Quantcast
  

Monday, April 21, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 6 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

House re-elects Boehner as House speaker

By Donna Cassata

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 12:29 p.m. HST, Jan 03, 2013


WASHINGTON » The House and Senate ushered in a new Congress today, re-electing embattled Republican John Boehner speaker and hailing one of their own 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 a chamber packed with members and their children, Pelosi delivered a generous introduction to her rival and handed the gavel to Boehner, who struggled to hold back tears.

Boehner alluded to the continuing fight over government spending that was far from settled by the tax deal with President Barack Obama. Fierce battles loom in the coming weeks over automatic spending cuts and increasing the nation's borrowing authority.

"The American Dream is in peril so long as its namesake is weighed down by this anchor of debt. Break its hold, and we begin to set our economy free. Jobs will come home. Confidence will come back," Boehner said.

Addressing the 80-plus new members, Boehner told them that if they came "to see your name in lights or to pass off political victory as accomplishment, you have come to the wrong place. The door is behind you."

"If you have come here humbled by the opportunity to serve; if you have come here to be the determined voice of the people; if you have come here to carry the standard of leadership demanded not just by our constituents but by the times, then you have come to the right place," he said.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., the longest serving member, administered the oath to Boehner, who then swore in the members.

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.

Applause from members and the gallery marked every oath-taking. Looking on was former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Shortly before the session, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who had been absent for the past year while recovering from a stroke, slowly walked up the 45 steps to the Senate, with Biden nearby and the Senate leaders at the top of the stairs to greet him.

"A courageous man," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Members of the Illinois congressional delegation and senators stood on the steps.

As he entered the building, resting on a cane, Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., helped Kirk take off his coat. The senator said he was glad to be back.

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.

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 Scott are the two vacancies.

On the eve of the vote, Boehner 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.

The new Congress still faces the ideological disputes that plagued the dysfunctional 112th Congress, one of the least productive in more than 60 years. Tea party members within the Republican ranks insist on fiscal discipline in the face of growing deficits and have pressed for deep cuts in spending as part of a reduced role for the federal government. Democrats envision a government with enough resources to help the less fortunate and press for the wealthiest to pay more in taxes.

"We can only hope for more help," said Manchin, who was re-elected in November. "Any time you have new members arriving you have that expectation of bringing fresh ideas and kind of a vitality that is needed. We hope that they're coming eager to work hard and make some difficult decisions and put the country first and not be bogged down ideologically."

The next two months will be crucial, with tough economic issues looming. Congress put off for just eight weeks automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs that were due to begin with the new year. The question of raising the nation's borrowing authority also must be decided. Another round of ugly negotiations between Obama and Congress is not far off.

There are 12 newly elected senators — eight Democrats, three Republicans and one independent, former Maine Gov. Angus King, who will caucus with the Democrats. They will be joined by Scott, the first black Republican in decades.

In a sign of some diversity for the venerable body, the Senate will have three Hispanics — Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and one of the new members, Republican Ted Cruz of Texas. There will be 20 women in the 100-member chamber, the highest number yet.

At least one longtime Democrat, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, will be departing in a few weeks, nominated by Obama to be secretary of state. That opens the door to former Republican Sen. Scott Brown, the only incumbent senator to lose in November's elections, to possibly make a bid to return to Washington.

Eighty-two freshmen join the House — 47 Democrats and 35 Republicans. Women will total 81 in the 435-member body — 62 Democrats and 19 Republicans.

In the Senate, Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell are negotiating possible changes in the rules as lawmakers face a bitter partisan fight over filibusters, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about private matters.

Reid has complained that Republicans filibuster too often and has threatened to impose strict limits with a simple majority vote. That step could set off retaliatory delays and other maneuvers by Republicans, who argue that they filibuster because Reid often blocks them from offering amendments.

The aide said Reid was preserving the option of making changes with a simple majority vote.







 Print   Email   Comment | View 6 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(6)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
Changalang wrote:
Woo Hoo ! Obama will ride him like the broken horse that he is. The only thing better than having a Democrat Majority controlled House, is having a GOP House controlled by the Democrats with an unpopular GOP D.C. insider sellout Speaker to take the blame. Happy New Year indeed !
on January 3,2013 | 09:30AM
false wrote:
See how bad things are up on the hill.
on January 3,2013 | 10:19AM
kainalu wrote:
Boehner is a conservative-Republican, not an extremist. The Tea Party faction of the GOP however, are extremists, the hired guns of the Koch brothers. Boehner's problem is that he supported the traditional-Republicans, in some cases even moderate-Repubicans during the primaries which TP candidates won. Those TP candidates now hold that against him. In a way, the Koch brothers' plan backfired, a plan to bring down President Obama has splintered the GOP instead. In the end however, it's the working-class that will continue to suffer from the TP orchestrated gridlock in DC.
on January 3,2013 | 10:57AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Boehner's re-election as Speaker demonstrates just how weakened the GOP is. A badly damaged "leader" was the best they could do. All Boehner has demonstrated is an ability to hold his breath, kick his feet and pound his fists on the floor, and literally cry. And, like whenever selfish children do that, everyone has to wait around stressing out until they're done. His latest "tough guy" announcement is that he won't negotiate face to face with the President (then he cried). Wonderful. The "leader" of the US House of Representatives has announced an intent and commitment NOT to participate in direct conciliation and problem solving (What an American Hero!). All just to get the narrow 23 votes he needed to win the Speaker election. No matter the average GOPer's idological/pseudo-economics-knowledgeable view, everyone must admit the House missed the opportunity to make progress today and for the rest of this Congress. Boehner begets disrespect and severely lessens the confidence of Americans, if not the world, in the ability of the US to move forward in unified fashion. MAYBE he is smart enough to overcome all of his problems that have come to light as of late. I doubt it. But, the bigger problem is that so do many, many others including every one of you (whether or not you want to admit it).
on January 3,2013 | 11:38AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Okay okay I admit it....you twisted my arm.. If Bonehead is the best the republican party can do they might as well go with Sarah, Where is Russia, Palin.
on January 3,2013 | 11:59AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Well it looks like the republican party decided to stick with it's broken rudder.
on January 3,2013 | 11:55AM
IN OTHER NEWS
Breaking News