Tuesday, January 6, 2015 10:23 pm
Republican John Boehner was re-elected and sworn in Tuesday as speaker of the US House of Representatives, overcoming a surprisingly robust attempt to oust him by two dozen hardcore conservatives.
Boehner received 216 of the 408 votes cast in the chamber, winning as expected over Democratic leader and former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who received 164 votes.
But 25 Republicans, including arch-conservatives Tim Huelskamp, anti-immigration crusader Steve King and Thomas Massie, voted against the incumbent by casting ballots for someone else as speaker.
The House has 435 members, but several of them were absent Tuesday to attend the funeral of New York’s former governor Mario Cuomo.
Despite the rebellion’s failure, the effort signals the potential pitfalls facing Boehner in the runup to the 2016 presidential election as he seeks to convince Americans of Republican unity and commitment to responsible governing.
Boehner, after surviving re-election for a third term leading the House, told the chamber that lawmakers had the opportunity to break through rigid Washington gridlock.
“We’ll begin this endeavour on common ground,” he said.
“No, this won’t be done in a tidy way. The battle of ideas never ends, and never should,” the 65-year-old from Ohio added.
“It’s a grind — as it should be in striving to preserve the things we hold dear.”
Boehner started off the 2015 session by scheduling a Friday vote on a Republican measure approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to refineries on the US Gulf Coast.
The vote sets up an early clash with President Barack Obama, with the White House saying he would likely veto the pipeline bill if it reaches his desk.
With Republicans in firm control of both chambers, the bill is expected to pass Congress.