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John Boehner

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John Boehner

John Boehner
Boehner in 2009
53rd Speaker of the United States
House of Representatives
In office
January 5, 2011 – October 29, 2015
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Nancy Pelosi
Succeeded by Paul Ryan
House Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Deputy Roy Blunt
Eric Cantor
Preceded by Nancy Pelosi
Succeeded by Nancy Pelosi
House Majority Leader
In office
February 2, 2006 – January 3, 2007
Deputy Roy Blunt
Preceded by Roy Blunt (Acting)
Succeeded by Steny Hoyer
Chairman of the House Education Committee
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2006
Preceded by William F. Goodling
Succeeded by Howard McKeon
Chairman of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Dick Armey
Succeeded by J. C. Watts
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1991 – October 31, 2015
Preceded by Buz Lukens
Succeeded by TBD
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 57th district
In office
January 3, 1985 – December 31, 1990
Preceded by Bill Donham
Succeeded by Scott Nein
Personal details
Born John Andrew Boehner
(1949-11-17) November 17, 1949
Reading, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Deborah Gunlack (1973–present)
Children Lindsay
Alma mater Xavier University
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Campaign website
House website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1968 (8 weeks)

John Andrew Boehner ( ;[1] born November 17, 1949) is an American politician who served as the 53rd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.[2] A member of the Republican Party, he was the U.S. Representative from Ohio's 8th congressional district, serving from 1991 to 2015. The district included several rural and suburban areas near Cincinnati and Dayton.

Boehner previously served as the House Minority Leader from 2007 until 2011, and House Majority Leader from 2006 until 2007. Boehner's almost nine years as the Republican Leader in the House (four years as Minority Leader and nearly five years as Speaker) was the longest consecutive tenure for a Republican Leader in the House since Bob Michel of Illinois served 14 years as House Minority Leader from 1981 through 1995.

On September 25, 2015, Boehner announced he would resign the Speakership and retire from Congress effective October 30.[3] However, due to later developments in the succession plans of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Boehner announced he would remain Speaker until the election of a successor, potentially delaying his originally planned retirement.[4]

On October 29, 2015, prior to the voting of a new Speaker, Boenher's farewell speech included his intent to resign as representative for Ohio's 8th congressional district, effective at the end of the month. Paul Ryan was then voted in as the new Speaker. Boehner's resignation as a member from Congress became effective at 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2015.[5]


  • Early life, education, and career 1
  • Early political career 2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Gang of Seven and Contract with America 3.1
    • Republican leadership 3.2
    • Chairman of Committee on Education and Labor 3.3
    • House Republican Leader 3.4
  • Speaker of the House 4
    • Resignation 4.1
  • Controversies 5
    • Connections to lobbyists 5.1
    • Smithsonian 5.2
    • Fiscal cliff and Hurricane Sandy relief bill 5.3
    • Cromnibus and 2015 House Chair election 5.4
  • Political positions 6
    • Financial crisis 6.1
  • Political campaigns 7
    • 2006 7.1
    • 2008 7.2
    • 2010 7.3
  • Electoral history 8
    • Speakership of the United States House of Representatives 8.1
      • U.S. House of Representatives speaker election, 2007 8.1.1
      • U.S. House of Representatives speaker election, 2009 8.1.2
      • U.S. House of Representatives speaker election, 2011 8.1.3
      • U.S. House of Representatives speaker election, 2013 8.1.4
      • U.S. House of Representatives speaker election, 2015 8.1.5
  • Campaign finance 9
    • Top 10 organizations funding 9.1
  • Legacy 10
  • Personal life 11
  • Notes 12
  • References 13
  • Further reading 14
  • External links 15

