January 2nd, 2013
04:29 PM ET
1 year ago

Republicans pledge to back Boehner, reversing earlier outrage

Washington (CNN) - Certain Republican lawmakers said Wednesday they'll now vote for John Boehner's re-election as House Speaker, despite earlier offering uncertainty over whether they'd cast their vote for the top Republican.

Rep. Michael Grimm, the freshman Republican who represents Staten Island, said he would "absolutely" vote for Boehner, hours after saying he would likely abstain when the House votes for the position on Thursday.

The change in tune came Wednesday afternoon when Republican Rep. Peter King of New York announced that Boehner said the House would vote Friday on part of the federal aid package for victims of Superstorm Sandy, which wreaked havoc across much of the Northeast more than 60 days ago.

House members will vote on $9 billion in aid on Friday and then on the remaining $51 billion on January 15. Both votes take place in the next Congress, which begins Thursday.

King and other lawmakers were furious with Boehner after the speaker decided not to allow a vote late Tuesday night on the legislation.

Asked earlier in the day if he would cast his vote for the speaker's re-election on Thursday, King dodged the answer. In his announcement later, however, the New York congressman confirmed he would back Boehner.

"Obviously we disagreed with (Boehner's decision), but that's in the past," King told reporters, showing a stunning turnaround in tone regarding his party's leader.

King was surrounded by fellow Republicans from New York and New Jersey who all pledged to vote for Boehner Thursday. Grimm was among those who promised to support the current speaker.

"I want to be clear about something: I will vote for Speaker Boehner," he said, adding that he never "questioned where (Boehner's) heart was."

"There's no question the speaker always wanted to help the people of New York and New Jersey," he continued. "I don't agree with his call to delay the vote. I don't. I don't support it at all. I think it was the wrong call but it was his call to make... It was because of the timing issue and he didn't think it was right for his conference to take that vote at that time."

Even after the bruising battle over the fiscal cliff, most Republicans, including those who opposed the final deal, expected Boehner to retain his position as speaker when the next Congress convenes Thursday.

Seeking to quell the outrage, a senior aide to Republican House leadership told reporters earlier Wednesday that Boehner would make the aid bill his "first priority in the new Congress."

But that didn't stop lawmakers from expressing their fury.

Calling it a "betrayal" and an "error in judgment," Grimm said earlier on the House floor that the refusal to vote on the bill this session would spur distrust among the American public.

"To delay this vote even for another day is something that will resonate not only with the people that have been affected and are suffering and have lost everything, but I think it will resonate with the American people for a long time," Grimm said. "I think it will make them wonder what we are here for?"

A source close to Grimm noted he is close to Boehner, but with Grimm's laser focus on urging Congress to approve the assistance package, he couldn't go back to his district and justify supporting Boehner Thursday.

Later Grimm told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that if the speaker's decision Tuesday night was based on opposition against the bill in general, then he couldn't support Boehner.

"But that wasn't really the case. I just needed to hear that from the speaker," he said, adding that Boehner told him he just didn't feel like Tuesday night–amid intraparty party frustration over the fiscal cliff deal–was the right time to vote on a bill that involved more spending.

King also publicly lambasted Boehner Wednesday morning for failing to bring up the measure before the current Congress ends.

"There's some dysfunction in the Republican leadership," he said Wednesday in an interview on CNN. "For some reason, the speaker is taking it out on New York, Long Island, and New Jersey."

On CNN's "The Situation Room," King later said that he doesn't regret his blistering comments but added now "that's behind us."

"The speaker made an absolute commitment today," he said. "We got the result that we wanted, and I give the speaker and the majority leader credit for that. Now it's time to move forward."

The Garden State's governor, Republican Chris Christie, offered searing criticism in a press conference Wednesday afternoon, saying he tried to reach the speaker four times Tuesday night but his calls were not returned.

"Absolutely disgraceful," he said, adding that "there's no reason" to believe anything he's told by House leadership.

"Unlike people in Congress, we have actual responsibilities," Christie said.


Filed under: House • John Boehner • Peter King
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Leif

    @Bob Tanstaafl: This is the UNITED States of America, not the "Loose Collection of Random Population Centers".

    January 3, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  2. Max molly

    CNN is so one sided. Never do I ever read anything that gives the opposition to Obama any credit. that's because the media worships the ground He walks on. I happen to believe the Presidency is suppose to work for the people, not for Himself or the Party. The people seem to be enamored by him, but so were the people of Germany with Hitler, for awhile anyway.

    January 3, 2013 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  3. Max molly

    Boehner has my support. He's a good man to stand up to turn coats and bully's.

    January 3, 2013 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  4. Ana from NY

    ' "There's some dysfunction in the Republican leadership," he said Wednesday in an interview on CNN. '

    Yes, there is, and it doesn't go away overnight with one backtracking. Stick to your original instincts and boot the guy out. Show some courage and some backbone. Prove to the people you represent that you are there to represent them and not to cozy up to a snake. Don't be so naive.

    January 3, 2013 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  5. mike

    2014. ditch Mitch and give the dog a Boehn.

    January 3, 2013 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  6. Foundstar

    This is like an old three stooges movie. Boner, and his gang can't seem to do/say anything without total chaos and destruction. If this were the privare sector they all would have been 'pink slipped' 3 years ago. This party has the audacity to call themselves representatives? yeah..for themselves and theirs. Really is a horrific thought that these people are in power. May we lose all of them in 2 years or sooner.

    January 3, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  7. Craig

    They need to stop with the pledges. they never follow them.

    January 3, 2013 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  8. babooph

    With all the mess,he was a big part of doing some to fix it,he may be the best choice to fix more of it.....

    January 3, 2013 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  9. JD

    Leopards don't change their spots, they just hide in bushes for a while! Funny how when you realize you stepped in it so bad that Governors of your own party tell you how stupid and worthless you are and then you want to do your job. People have had it with that crap and see right through it. Days for the gop in the house control are numbered!

    January 3, 2013 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  10. ronvan

    What a mess! Repuks have lost all credibility. YET, while we scream and talk about "throwing them all out" WE will do the same thing as our "elected children", in that we will vote them back in! UNTIL we, all of us, realize that our political system has been "BOUGHT" and controlled by the rich, everything will remain the same! If we could pass a law that lobbyists, special interest groups, were banned from talking, offering "gifts" etc., to OUR "kids", maybe, just maybe, they could make decisions that would help US?

    January 3, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
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