Despite criticism, speaker retains the gavel for a second term.
WASHINGTON – John Boehner won a second two-year term as speaker of the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
Despite several Republicans withholding their support for him, Boehner defeated Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi by 220-192 votes, on the first day of a new Congress.
As the new Congress convened, the House of Representatives began voting for a speaker, with Boehner favored to win re-election despite a troubled few weeks during the "fiscal cliff" debate.
No Republican had stepped forward to challenge Boehner, and with his party controlling the chamber, 233 to 200 with two vacancies, he looked set to retain his post.
But, presuming all House members were at the session, the vote could have gone to a second round if 17 Republicans or more had not backed Boehner.
That would have been an embarrassment for the congressman from Ohio, even with an eventual win.
Some Republicans have criticized Boehner for dragging his feet on storm aid for Superstorm Sandy victims in the Northeast and backing tax hikes on the wealthy sought by President Barack Obama to avert the "fiscal cliff" of steep tax increases and spending cuts.
Minority Democrats offered token opposition at the speakership vote, nominating Pelosi, as speaker.
Reporting By Thomas Ferraro
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