Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced today he will resign as Speaker of the House and leave Congress at the end of October. 

At a news conference this afternoon, the famously-emotional Boehner was brought to tears, saying it was an honor to serve and that he's resigning "for the right reasons."

Boehner said he just felt that "today is the day," and recalled a private moment he shared yesterday with Pope Francis. 

"The pope grabbed my left arm and said some very kind words to me about my commitment to kids and education. He puts his arm around me and pulls me to him and says, 'please pray for me.' Well, who am I to pray for the pope? But I did," said Boehner, who jokingly sang "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" on his way to the podium. 

He also said he doesn't doubt that he could have retained his spot as Speaker, but added that it is not healthy for "the institution" to have the battle. 

Boehner has spent 24 years in the House of Representatives representing southwest Ohio. He has served as Speaker since Jan. 2011.

Boehner said he believes House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) would make an "excellent" Speaker.

Boehner, 65, has been facing pressure from more conservative Republicans to shut down the government in order to defund Planned Parenthood.