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. Boehner is a complete bonehead. A total disgrace to Congess

    Boehner is a complete bonehead. A total disgrace to Congess

    January 2, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. David

    They have to back him Kantor would be death to their party.

    January 2, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  3. ljhays

    "I think it will make them wonder what we are here for?" Good lord, man–the country's been wondering that for years. Did you just get off the boat?

    January 2, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  4. GloSeattle

    Any of the GOP voting to keep Boehner and company in the line at the top – will be off my ballot when election day comes. I'm so sick and tired of my party's "grand-standing".... this has to stop, they need to get to work like all of us do!

    January 2, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  5. bobby frank

    Boner is the worst speaker i have seen in my lifetime. We need a new speaker that can actually get things done in washington for a change. Actually we need a very strong third party that can attract everyone and leave the Democrats and Republicans in the dust. Money is influencing both parties and it is time for a strong leader in a 3rd Party that will work for the American people and not special interest. I really believe this is attractive to more and more Americans. It has been done before and we can do it again with the will of the middle class and young people onboard.

    January 2, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. Den

    Only after Christie's comments did Boehner ever decide to address the issue on Friday. The Republicans currently in the house, and specially Boehner, are by far the most ignorant and self serving elected officials ever. They really should just resign and start high school again, as there intelligence and decision making ability are below that of a typical 14 year old. And no offense meant to 14 year olds.

    January 2, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  7. SouthDakotaGuy

    Regarding, "Bob Tanstaafl' comment " 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"

    You mean like NY, NJ, and CT have been paying more federal tax dollars than they recieve. It seems the Red States where the Conservative Fiscal Conservatives are the gimme folks. So you better do some research Bob before you go Boo don't take my dollar. Because the fiscal conservative Red States have been taking more than they give for some time.

    January 2, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  8. DC Observer

    Of course when Harry Reid and his senate Dems loaded up the Sandy aid bill with $400 million of unrelated pork, Christie played dumb... Good for John B

    And I wouldn't take Christie's call either

    January 2, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  9. DC Observer

    What's the big deal with a few days delay? I mean, Obama is running the country into bankruptcy and he has not done anything about that for 4 years....

    January 2, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. chupacabra

    ..and the drama go's on..................congress makes me soooooooooooooo sick.

    January 2, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  11. Fact Checker

    What a sorry excuse for a statesman.

    January 2, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  12. Bryan

    Toy soldiers marching in step.....no brains, no imagination....no hope....Republicans have become useless

    January 2, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  13. Liz the First

    Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! the sheep can't fire their shepherd.

    January 2, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  14. PeeBee

    It will be a shame of GOP, if they eventually re-ellect Boehner. Find an adult centrist for this post.

    January 2, 2013 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  15. Clarke

    If only people knew how the Government worked.

    January 2, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  16. An Observer

    The Boner is just another scheming, lying, racist, republican politician. All republican legislators should be tried for treason and then suffer the penalty!

    January 2, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  17. Diogonese

    This legislation had so much "pork" in that even spend-thrift Republicans wouldn't vote for it. So the questions remain: Why didn't Christie call out the porkers? Why didn't CNN cover this part of the story? If CNN really wants to over this story, why don't you indentify the porkers and ask why they sabotaged aid for the torment victims? OK, CNN, we're waiting.

    January 2, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  18. DENNA

    LOL Lovely to see the GOP eating, then spitting out its own. I have never in my life seen this much disarray in the Republican party. I witnessed it several times during various Democratic conventions, etc., but this, this is beyond anything I could have imagined. It is funny to see this formerly proud party (4 years ago) running into each other and shooting each other in the foot. It is like watching a really, really bad comedy with amateur actors. Keep it up though. I am enjoying the hot mess the GOP has become. 🙂

    January 2, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  19. J.V.Hodgson

    What is going on here? 3 votes to pass the senate bill. Just like your commentators and pundits said nothing is done on the hill until its done what was it $9bn $19bn and then $33bn.
    Gosh what bunch of simpletons cannot see this bill will be made part of the debt and deficit debate. The final $52bn will only go with a tag for cuts elsewhere.

    January 2, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  20. Disgusted_Republican

    It won't be taken up in the 112th Congress. The entire thing will have to be redone with a different group of players. It will likely pass a second time, but it will not be the same bill.

    The Republican leadership is so caught up in the look of things rather than the substance of things. When this bill is passed in the 11t3th Congress it will add billions to the deficit just as it would have in the previous congress. Do Republicans think the voters will not see them for the frauds they really are?

    January 3, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  21. mbrobinson

    It will be interesting to see just how well the Republicans do in the 2014 elections in NY, NJ and CT. I would bet their contributions pretty much dry up for at least a couple of years.

    Hard to believe Congress is so deaf to the needs of damaged communities, and the desires of the American people. Time to change the rules so that one person, trying to keep a job he clearly cannot fulfill, no longer has the ability to stop a vote.

    January 3, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  22. bonjourno

    @jkane come again wishful thinking 4 years goes by fast and KARMA SAYS : CROOKED VOTING IS OVER

    January 3, 2013 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  23. More Republican blabber

    Did we expect something different from Boehner and the Republican Teabaggers? They have spent 4 years running
    against the Government. So obviously they would pressure Boehner to withhold aid money, especially to the Blue states like New York and New Jersey. Wake up folks – this is what you will get if these bozos get control of our government. These past 2 months has shown the true colors of the Republicans...its pathetic.

    January 3, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  24. Jim g

    I do believe the Republicans took a pledge and/or oath to back the American people. Silly me I guess a lousy leaders needs support more than our country. Boehner is the worst leader since before I was old enough to vote. That covers 45 years. He has lost the respect of the American people and many in his party. If they wish to get re elected, they will not back him for long. He is more a follower, he has put forth nothing since assuming the leadership role. The only way things get done is if the Senate Minority leader works on it. The Tea Party is destroying the Republican Party with their absolute lack of leadership ability.

    January 3, 2013 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  25. BOB

    how about we cut aid to to some of the countries and start taking care of the US. we have and still do give away tax payers money to everboby. time to let these countries take care of themselfs. old saying can't away what you don't have. we are broke and the goverment still keeps spending

    January 3, 2013 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
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