Challenges Await Speaker Boehner After Election to Third Term

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Ohio Republican Gets Another Term as Speaker Despite Dissent From Some Conservatives.

Republicans clashed with President Barack Obama and among themselves when they assumed full control of Congress Tuesday, as the White House threatened to veto two top GOP legislative priorities and a messy leadership election highlighted opposition to House Speaker John Boehner .

Mr. Boehner survived conservative challenges, winning a third term as speaker. But the acrimony marred the opening of the 114th Congress, a day otherwise marked by a flurry of ceremonial proceedings.

In the voting, 216 House Republicans supported him, while 24 voted for other Republicans. The number of defections was more than double two years ago, when nine House Republicans voted for other candidates, and the most since 1923, when Progressives agreed to vote for the Republican candidate only on the ninth round of voting.

Critics of Mr. Boehner, 65 years old, said the growing resistance to his leadership reflected frustration both on and off Capitol Hill with the legislative process in the House. Conservatives have criticized GOP leaders for hashing out too many deals behind closed doors and not giving lawmakers enough time to read legislation before voting, particularly the spending bill that passed late last year.

Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R., N.C.) said the issue had generated the most phone calls his office has received since the October 2013 government shutdown, with many constituents urging him to vote against Mr. Boehner for the speaker’s position.

“I think the 25 of us who voted the way we did, we represented the frustration of the American people,” said Mr. Jones, who was one of 12 votes for Rep. Daniel Webster (R., Fla.). That was the most votes any one opposition candidate received.

With the departure last year of former Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.), there is no clear heir apparent or chief challenger to Mr. Boehner.

While the vote was a slight to Mr. Boehner, he enters the year fortified by an expanded House GOP majority.

“He led us through a period where we’ve increased our majority substantially,” Rep. John Fleming (R., La.) said of Mr. Boehner.

In November’s midterm election, House Republicans won 247 seats, their largest majority since the late 1920s. After the resignation of Rep. Michael Grimm (R., N.Y.), effective this week, Republicans control 246 seats, matching the Republican Party’s post-World War II record set in 1947.

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