(WASHINGTON) — After enduring a bumpy ride during the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and watching 151 members of his conference vote against the deal he supported, rumors swirled across Capitol Hill Wednesday that House Speaker John Boehner could resign as speaker.
Boehner’s speakership seemed to be threatened even further when Republicans representing states hit hardest by superstorm Sandy mounted a revolt after the Ohio congressman denied a vote on legislation to direct relief to the region. Reporters covering the Capitol collectively wondered whether an effort to unseat Boehner was in the works behind the scenes.
Hoping to end the buzz of a coup, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel fired off a crisp email Wednesday, “Rep. Boehner expects to be elected Speaker tomorrow.”
Boehner set up a meeting Wednesday with the angered Sandy Republicans, many who expressed uncertainty about whether they would support Boehner for another term as speaker. But after the meeting, it was clear that Boehner had regained their faith.
Rep. Pete King, a New York Republican incensed that the speaker had delayed action on Sandy aid, emerged from the speaker’s office and told reporters he would still support the speaker.
Rep. Michael Grimm, another angered New York Republican, echoed the sentiment. “I will vote for Speaker Boehner,” he said.
That vote is expected to commence around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday in the chamber after House Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers nominates Boehner for another term as speaker.
The vote for speaker should take about an hour as House Reading Clerk Susan Cole records voice responses by members-elect. At about 1:45 p.m., Clerk of the House Karen Haas will announce the results and appoint a committee to escort the speaker-elect into the chamber.
The speaker is elected by a simple majority of all members-elect casting a ballot. Assuming all 433 members of the House vote, (there are two open seats), Boehner would need 217 votes to lock up another term as speaker. With 233 Republicans in the House this term, 17 Republicans would have to vote for someone else in order to send the question to a second ballot.
If all goes as expected, Boehner, 63, will be escorted into the chamber by House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving just before 2 p.m. He will then be introduced by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who will make brief introductory remarks and present the speaker-elect with the speaker’s gavel. He first assumed the role two years ago.
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