Early life, education, and career

Boehner was born in Reading, Ohio, the son of Mary Anne (née Hall) and Earl Henry Boehner, the second of twelve children. His father was of German descent and his mother had German and Irish ancestry.[6][7][8][9][10] He grew up in modest circumstances, having shared one bathroom with his eleven siblings in a two-bedroom house in Cincinnati. His parents slept on a pull-out couch.[11] He started working at his family's bar at age 8, a business founded by their grandfather Andy Boehner in 1938.[11] He has lived in Southwest Ohio his entire life. All but two of his siblings still live within a few miles of one another; two are unemployed and most of the others have blue-collar jobs.[12][13]

Boehner attended Cincinnati's Moeller High School and was a linebacker on the school's football team, where he was coached by future Notre Dame coach Gerry Faust.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20] Graduating from Moeller in 1968, when U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was at its peak, Boehner enlisted in the United States Navy but was honorably discharged after eight weeks because of a bad back.[21] He earned his B.A. in business administration from Xavier University in 1977, becoming the first person in his family to attend college, taking seven years as he held several jobs to pay for his education.[11]

Shortly after his graduation in 1977, Boehner accepted a position with Nucite Sales, a small sales business in the packaging and plastics industry. He was steadily promoted and eventually became president of the firm, resigning in 1990 when he was elected to Congress.[8]

Early political career

From 1981 to 1984, Boehner served on the board of trustees of Union Township, Butler County, Ohio. He then served as an Ohio state representative from 1985 to 1990.[22]

U.S. House of Representatives

In 1990, Boehner ran against incumbent congressman Buz Lukens, who was under fire for having a sexual relationship with a minor. He trounced Lukens in the primary, taking 49 percent of the vote. This was tantamount to election in the heavily Republican 8th District. He has been reelected 10 times with no substantial opposition, and even ran unopposed in 1994 and 2012.

Gang of Seven and Contract with America

During his freshman year, Boehner was a member of the Gang of Seven which was involved in bringing media attention to the House banking scandal.[23]

Boehner, along with Newt Gingrich and several other Republican lawmakers, was one of the engineers of the Contract with America in 1994 that politically helped Republicans during the 1994 congressional elections during which they won the majority in Congress for the first time in four decades.

Republican leadership

From 1995 to 1999, Boehner served as House Republican Conference Chairman which is the party caucus for Republicans in the United States House of Representatives. In this post, he was the fourth-ranking House Republican, behind Gingrich, Majority Leader Dick Armey and Majority Whip Tom DeLay.

During his time as Conference Chairman, Boehner championed the Freedom to Farm Act that, among other provisions, revises and simplifies direct payment programs for crops and eliminates milk price supports through direct government purchases.

In the summer of 1997 several House Republicans, who saw Speaker Newt Gingrich's public image as a liability, attempted to replace him as Speaker. The attempted "coup" began July 9 with a meeting between Republican conference chairman Boehner and Republican leadership chairman Bill Paxon of New York. According to their plan, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Boehner and Paxon were to present Gingrich with an ultimatum: resign, or be voted out. However, Armey balked at the proposal to make Paxon the new Speaker, and told his chief of staff to warn Gingrich about the coup.[24]

On July 11, Gingrich met with senior Republican leadership to assess the situation. He explained that under no circumstance would he step down. If he was voted out, there would be a new election for Speaker, which would allow for the possibility that Democrats—along with dissenting Republicans—would vote in Dick Gephardt as Speaker. On July 16, Paxon offered to resign his post, feeling that he had not handled the situation correctly. Paxon was the only unelected member of the leadership group, having been appointed to his position by Gingrich.[25]

In 1998, Boehner was ousted as the chairman of the House Republican Conference, after his party lost five congressional seats.[26]

Chairman of Committee on Education and Labor

Boehner, as House Minority Leader, campaigns for fellow Ohio Congressman Steve Stivers (left) during the 2010 midterm elections

Following the election of President House Education and the Workforce Committee from 2001 until 2006. There he authored several reforms including the Pension Protection Act and a successful school choice voucher program for low-income children in Washington, DC.[27]

Boehner and Senator

External links

  • Barone, Michael, and Grant Ujifusa, The Almanac of American Politics 2006: The Senators, the Representatives and the Governors: Their Records and Election Results, Their States and Districts (2005) pp. 1328–32.

