By a final vote tally of 220 to 192 for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, with a handful of votes for a handful of other competitors for the nation's third Constitutional position in line to the White House, Ohio Congressman John Boehner will again be Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for the next two years.
On a sunny but cold day in Washington, the 113th Congress performed its first order of business, electing a leader to lead the people's chamber. Speaker Boehner again showed the fragile emotions he's become known for in the brief remarks he delivered following his introduction by Leader Pelosi, who held the same position for four years from 2006-2010.
Excerpt from Speaker Boehner's remarks today:
“We meet again at democracy’s great port of call. Every two years, at this hour, the Constitution brings a new order to this House. It is an interlude for reflection, a glimpse of old truths.
“To our new members and their families, welcome. You are likely feeling awestruck right about now. History runs through here. And now you are among a select few to share in this privilege.
“For those who are returning, who have walked these aisles before, maybe it’s time we feel awestruck again.
“The way our founders envisioned it, the republic would be led by citizens who recognize that the blessing of governing ourselves requires that we give something of ourselves. Everything depended on this. So they made each other – and their successors – swear an oath of allegiance.
Mr. Boehner, as recently as yesterday, had come under fire from a variety of Members including some from his own party for not bringing a $60 billion emergency relief package to the House floor before it adjourned, following a vote that 85 Republicans, including Mr. Boehner and Paul Ryan, House Budget chairman and running mate to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, joined Democrats to vote for, that for the first time in 20 years raised income taxes.
Mr. Boehner had been accused of being a captive to his Tea Party wing of his Majority Conference, who mostly voted against the fiscal cliff avoidance bargain worked out between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, after one-on-one negotiations between the House Speaker and President Obama failed to win the necessary votes from both Senate and House Democrats and Republicans.
Dean of the House, Michigan Rep. John Dingel, swore-in Mr. Boehner at approximately 2:09 in the afternoon of January 3, 2013. The Speaker then swore-in all Members of the House.
Among the other contestants in today's election for Speaker was another Member from Ohio, Jim Jordan, the severely conservative leader of the Republican Study Committee, who got one vote.
Speaker Boehner, who rose to power following the GOP wave election of 2010, when Tea Party movement candidates were elected in droves to Congress and to state legislatures, was by many estimates a weak leader through the high drama of brinksmanship that became the hallmark of the poorest performing Congress in more than 60 years, a Congress that at one time had a rating by the American public of less than 10 percent.
Tuesday evening, though, 257 Members, 85 Republicans and 172 Democrats, came together to pass a bill the Senate passed overwhelming 20 hours previously that avoided the harshest provisions of a bill many said would result in the loss of millions of lost jobs and send the nation back into recession. There was speculation that since the speaker and his budget committee chairman voted for the bill, and that Eric Cantor of Virginia and Kevin McCarthy of California did not, enough Republicans might shift their allegiance to Cantor, who though he was second to Mr. Boehner is believed to covert the Speaker's position.
But that shift did not happen Thursday, when Cantor's name wasn't placed for election and when Mr. Cantor voted for Mr. Boehner.
Members can't hire family
Another routine part of first-day business is the adoption of the House Rules. While some technical changes will be made, one of the more noteworthy rule changes relating to conflict of interest is that Members will no longer be permitted to hire family members.
Join me on Google+, Pinterest or Twitter or watch my YouTube videos. Help out by subscribing. It's free. Send news or tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.