The freshmen members of the House were sworn in today. The class holds the most women and minorities ever. Along with that came the election of the Speaker of the House. John Boehner is the Speaker again. Boehner won the title handily. Sort of. There was only one vote, but it was as tight a vote as can be without a run off, something that has not happened since 1923 (NBC).
The mini-rebellion and relatively weak showing was likely the result of bruised feelings and ill will still being that some Republicans in the House felt after the last minute fiscal cliff deal. Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), who along with Reps. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.) and Walter Jones (N.C.) was stripped of a committee seat late last year (NBC), voted for Rep. Raul Labrador (Idaho). Huelskamp voted for former Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, while Jones opted for David Walker (Comptroller General under George W. Bush), someone so obscure that he was asked to repeat himself. Rep. Paul Broun voted for Allen West, yes, the one in Florida who did not concede his seat for what seemed like ages. Newly minted Congressman John Bridenstine (Okla.) voted for Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Cantor himself sucked it up and voted for his rival, Boehner.
Even so, there were additional votes for Cantor (Reps. Steve Pearce (N. M.) and newly minted Tea Party Republican Ted Yoho (Fla.). There was yet another vote for West (Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX). Was West really that popular? There was even a vote for Amash from Rep. Tom Massie (Ky.). Two voted present, because why not? For all the hand wringing, Boehner prevailed in the end (Slate).
While Boehner won handily enough in the end, it did take to the very end. Huelskamp believes that this "was a vote of no confidence," and that others wanted to vote no but felt intimidated into voting for the Speaker (The New York Times).
If this is how the first vote shook out, it does not seem to bode well for the 113th Congress. Is it even possible that it could be less effective than the 112th? It is daunting when you consider that the vote on Sandy relief has yet to be put to the floor.http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/us/politics/new-congress-begins-with-wishes-of-comity-but-battles-ahead.html?_r=0