Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has retained his top leadership position in the U.S. House of Representatives after a vote by the new Congress.
Boehner was not challenged for the position, but there was skepticism he may lose the spot after the heated fiscal cliff battle that culminated in a New Year’s Day deal.
Of 426 votes cast on Tuesday, Boehner received 220. Others who received votes for the speakership include Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and former Comptroller General David Walker.
The AP reports:
WASHINGTON — The House and Senate ushered in a new Congress Thursday, re-electing embattled Republican John Boehner speaker and hailing one of its own senators who returned a year after being felled by a stroke.
The 113th Congress convened at 12 noon EST, the constitutionally mandated time, with pomp, pageantry and politics, on both sides of the Capitol.
Boehner, bruised after weeks with his fractious caucus and negotiations with the White House on the fiscal cliff, won a second, two-year term as leader with 220 votes. Despite grumbling in the GOP ranks, just 10 Republicans voted for someone other than Boehner.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi got 192 votes.
In the Senate, Vice President Joe Biden swore in 12 new members elected in November, lawmakers who won another term and South Carolina Republican Tim Scott. The former House member was tapped by Gov. Nikki Haley to fill the remaining term of Sen. Jim DeMint, who resigned to head a Washington think tank.
While the dozens of eager freshmen are determined to change Washington, they face the harsh reality of another stretch of divided government. The traditions come against the backdrop of a mean season that closed out an angry election year.
A deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” of big tax increases and spending cuts split the parties in New Year’s Day votes, and the House’s failure to vote on a Superstorm Sandy aid package before adjournment prompted GOP recriminations against the leadership.
“There’s a lot of hangover obviously from the last few weeks of this session into the new one, which always makes a fresh start a lot harder,” Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said.
For all the change of the next Congress, the new bosses are the same as the old bosses.
President Barack Obama secured a second term in the November elections, and Democrats tightened their grip on the Senate for a 55-45 edge in the new two-year Congress, ensuring that Reid will remain in charge. Republicans maintained their majority in the House but will have a smaller advantage, 233-200. Former Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Illinois seat and the one held by South Carolina Republican Tim Scott, the state’s next senator, will be the two vacancies.
Boehner, R-Ohio, has faced a bruising few weeks with his fractious GOP caucus but seemed poised to win another term as speaker. He mollified angry Republicans from New York and New Jersey on Wednesday with the promise of a vote Friday on $9 billion of the storm relief package and another vote on the remaining $51 billion on Jan. 15.
The GOP members quickly abandoned their chatter about voting against the speaker.
Hopefully these clowns can get their sh*t together soon.