Boehner re-elected speaker of U.S. House

The 113th U.S. Congress got underway Thursday with the re-election of Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) as House speaker, but not without some dissent from within his party’s caucus.

Boehner received 220 of the 426 votes cast by incoming members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who preceded Boehner as speaker, received 192 votes.

Not all House members were supportive of either Boehner or Pelosi, including two members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation. Republican Rep. Walter Jones (District 3), who is seen as something of a party maverick, cast his vote for former U.S. comptroller general David Walker. (House speakers are not required to be members of that body.)

Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina’s 7th District bucked the majority of his party to vote for fellow Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee.

In all, 14 votes were cast for candidates other than Boehner or Pelosi, including three for Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), two for former congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) and one for former secretary of state Colin Powell. One member voted present.

After the vote for House speaker, Cantor was named majority leader and Pelosi was named minority leader.

Boehner’s re-election as speaker comes in the wake of his failure to wrangle sufficient votes among the GOP caucus for his fiscal-cliff plan and withering criticisms from such Republicans as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after the 112th Congress concluded earlier this week without taking up federal aid for Northeastern states hit by Hurricane Sandy.

Speaker Boehner could soon face another steep challenge to his leadership when the federal debt ceiling limit and automatic across-the-board spending cuts come due in February or March.

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