Speaker John A. Boehner received a special delivery before the House gaveled into session Thursday morning.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema was spotted bringing champagne into the speaker’s office. Asked if the bottle was for Boehner or incoming Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., the Arizona Democrat told HOH it was for the Ohio Republican and quipped, “Don’t you think he needs it more?” Sinema added that Boehner earned it, a sentiment shared across Capitol Hill in his final hour.
As members of the House gathered inside the chamber around 9 a.m., a few staffers meandered around the hallway outside the floor. Some members of the Senate were spotted crossing the Rotunda, including Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who served with Boehner in the House.
Burr snagged a seat on the House floor next to Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, the chief deputy whip, to watch his buddy say goodbye.
Wild applause, whistles and cheers broke out in the chamber when Boehner grabbed a grey box of tissues before launching into his farewell speech. Before getting too sentimental about handing over the gavel, Boehner chided his flock.
“As much as I enjoy working with all of you, some of you have to dress better,” the decorum stickler said. “You know who you are.”
The first tissue pull came three minutes into the speech, when Boehner got a standing ovation for the line, “I’m grateful to the people who work in this institution every day.”
In addition to thanking his colleagues, Boehner gave a shoutout to the Capitol Police, Architect of the Capitol workers and other behind-the-scenes employees who keep the institution running.
“Speaker hitting all the right notes, thanking the people who make the House run,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., tweeted. Boehner was not the only member to shed tears during the 10-minute speech.
After massive applause, Boehner turned away from the podium and heaved a sigh. He was finished.
See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site.
Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.