Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Congress Sworn In, Boehner Fights Off Speakership Challenge

Drew Thies

The members of the new 114th Congress were sworn-in this Tuesday, officially giving Republicans control of the Senate, a historic majority in the House, and their first control of both chambers in eight years.

Though Congress primarily acted on ceremonial business, the first day of the session was not without its drama. John Boehner (R, OH) fended off speakership challenges from two within his own caucus, Louie Gohmert from Texas and Ted Yoho from Florida.

Though Boehner retained enough Republican support to retain his post at the chamber’s top post, 25 members of the GOP voted against him. The defections were double what Boehner faced two years ago when he was last elected Speaker and represent the largest number of votes against one’s own party in two decades.

The Senate’s opening day had less in-party fighting, but was not without its own drama. As one of their first moves after officially losing control of the Senate, Democrats started an effort to block a hearing on the Keystone Pipeline that is slated to occur Wednesday. The action comes on the heels of an announcement by President Obama that he would veto any legislation furthering construction of the pipeline.

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