Further reading

  1. ^ Hanks, Patrick, ed. (2003). Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 181.  
  2. ^ "Boehner takes charge as new Congress convenes". CNN. January 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Steinhauer, Jennifer (September 25, 2015). "John Boehner Will Resign From Congress".  
  4. ^ Wong, Scott; Becker, Bernie (October 9, 2015). "Conservatives blast Boehner for delaying Speaker vote". The Hill. 
  5. ^ a b Henry J. Gomez (October 30, 2015). "John Boehner exits, John Kasich books Stephen Colbert: Ohio Politics Roundup". Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  6. ^ Harnden, Toby. "John Boehner: the second of twelve kids". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Office of Speaker Boehner's Photos – January 2011". Facebook. 
  8. ^ a b "John Boehner – 8th District of Ohio". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved July 13, 2009. 
  9. ^ Thompson, Clifford (2006). Current Biography Yearbook 2006. H.W. Wilson Company. p. 58.  
  10. ^ "boehner". Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c Banikarim, Susie; Francis, Enjoli (November 3, 2010). American Dream': John Boehner Set to Take House Helm"'". ABC News. 
  12. ^ Harnden, Toby (September 17, 2010). "John Boehner: the second of 12 kids from Ohio who is Barack Obama's elitist target". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  13. ^ Grunwald, Michael; Newton-Small, Jay (November 5, 2010). "Tanned, Tested, Ready: John Boehner". Time. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  14. ^  
  15. ^ Peter J. Boyer (December 13, 2010). "House Rule". The New Yorker. 
  16. ^ Catalina Camia (December 6, 2010). "Boehner: Tea Party rally showed him need for strong GOP". USA Today. 
  17. ^ "John Boehner: Speaker-in-Waiting?".  
  18. ^ Jennifer Steinhauer and Carl Hulse (October 14, 2010). "Boehner's Path to Power Began in Southern Ohio". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ Eric Bradley (October 4, 2010). "John Boehner rose from humble roots".  
  20. ^ Deirdre Walsh (August 31, 2010). "President's critic powerful insider, little-known outside the Beltway". CNN. 
  21. ^ , 23 September 2002Cincinnati EnquirerWeiser, Carl. "Military service rare on delegation," , accessed October 12, 2013.
  22. ^ Boehner, John Andrew. US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  23. ^ A Rabble-Rouser, Then and Now, New York Times, Carl Hulse, July 4, 2009
  24. ^ "Attempted Republican Coup: Ready, Aim, Misfire". CNN. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  25. ^ Gingrich, Newt (1998). Lessons Learned the Hard Way. HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 159–160.  
  26. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (March 2, 2006). "In an Upset, Boehner Is Elected House GOP Leader". The Washington Post (Washington). Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  27. ^ George F. Will (September 14, 2003). "Today's principle civil rights fight". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  28. ^ Rotherham, Andrew J. (November 4, 2010). "Will John Boehner Be Good for Education?". Time. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  29. ^ Rudalevige, Andrew (June 10, 2002). "Accountability and Avoidance in the Bush Education Plan: The ‘No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.’" (PDF). "Taking Account of Accountability" Conference, Program on Education Policy and Governance. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. 
  30. ^ a b Grunwald, Michael; Newton-Small, Jay (November 5, 2010). "Tanned, Tested, Ready: John Boehner". Time. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  31. ^ Roll Call at the Wayback Machine (archived February 4, 2006)
  32. ^ "CNN". CNN. February 2, 2006. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  33. ^ Archived September 18, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ "Boehner: New Leadership "Reflects a New Majority Ready to Listen and Go to Work". Office of the House Republican Leader. November 17, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Boehner favored as 61st House Speaker on his 61st birthday". November 17, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010. 
  36. ^ Sanburn, Josh (January 6, 2011). "Boehner's Large Gavel: Why Is New Speaker's Gavel So Big?". Time. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Representative John Boehner's Voting Records".  
  38. ^ Silver, Nate (January 4, 2013). "Were the G.O.P. Votes Against Boehner a Historic Rejection?". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  39. ^ Kane, Paul (January 3, 2013). "John Boehner reelected as House speaker". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  40. ^ Richter, Greg. "Boehner Tells Leno He Won't Give Up Wine, Golf to Be President". Newsmax. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  41. ^ CASSATA, DONNA (July 10, 2014). "House GOP Moves Ahead on Suing Obama". Associated Press. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  42. ^ Acosta, Jim (July 11, 2014). "White House: GOP voted to delay Obamacare mandate". (CNN). Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  43. ^ Levey, Noam N. (November 22, 2014). "House Republicans sue Obama over Affordable Care Act enactment". (Tribune Washington Bureau). Retrieved November 22, 2014. 
  44. ^ Mike DeBonis, Robert Costa and Rosalind S. Helderman (October 8, 2015). "House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy drops out of race for House speaker". Washington Post. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  45. ^ Manu Raju, Deirdre Walsh, Tal Kopan and Dana Bash, (October 21, 2015). "After caucus vote, Paul Ryan is pushing ahead with speaker bid". Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  46. ^ Mike DeBonis (October 29, 2015). "Paul Ryan elected House speaker". Washington Post. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  47. ^ Dana Milbank (February 3, 2006). "Boehner Makes His Political Comeback". Washington Post. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  48. ^ 'The Rachel Maddow Show' (transcript), September 30, 2010 
