Turning back rumors that he would face a challenge from some conservative disgruntled about his leadership, House Republicans re-elected Speaker John Boehner to preside over the House of Representatives.
While some conservative groups have been looking to support a challenge to the pro-life House GOP leader, other conservatives say it would be detrimental at a time when Republicans need to rally together to present a united opposition to President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats during the next two years.
Despite weeks of rumors and a concerted effort to defeat him by some outside groups, Boehner will remain the Speaker during the newly sworn-in 113th Congress.
Although Boehner won, eight Republicans voted for other GOP members and some GOP lawmakers did not vote at all. The Hill provides a list of those members voting for someone other than Boehner.
Justin Amash (R-Mich.) voted for Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho). Freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstein (R-Okla.) and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) both voted for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), but Cantor himself voted for Boehner.
Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) voted for outgoing member Allen West (R-Fla.). Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) voted for former Comptroller General David Walker. Speakers of the House do not have to be members of the House, although they all have been.
Rep. Tom Massie (R-Ky.) voted for Justin Amash (R-Mich.), and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) voted for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
During his time as Speaker, Boehner has kept a 100% pro-life voting record and earned the support of pro-life groups for both allowing and supporting votes on key pro-life legislation in the House and for pressing Obama to cut taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. Obama twice refused Boehner’s suggestion that the abortion business be de-funded.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, in 90 votes Boehner has cast on pro-life issues — ranging from abortion and abortion funding, to de-funding Planned Parenthood, to keep abortion out of Obamacare, and on bioethics issues — Boehner has never cast a single pro-abortion vote.
NRLC was so impressed with Boehner’s record that, in June 2010, it gave him an award for his part in leading the opposition in Congress to the pro-abortion health care bill President Barack Obama signed into law. Boehner made opposition to the massive abortion funding it contained a centerpiece of his opposition to it.
“In all the important leadership offices he has held, John Boehner has been a faithful defender of unborn children, disabled persons and seniors whose right to life may be jeopardized. He has consistently voted to pass pro-life leg and block anti-life legislation in his two decades in the House,” NRLC co-director Darla St. Martin said in introducing Boehner.
She told the crowd of hundreds of cheering pro-life advocates, “Boehner has been an active supporter of a number of successful pro-life efforts over the years.
“He has been a major impediment to the advance of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid pro-abortion agenda,” she said. “Boehner relentlessly used his office to attempt to thwart” the massive abortion funding in the health care bill and he used the “sheer force of his will as he confronted Pelosi and other pro-abortion leaders” on the legislation.
“Not a single one of the 178 House Republicans voted for that deadly pro-abortion Obamacare bill,” thanks to Boehner, St. Martin added. “On behalf of every pro-lifer here and across America, we thank you John Boehner.”
That was the second time last year that Boehner received an award for his pro-life efforts in opposing the government-run health care bill that funds and promotes abortions. Boehner choked up as he received an award at a reception sponsored by Americans United for Life. Boehner received the 2010 Henry J. Hyde Defender of Life Award and he became emotional during his acceptance speech as he talked about his family and Hyde, the pro-life luminary whose name still adorns the annual amendment to stop taxpayer funded abortions outside the health care bill.
“Look, Henry Hyde was a hero of mine,” he said. “I’ve always believed that life begins at conception. I’ve always thought abortion was wrong, and speaking out against it was never difficult. It was a moral position I felt very strongly about.”
Boehner was moved to tears and he lost his composure telling the crowd he has 11 brothers and sisters, saying, “I know it wasn’t convenient for my mother to have 12 of us.”
“But I’m sure glad they’re all here,” he said, as he left the stage, unable to continue.
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Boehner continued his fight to oppose abortion and abortion funding this year when he pressed President Barack Obama to agree to revoking federal taxpayer funding for the abortion business in a deal between Republicans and Democrats on legislation to fund the federal government. Boehner pressed Obama twice and Obama refused his request. Obama agreed to reinstate a ban on taxpayer funding of abortions in the District of Columbia and to allow a vote in the Senate on Planned Parenthood funding but he refused to cut any taxpayer disbursements to the abortion business.
“Nope, zero,” he told Boehner when the pro-life Speaker asked him how much he would cut from Planned Parenthood. Boehner asked Obama again, to which Obama responded, “Nope. Zero. John, this is it.”