UPDATE - John Boehner has been re-elected as Speaker of the House, though the number of Republican members voting against him more than doubled over 2013. The 25 "no" votes represent the most revolt tallies cast against any Speaker in more than a century. The uprising fell several votes shy of forcing a second ballot. A small handful of Democrats voted for someone other than Nancy Pelosi .
Boehner's re-election is a fait accompli -- probably. You may recall that a similar anti-Boehner insurgency fizzled out two years ago, as the Speaker won the backing of 95 percent of his caucus. That number was low by recent historical standards, but the outcome wasn't ever seriously in doubt. This time 'round, not only is the Republican majority quite a bit larger (affording Boehner more room for error), the Stop Boehner coalition may be contracting. According to the Washington Post's running whip count, three members who furnished "no" votes in 2013 have said they'll vote for Boehner today. Also, as others have noted, three of the names most frequently mentioned as credible alternatives -- Jeb Hensarling, Trey Gowdy and Paul Ryan -- have all demurred. So where does that leave things? An overwhelming percentage of the expanded House Republican majority will back Boehner. Opponents need to cobble together 29 dissenting votes to force a second ballot. One report late yesterday indicated that the group was just four votes shy of that goal. Other reports suggest that they're only about halfway there, including leaners. I guess we'll know soon enough, as the jockeying and arm-twisting continues throughout the morning. The House is scheduled to gavel into session at noon, with nominations for Speaker commencing at 12:40 pm ET. Barring any surprises or snags, the process should wrap up by 2 pm or so. As we await the results, a few things to watch for:
(1) How many House Democrats will vote against Nancy Pelosi? She endured eight defections in 2013, and 20 in 2011, but her caucus is more liberal than ever. Many of her red and purple-district members have been wiped out.
(2) Can the anti-Boehner contingent surpass their 2013 totals, either in raw votes, or in terms of caucus percentage (12 and five percent, respectively)?
(3) If and when he's re-elected, will Speaker Boehner get choked up? He's done so the last few times. And if he hits the tearful trifecta, can we really be sure those are tears of joy, given the challenges ahead? According to Boehner's office, the House will move swiftly to three initial agenda items:
Hire More Heroes Act: The president’s health care law “is prompting many” small businesses “to hold off on hiring and even to shed jobs in some cases,” CNBC reports. The Hire More Heroes Act will help by exempting veterans who are “already enrolled in healthcare plans through the Department of Defense or the VA from being counted toward the employee limit under the health care law,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), explained in this week’s Republican Address. “So not only are we providing small businesses – and our economy – with much-needed relief, but we’re also helping more of our veterans find work.”
Save American Workers Act: Thousands of workers have seen their hours and wages slashed thanks to ObamaCare’s employer mandate that forces businesses to hold hours down to 30 per week or face a penalty. Women and low-income workers are particularly hard hit by the mandate, according to an analysis by the Hoover Institution, which found that the 30-hour rule puts 2.6 million Americans earning less than $30,000 a year - 63% of whom are women – at risk of having their hours and their wages cut. The Save American Workers Act restores the traditional 40-hour work week to protect these workers and help our economy grow.
Approving the Keystone Pipeline: President Obama has stood in the way of the widely-popular Keystone pipeline for more than six years, putting his own political interests ahead of thousands of jobs and increased energy security for the American people. The House will once again act where the president has not and approve the Keystone pipeline, keeping the pressure on the White House to finally move forward with what one labor union calls a “lifeline” for American workers. - See more at: http://www.speaker.gov/general/house-kicks-new-con...
Message: "Jobs, jobs, jobs." Once Mitch McConnell formally takes the reins as Senate Majority Leader (he was elected with no opposition), the upper chamber will get to work, too:
John Hoeven to file Keystone bill Tuesday http://t.co/27Hsrdj49u— Raffi Williams (@Raffiwilliams) January 5, 2015