  49. ^ See House Rule IV 7 at
  50. ^ Lipton, Eric (September 11, 2010). "A G.O.P. Leader Tightly Bound to Lobbyists". New York Times. 
  51. ^ Trescott, Jacqueline (December 1, 2010). "Portrait Gallery removes crucifix video from exhibit after complaints". The Washington Post. 
  52. ^ "Gov. Chris Christie Slams GOP Leader Boehner". ABC news. January 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  53. ^ "Boehner committed to move Hurricane Sandy relief bill in January". The Hill. January 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  54. ^ "What Did Congress Do About Hurricane Sandy? Rape it for What It’s Worth!". RedState. January 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  55. ^ "National Telephone Survey of Republican Voters". EMC Research. January 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  56. ^ "Exclusive–Palin on Obama/Boehner Cromnibus Bill: ‘It Stinks to High Heaven’". Brietbart. December 12, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  57. ^ "Welcome to Congress, here's your 500,000 letters". WorldNetDaily. December 23, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  58. ^ Horowitz, Daniel (January 2, 2015). "29 Conservatives Can Oust Boehner as Speaker".  
  59. ^ "Boehner takes revenge".  
  60. ^ Salena Zito (May 10, 2009). "Boehner's job: Recapture 'squandered' GOP brand". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  61. ^ Sabrina Eaton (March 8, 2009). "House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio helps unite GOP". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  62. ^ "John Boehner on the Issues". Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  63. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (February 12, 2006). "Washington Post". Washington Post. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  64. ^ Equality magazine. Winter 2011 issue. "Vigilance!", page 5.
  65. ^ "John Boehner on Civil Rights". On the Issues. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  66. ^ "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  67. ^ Berman, Russell (May 29, 2014). "Boehner 'not qualified' to debate climate change".  
  68. ^ Frumin, Aliyah (May 29, 2014). "John Boehner: I’m ‘not qualified’ to debate climate change".  
  69. ^ Davenport, Coral (October 30, 2014). "Why Republicans Keep Telling Everyone They're Not Scientists".  
  70. ^ "Lawmakers’ inside advantage to trading" Marketplace. September 17, 2009. Retrieved September 20, 2009
  71. ^ Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. October 3, 2008.
  72. ^ a b Wereschagin, Mike; Zito, Salena (June 29, 2010), "Obama's good for GOP, Boehner says",  
  73. ^ "House GOP Economic Recovery Alternative Will Create 6.2 Million New American Jobs | Republican Leader John Boehner". Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  74. ^ "Budget Committee Republicans, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C". January 4, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  75. ^ Somashekhar, Sandhya. "Legislative proposal puts abortion rights supporters on alert." Washington Post, February 1, 2011.
  76. ^ Boehner, John. Boehner press release on HR 3 January 20, 2011.
  77. ^ "Republicans Target Their Own Voters In Defense Budget Switch". Forbes. January 18, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  78. ^ "State Races: Ohio 2006 Elections". CNN. November 2006. Retrieved March 16, 2006. 
  79. ^ "State Election Results". CNN. January 12, 2009. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  80. ^ Official candidate list, Ohio Secretary of State
  81. ^ Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller (July 30, 2010) [2] ABC News
  82. ^ Toby Harnden (September 17, 2010) John Boehner: the second of 12 kids from Ohio who is Barack Obama's elitist target The Daily Telegraph
  83. ^ Frank James (September 12, 2010) Obama Takes Boehner On By Name; Shades Of Clinton-Gingrich NPR
  84. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved January 10, 2008. 
  85. ^ "Election Results".  
  86. ^ Election of the Speaker Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. January 4, 2007.
  87. ^ Election of the Speaker Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. January 6, 2009.
  88. ^ Election of the Speaker Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. January 5, 2011.
  89. ^ Election of the Speaker Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. January 3, 2013.
  90. ^ Election of the Speaker Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. January 6, 2015.
  91. ^ "John A. Boehner (R-OH) U.S. House". MapLight. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  92. ^ Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer, John Bresnahan and Lauren French, "Speaker John Boehner retiring from Congress at the end of October" Sept. 25, 2015POLITICO
  93. ^ Paul Kane, "After nearly five years, Boehner could never land the ‘big deal’ he wanted" Sept 25, 2015Washington Post
  94. ^ Paul Kane, "After nearly five years, Boehner could never land the ‘big deal’ he wanted"
  95. ^ James Rowley (October 28, 2010). "Boehner’s Blue-Collar Roots Frame Possible Next Speaker’s Views". Business Week (New York, NY: Bloomberg L.P.). Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  96. ^ No news is good news The New Yorker. June 8, 2013.


