12 Angry Men: Boehner Re-Elected Speaker as dozen in GOP protest

by
January 4, 2013

John Boehner
John Boehner was re-elected as U.S. House speaker with the support of 220 of his 233 newly elected caucus members, while about a dozen Republicans lodged symbolic protests against the Ohio Republican.

“Public service was never meant to be an easy living; extraordinary challenges demand extraordinary leadership,” said an emotional Boehner while addressing the House chamber. “So if you have come here to see your name in the lights or to pass off a political victory as accomplishment, you have come to the wrong place. The door is right behind you.”

Boehner, 63, will lead the 113th Congress as the 53rd speaker of the House, according to the U.S. House historian website. While receiving support from a solid majority of his caucus, he is facing a backlash from some lawmakers aligned with the anti-tax Tea Party movement.

In a show of their dissatisfaction, nine Republicans shouted out the names of other members — or party leaders no longer in office — to replace the speaker. Among those receiving protest votes was former Representative Allen West, of Florida, a Tea Party favorite who was defeated in last year’s election. One Republican voted present and two, both of whom were in the chamber, didn’t cast ballots.

Disillusionment with Boehner largely stems from his agreement to advance on Jan. 1 a compromise measure that raised taxes on top earners without forcing significant budget cuts. The legislation averted more than $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and broad-based tax increases, or the so-called fiscal cliff, which were set to begin in January.

‘No Confidence’

Representative Tim Huelskamp, a Kansas Republican, said Boehner received a “no-confidence” vote when the compromise passed with only 85 of the chamber’s 241 Republicans.

Huelskamp, who Boehner removed from the House Budget Committee for insubordination, said a telephone poll of his constituents showed that 88 percent of them didn’t want him to support the speaker’s re-election. He voted today for Representative Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who is outspoken on cutting federal spending.

“We need a conservative speaker,” Huelskamp said in an interview. “We need a red-state speaker. There are plenty of people qualified to do the job, including people outside of this body. The speaker does not have to be a member of Congress.”

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