(CNSNews.com) – Republican lawmakers made light of the idea of a challenge to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) just moments before the 113th Congress was set to be sworn in on Thursday.
“It’s just talk,” said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) of speculation that conservative House members may plan to oust the Speaker after his handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations.
“That happens all the time,” Ryan said as he walked into the chamber. “I’ve been here -- this is my eighth election. I’ve seen people voting in Speaker sporadically. It just happens.”
Ryan was then asked if members supporting a challenge to Boehner had approached him.
“He’s going to be the Speaker,” said Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick in the failed 2012 Romney-Ryan GOP presidential race.
The fiscal cliff negotiations have left many House Republicans disgruntled, particularly after Boehner proposed a tax hike on incomes over $1 million a year, the so-called Plan B, which failed to gather enough Republican support to come up for a vote. The final deal, pushed by President Obama and Democrats in Congress, included tax hikes on Americans making $400,000 or more, and only 85 Republicans voted for it, while 151 voted against.
Both Ryan and Boehner voted for the bill.
Payroll taxes also go up in the deal, and affect 77 percent of U.S. households, with the average increase equaling about $1,653.
Boehner, from Ohio, needs an absolute majority to retain his speakership, and he would lose if 17 Republicans vote for someone else.
“There'll probably be some people that are frustrated and want to voice one thing or another,” said Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.). “But there's no serious challenge to Boehner.”
“I think this thing has been blown so ridiculously out of proportion by his opponents,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). “I think that there will be very little opposition.”
Franks said he absolutely plans to vote for Boehner.
“I may not always vote with the Speaker because he and I have slightly different jobs,” he said. “We have the same objective.”
“But I’ll have to say to you in the absolutely impossible position that people who voted for Barack Obama has put America in, this Speaker is doing the best he can,” Franks said.