  1. ^ The German pronunciation of the Low German surname Boehner/Böhner is ;[1] however, Boehner's biography at recommends the pronunciation .
  2. ^ At the time of the election, one seat was vacant, leaving 434 voting representatives.
  3. ^ Of these 2, 1 member did not cast a vote and 1 cast a vote of "present".
  4. ^ a b c d e f Not a sitting member of the House of Representatives.
  5. ^ Of these 7, 6 members did not cast a vote and 1 cast a vote of "present".
  6. ^ At the time of the election, two seats were vacant, leaving 433 voting representatives.


Boehner and his wife Debbie were married in 1973, and live in the Wetherington section of West Chester Township. They have two daughters, Lindsay and Tricia.[95] Lindsay is married to Dominic Lakhan, a Jamaican-born construction worker.[96]

Personal life

Furthermore, Kane argues, Boehner's persona alienated conservative Republicans who demanded more vigorous attacks on Obama and instead perceived, "a country club Republican who loved to play 18 holes of golf and drink merlot afterward while cutting deals. In an era of shouting and confrontation, on talk radio or cable TV, Boehner’s easygoing style did not fit."[94]

Boehner never landed the really big deal he craved. Not the $4 trillion tax-and-entitlement deal he reached for in 2011, not the repackaged version a year later and not the immigration overhaul he sought in 2014.[93]

Paul Kane in the Washington Post emphasizes how none of the "big deals" he sought were ever reached:

