Laura Olson, Morning Call
Count Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent among those surprised by outgoing House Speaker John Boehner's resignation announcement Friday morning.
The announcement came Friday morning during a closed-door meeting of House Republicans, a day after Boehner saw his longtime goal of a pope visiting Congress become a reality.
It also comes as Boehner has faced increasing pressure from a action of conservatives, who had been pressing for his removal even as they agitated for action on policy goals such as defunding Planned Parenthood.
"He's principled, yet he understood that he had a responsibility to lead and govern," Dent said. "And he was criticized by many of his own members for that reason."
The next speaker will have to govern in a way that seeks to build coalitions with legislators from both sides of the aisle, Dent added. He said he'll be asking those running for the speakership about their philosophy and whether they're willing to work in a bipartisan manner to accomplish the items left on this year's agenda.
Asked whether the conservative portion of the caucus could field a speaker candidate, Dent said there has been a group seeking to take down the speaker for some time, adding: "Any jackass can kick down a barn door. It takes a carpenter to hang one. We need a few more carpenters around here, and everybody knows it."