Amidst party dissention and rumors that the House Speakership of John Boehner (R-OH) was in peril, he was today re-elected for a second term, garnering 220 votes of the 426 votes cast; Nancy Pelosi received 192 votes. Shockingly, outgoing Rep. Allen West got two votes and Colin Powell got one vote (there’s no requirement that Speakership go to a member of the House).
An elated and emotional Boehner then addressed the new members of the House from the House Floor:
“I know you’re feeling a bit awestruck at this moment. History runs through this building. And now you’re among a select few to share in this privilege.”
Boehner then gave the current members a suggestion:
“[F]or those of you who are returning, who’ve walked these aisles before, maybe it’s time we get a little awestruck again.”
Speaking about his oath to the House, Boehner said:
“In a few moments, I’ll take this oak for the 12th time, as the representative for the 8th District of Ohio. It is word-for-word the same oath that we all take. And note that it makes no mention of party, or faction, or title. Contains no reference to agendas or to platforms. Only to the constitution. The one addition we dare make, as George Washington did at the very first inaugural, is to invoke the assistance of our Heavenly Father.”
Boehner paused a brief moment, a bit emotional. His next words were a reminder to the current members, and garnered applause:
“We’re sent here not to be something, but to do something, or as I like to call it, doing the right thing.”
Boehner then talked about the peril of our massive “anchor of debt,” in an apparent attempt to explain his House’s fiscal cliff deal vote.
“Break its hold, and we begin to set our economy free. Jobs will come home, and confidence will come back. And we do this not just to boost GDP, or reduce unemployment, but to secure for our children a future of…” He paused for an emotional moment of emotion before he managed to get out: “…freedom, and opportunity, and frankly, nothing is more important.” He tried to go on but was interrupted by applause.
Boehner closed out his speech with some words of warning and emotional guidance to the new members:
“If you’ve come here to see your name up in the lights, or to pass off a political victory as some sort of accomplishment, you’ve come to the wrong place,” and he points, “The door’s right behind you.”
“If you’ve come here humbled by the opportunity to serve, if you’ve come here to be the determined voice of the people, if you’ve come here to carry the standard of leadership demanded not by our constituents, but by the times, then you’ve come to the right place.”
Boehner’s speech was followed by a standing ovation. He then raised his right hand to took his oath of office before giving the oath to the members-elect of the 113th Congress, as you can see here: