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Boehner re-elected US House speaker

Updated: 2015-01-07 10:07

Boehner re-elected US House speaker

US House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) takes the gavel from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (L) after being re-elected speaker on the House floor at the US Capitol in Washington January 6, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - John Boehner narrowly won a third term as House of Representatives Speaker on Tuesday, surviving a stiff challenge from 25 conservative Republicans that may signal a growing split in the party as it takes full control of Congress.

Boehner received 216 of 408 votes, with a growing faction of dissident House Republicans opposing him because they said he had done too little to cut spending and fight President Barack Obama's immigration and healthcare policies.

The last time that more than 25 House members voted against a Speaker candidate from their own party was in 1859, according to congressional historians.

Within hours of the vote, a senior Republican aide said that Florida representatives Richard Nugent and Daniel Webster, who had both opposed Boehner, were stripped of their assignments on the powerful House Rules Committee.

The number of Republican defectors was more than twice the dozen who withheld their support from him in an election two years ago, evidence of the stark party divisions that could make it hard to pass legislation, including bills to keep government agencies operating without interruption.

One of the defectors, Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina, said he was deluged by calls from people urging Boehner's ouster. Jones, like others, complained of Boehner's handling of a massive government spending bill in December.

"We didn't get 72 hours to read it, it was 1,600 pages and spent $1.1 trillion," Jones said.

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