House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wasn't as close to retirement as he thought.
Boehner's plan was to retire at the end of October. But in the wake of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's surprise decision not to run for speaker, Boehner announced Thursday that he would stay as long as it takes to find a replacement.
"As I have said previously, I will serve as speaker until the House votes to elect a new speaker," he said. "We will announce the date for this election at a later date, and I'm confident we will elect a new Speaker in the coming weeks."
"Our conference will work together to ensure we have the strongest team possible as we continue to focus on the American people's priorities," he added.
Moments after McCarthy shocked the GOP caucus, members were already talking about the need for Boehner to stay on. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., predicted that Boehner would not leave if more time is needed to find a successor.
"He'll stay on until we elect a new speaker," he said. "I think he's obligated to stay on until he's succeeded."
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., also said minutes after the meeting broke that Boehner may have to adjust his plans.
"I would not be surprised if Speaker Boehner will have to remain until there's a speaker-elect," he told the Washington Examiner.
After McCarthy's shocking announcement, there was already some talk of appointing a "caretaker" speaker to finish up the rest of the Congress. Republicans are floating the names of long-time members including John Kline, R-Minn., who plans to retire in 2016, and Joe Barton, R-Texas.
But Rogers rejected the idea of appointing a temporary House speaker, and said with Boehner, the House already has an interim speaker.
As of Thursday afternoon, it was unclear exactly how long that might take. Republicans left their surprising meeting with no firm idea of how to proceed next.