John Boehner is a good man. He is a patriot. He cares deeply about the House, an institution in which he has served for a long time. He cares about his constituents and he cares about America," Obama told reporters at a joint press conference with China's president.
"We have obviously had a lot of disagreements, and politically we're at different ends of the spectrum, but I will tell you he has always conducted himself with courtesy and civility with me," Obama said.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California will likely be Boehner's successor, political observers told CNBC. Boehner said that although the choice of the next speaker is up to members of Congress, he thinks McCarthy would make an "excellent speaker."
In a statement, McCarthy praised Boehner for a "depth of character [that] is unmatched," and said he will be missed.
"Now is the time for our conference to focus on healing and unifying to face the challenges ahead and always do what is best for the American people," McCarthy said.
Republicans cheered loudly when GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio announced the news.
"It's not about him or anybody else, and I'm not here to bash anyone, but the time has come to turn the page—the time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leadership in this country," the Florida senator said.