Boehner came into power on the momentum of the 2010 tea party wave. But it was that movement that gave him constant problems. He clashed with social conservatives over the debt limit, government funding, Obamacare and taxes. But his tenure will also be remembered for his complicated relationship with President Barack Obama. He and Obama tried — but repeatedly failed — to cut a deal on a sweeping fiscal agreement. But Boehner has had some significant victories, including the trade deal that Congress passed this year, and changes to entitlement programs.[92]

In reporting his pending retirement, Politico summarized his Speakership:


Organization Contributions
AT&T $156,750
FirstEnergy $89,050
Sallie Mae $86,750
Paulson & Co. $81,050
American Electric Power $54,450
Moore Capital Management $51,500
Swisher International Group $50,000
Cantor Fitzgerald $46,000
Goldman Sachs $42,500
Chicago Mercantile Exchange $39,200

The top 10 contributors (not including political parties or other candidates) to John Boehner's campaign for the period of January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2012 represent a variety of interests.[91]

Top 10 organizations funding

Campaign finance

Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Boehner 216 52.9%
Democratic Nancy Pelosi 164 40.2%
Republican Dan Webster 12 2.9%
Republican Louie Gohmert 3 <1.0%
Republican Ted Yoho 2 <1.0%
Republican Jim Jordan 2 <1.0%
Republican Jeff Duncan 1 <1.0%
Republican Rand Paul [4] 1 <1.0%
Republican Colin Powell [4] 1 <1.0%
Republican Trey Gowdy 1 <1.0%
Republican Kevin McCarthy 1 <1.0%
Democratic Jim Cooper 1 <1.0%
Democratic Peter DeFazio 1 <1.0%
Republican Jeff Sessions [4] 1 <1.0%
Democratic John Lewis 1 <1.0%
n/a Present 1 <1.0%
n/a Total Votes 409 94.0%
n/a Not voting 25 5.7%
n/a Vacant 1 <1.0%
Total 435 100%

Source: [90]

U.S. House of Representatives speaker election, 2015

Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Boehner 220 50.8%
Democratic Nancy Pelosi 192 44.3%
Republican Eric Cantor 3 <1.0%
Democratic Jim Cooper 2 <1.0%
Republican Allen West[4] 2 <1.0%
Republican Justin Amash 1 <1.0%
Democratic John Dingell 1 <1.0%
Republican Jim Jordan 1 <1.0%
Republican Raul Labrador 1 <1.0%
Democratic John Lewis 1 <1.0%
Republican Colin Powell[4] 1 <1.0%
n/a David Walker[4] 1 <1.0%
Not voting[5] 7 1.6%
Total 433[6] 100%

Source: [89]

U.S. House of Representatives speaker election, 2013

President Obama and Boehner enjoying Saint Patrick's Day, March 14, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Boehner 242 55.6%
Democratic Nancy Pelosi 173 39.8%
Democratic Heath Shuler 11 2.5%
Democratic John Lewis 2 <1.0%
Democratic Dennis Cardoza 1 <1.0%
Democratic Jim Costa 1 <1.0%
Democratic Jim Cooper 1 <1.0%
Democratic Steny Hoyer 1 <1.0%
Democratic Marcy Kaptur 1 <1.0%
Not voting[3] 2 <1.0%
Total 435 100%

Source: [88]

U.S. House of Representatives speaker election, 2011

Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nancy Pelosi 255 58.6%
Republican John Boehner 174 40.1%
Didn't vote 5 0.9%
Total 434[2] 100%

Source: [87]

U.S. House of Representatives speaker election, 2009

Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nancy Pelosi 233 53.6%
Republican John Boehner 202 46.4%
Total 435 100%

Source: [86]

