January 2nd, 2013
04:29 PM ET
10 years 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.

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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. AK_steve

    They have all lost perspective. Fire them all and replace them with caring people who have a soul. AND let's finally instate term limits. These idiots are in the top 2% and will receive $100's per year in pension.

    For what. Whining, crying and ruining our country.

    January 2, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. Bob Tanstaafl

    Boooo. No free lunch with my tax dollars.

    It's like state leaders are saying, "we cannot tax our own people to help here, we want all U.S. citizens to pay."

    January 2, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Organic1

    Boehner doing the crawfish is about right, he says something to rile the other Repubs and they tell him where to get off, then he says the proper words and they back off. Well you can bet the next time he says those things to rile his party, it will be after he is approved to be speaker again, and he won't back off. This drunk should have been finished before the start of the new year.

    January 2, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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?"
    Oh I don't know. We are soooo far past this point that I don't think you should waste time worrying your purty 'lil head about it Grimm.
    Please turn your books to Chapter 48, Mr. Grimm, do try and keep up with the class.

    January 2, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. ialsoagree

    Ancient Texan

    NY, NJ, and CT are among the states contributing the most money to the federal budget (after counting aid received). NJ, in fact, contributes more money to the federal budget than any other state.

    All 3 of these states are net contributors to the federal budget.

    States like Louisiana, which got an aid package within 10 days of Katrina for more than 60 billion dollars, are net takers from the Federal budget. Not including that 60 billion dollars, Louisiana gets more money back from the Federal budget than they put in.

    If you want to sit here and tell me that my fellow states men deserve to be living on the streets, or in school gyms, with their children, begging for food and clothes, while you TAKE the money that MY STATE provides to yours, you sir are going to be in a big surprise when NY, NJ, and CT rework our budgets to be net takers, and suddenly YOUR states have to raise taxes to make up the difference.

    Don't bite the hand that feeds you. And I sir, feed you.

    January 2, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. Larry in Houston

    can't wait til we get Nancy Back in 2014 – she's done more for this country & the middle class than any other spkr in history, not to mention passed the bills that needs to be addressed .

    January 2, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Pity Speaker Boehner's failed leadership because the (Tea Party) inmates are running the assylum.

    January 2, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. Sheila

    Looks like he's getting ready to cry in that pic.

    January 2, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. ialsoagree

    Bob Tanstaafl

    Please get your facts straight. NY, NJ, and CT are all major contributors to the US federal budget. In fact, NJ contributes more money to the federal budget than any other state!

    It's ridiculous when people come on here and say that these states should pay for their own disaster relief, when Katrina victims got over 60 billion dollars IN JUST 10 DAYS OF THE DISASTER! These people have been waiting over NINE WEEKS and still have not got any aid outside of FEMA (whose budget, in October, was just over 2 billion).

    There was 80 billion dollars worth of damage.

    If NY, NJ, and CT have to rework their budgets, it's not going to be higher taxes for those of us living there, it's going to be less of our money going to the federal government, which means less aid for your states which are net takers form the budget, which means YOUR taxes will go up.

    January 2, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. Lifelong Republican

    I am a 56 year old lifelong Republican. I can't begin to tell you how messed up the Party has gotten. This is another Bonehead move by the Speaker of the Boneheads, John Boner.

    January 2, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. Lonnie

    I I could hear Boehner kissing butt all the way to Colorado.

    January 2, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. Branson

    If he and Reid disappeared tomorrow the house and senate would be better places.

    January 2, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  13. Jules

    This is why nothing gets done – people get outraged over something and then they get their way and all of a sudden "that's in the past." Until something else happens again and then we go through the outrage again. The GOP is being jerked around by a bunch of ignorant loonies. Even one of their own said that he didn't even think that the tea party reps relalized the dire economic condition this country is in and how their threats and tantrums can turn the world's economy, not just our economy south.

    January 2, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. Jules

    Disaster relief is part of the government's responsibility. Everybody howling about having to help out their fellow Americans deserves to have their homes destroyed by a disaster and then see what side of your mouth you're talking out of. There are so many hateful people in this country anymore you can't even recognize it.

    January 2, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  15. bombastus

    I do hope Boner gets re-elected. The other choice is Cantor who is a tea bagging winger. Boner at least seems to have some sense although he has his you-know-whats locked in the tea bagger vice. He did get the vote on the floor last night while Cantor would have jumped off the cliff singing yankee doodle dandy with a big smile and no parachute.

    January 2, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. don in albuquerque

    Cantor would help really make it silly season there. Go for him and assure the GOTPs end.

    January 2, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. Sam

    AMEN kr55 can't imagine how bad it would be, if Cantor was in charge...

    January 2, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. MaryM

    Gov. Christi is mad at you repubs in congress. Better get your sheet together. You are dysfunctional party now. Get rid of the tea people.

    January 2, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. RomneyWho

    Boehner is by far the worst house speaker in america's history . . . The entire republican party is history period.

    January 2, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. Facts don't Lie

    @ ialsoagree

    Hey I live in Texas and although I don't nor will ever refer to myself being a Texan, sometimes they let guys like Ancient Texan out of the home so they can sputter nonsense then let them go back in. I admit there are some not so bright people down here our governor being a fine example of one, but we all aren't that way here trust me.

    January 2, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  21. Name lynn

    them republicans an them white house leaders needs a bib an a baby bottle an let boehner feed them because thats what they are acting like a bunch of babies

    January 2, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  22. Rev

    Wouldn't it be funny if at the vote, King and company actually vote against Boerner and that this is just a ploy to keep him unawares of the betrayal until it's too late to do anything about it.... one backstab deserving another.... that would be just awesome, and quite poetic.

    January 2, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  23. tcinaz

    So Sandy was a perfect(ly aweful) political storm to the Tea Party. She handed Obama and Boehner victories. Maybe now they'll want to work on climate change legislation.

    January 2, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. Dan

    I am ashamed of our political leaders right now, extremly unhappy with the republican party right now. They had a chance to show America they cared on the cliff vote and they missed it. Then to walk away and not vote on disaster aid. Shame on you! I am not letting the democrats off the hook either Mr President why didn't you make sure the disaster aid was in the works to me not one person in washington did there job. The problem is humanity has gone out of our government. We have police officers jump into help while off duty, firefighters jump in to help while off duty. A doctor that comes up on an accident jumps in to help, why shouldn't any elected officials spend a few extra hours to get important bills passed. Because your to busy playing my --–is bigger then yours. The American people have grown tired of it. Swallow your pride get to work and do your job or we will make sure we replace you with someone who will.

    January 2, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  25. MTATL67

    It's like betting on a mule at the Kentucky Derby

    January 2, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
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