U.S. House of Representatives speaker election, 2007

Speakership of the United States House of Representatives

Ohio's 8th congressional district: Results 1990–2012[84][85]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct Other Party Votes Pct Other Party Votes Pct
1990 Gregory Jolivette 63,584 38.9% John Boehner 99,955 61.1%
1992 Fred Sennet 62,033 26% John Boehner 176,362 74%
1994 No candidate John Boehner 148,338 100%
1996 Jeffrey Kitchen 52,912 26% John Boehner 127,979 70% William Baker Natural Law 8,613 4%
1998 John W. Griffin 52,912 29% John Boehner 127,979 71%
2000 John G. Parks 66,293 26% John Boehner 179,756 71% David Shock Libertarian 7,254 3%
2002 Jeff Hardenbrook 49,444 29% John Boehner 119,947 71%
2004 Jeff Hardenbrook 90,574 31% John Boehner 201,675 69%
2006 Mort Meier 77,640 36% John Boehner 136,863 64%
2008 Nicholas Von Stein 95,510 32% John Boehner 202,063 68%
2010 Justin Coussoule 65,883 30% John Boehner 142,731 66% David Harlow Libertarian 5,121 2% James Condit Constitution 3,701 2%
2012 No candidate John Boehner 246,378 99.2% James Condit Constitution 1,938 0.8%
2014 Tom Poetter 51,534 27.4% John Boehner 126,539 67.2% James Condit Constitution 10,257 5.4%

Electoral history

As Republican House Leader, Boehner is a Democratic target for criticism of Republican views and political positions. In July 2010, President Barack Obama began singling out Boehner for criticism during his speeches.[81] In one speech, Obama mentioned Boehner's name nine times[82] and accused him of believing that police, firefighters, and teachers were jobs "not worth saving."[83]

Boehner was opposed by Democratic nominee Justin Coussoule, Constitution Party nominee Jim Condit, and Libertarian nominee David Harlow; but won the 2010 election.[80]


In the November 2008 election, Boehner defeated Nicholas Von Stein, 68% to 32%.[79]


In the November 2006 election, Boehner defeated the Democratic Party candidate, U.S. Air Force veteran Mort Meier, 64% to 36%.[78]


Political campaigns

In 2013, Boehner led his caucus in a strategy to hold Defense spending hostage in order to avoid reducing the deficit with revenue increases.[77]

In 2011, Boehner called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act "one of our highest legislative priorities."[75][76]

Boehner has been highly critical of several initiatives by the Democratic Congress and President Barack Obama, including the "cap and trade" plan that Boehner says would hurt job growth in his congressional district and elsewhere. He opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and said that, if Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections, they would do whatever it takes to stop the act. One option would be to defund the administrative aspect of the Act, not paying "one dime" to pay the salaries of the workers who would administer the plan.[72] He also led an opposition to the 2009 stimulus and to Obama's first budget proposal, promoting instead an alternative economic recovery plan[73] and a Republican budget (authored by Ranking Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI).[74] He has advocated for an across-the-board spending freeze, including entitlement programs. Boehner favors making changes in Social Security, such as by raising the retirement age to 70 for people who have at least 20 years until retirement, as well as tying cost-of-living increases to the consumer price index rather than wage inflation, and limiting payments to those who need them.[72]

On October 3, 2008 Boehner voted in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP),[71] believing that the enumerated powers grant Congress the authority to "purchase assets and equity from financial institutions in order to strengthen its financial sector."

Speaker Boehner meets with President Obama at the White House during the 2011 debt ceiling increase negotiations

On September 18, 2008, Congressman Boehner attended a closed meeting with congressional leaders, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and was urged to craft legislation to help financially troubled banks. That same day (trade effective the next day), Congressman Boehner cashed out of an equity mutual fund.[70]

Financial crisis

"I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change," Boehner said at a press conference on May 29, 2014 at which he criticized proposed federal regulations on coal-fired power plants.[67][68][69]

Boehner is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[66]

On May 25, 2006, Boehner issued a statement defending his agenda and attacking his "Democrat friends" such as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Boehner said regarding national security that voters "have a choice between a Republican Party that understands the stakes and is dedicated to victory, and a Democrat Party with a non-existent national security policy that sheepishly dismisses the challenges of a post-9/11 world and is all too willing to concede defeat on the battlefield in Iraq."

Boehner opposes same-sex marriage, as evidenced by his vote for the Federal Marriage Amendment in both 2004 and 2006. In a letter to the Human Rights Campaign, Boehner stated, "I oppose any legislation that would provide special rights for homosexuals... Please be assured that I will continue to work to protect the idea of the traditional family as one of the fundamental tenets of western civilization."[64][65]

Boehner has been classified as a "hard-core conservative" by OnTheIssues.[62] Although Boehner has a conservative voting record, when he was running for House leadership, religious conservatives in the GOP expressed that they were not satisfied with his positions. According to the Washington Post: "From illegal immigration to sanctions on China to an overhaul of the pension system, Boehner, as chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, took ardently pro-business positions that were contrary to those of many in his party. Religious conservatives – examining his voting record – see him as a policymaker driven by small-government economic concerns, not theirs."[63]

A profile in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said, "On both sides of the aisle, Boehner earns praise for candor and an ability to listen."[60] The Plain Dealer says Boehner "has perfected the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable."[61]

Boehner introducing then-president Troy, Ohio in 2003.

Political positions

Many Republicans were ready for a new House of Representatives Chairman following the 2014 mid-term elections. EMC Research reported 60% of participants in their telephone survey wanted a new chairman.[55] Conservatives including Sarah Palin also criticized Boehner for not stopping the Cromnibus spending package in 2014 after being re-elected, stating "It stinks to high heaven.".[56] WND then launched a campaign to elect a new chairman which gained the support of 500,000 individual letters being sent to congress in protest against Boehner.[57] In the end there were a total of 25 votes against Boehner, 29 were needed in order to choose a new speaker.[58] Boehner responded by removing those who opposed him from influential committees.[59]

Cromnibus and 2015 House Chair election

On January 1, 2013, after passing the fiscal cliff deal, Boehner adjourned the house without passing the $60 million Hurricane Sandy relief bill. Some Representatives, especially from the Northeast and including Republicans as well as Democrats, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie harshly criticized Boehner.[52] Boehner later promised to pass the bill.[53] However, some commentators praised Boehner for not passing a bill they saw as full of pork barrel.[54]

Fiscal cliff and Hurricane Sandy relief bill

In November 2010, Boehner, along with Minority Whip Eric Cantor, called for the cancellation of an exhibit in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery after he learned that it featured a video by David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly, that contained an image of a crucifix with ants crawling on it. Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith said, "Smithsonian officials should either acknowledge the mistake and correct it, or be prepared to face tough scrutiny beginning in January when the new majority in the House moves [in]."[51]


A September 2010 New York Times story said Boehner was "Tightly Bound to Lobbyists" and "He maintains especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists and former aides representing some of the nation’s biggest businesses, including Goldman Sachs, Google, Citigroup, R.J. Reynolds, MillerCoors and UPS.".[50]

In June 1995, Boehner distributed campaign contributions from tobacco industry lobbyists on the House floor as House members were weighing how to vote on tobacco subsidies.[47] In a 1996 documentary by PBS called The People and the Power Game, Boehner said "They asked me to give out a half dozen checks quickly before we got to the end of the month and I complied. And I did it on the House floor, which I regret. I should not have done. It's not a violation of the House rules, but it's a practice that‘s gone on here for a long time that we're trying to stop and I know I'll never do it again."[48] Boehner eventually led the effort to change House rules and prohibit campaign contributions from being distributed on the House floor.[49]

Connections to lobbyists


On September 25, 2015, Boehner announced that he would step down as Speaker and resign from Congress at the end of October 2015. Boehner's resignation took place after Pope Francis' address to Congress the day before, an event considered by Boehner as a high point in his legislative career. Sources in his office indicated he was stepping aside in the face of increasing discord while trying to manage passage of a continuing resolution to fund the government. Conservative opposition to funding Planned Parenthood as part of the resolution, and stronger threats to Boehner's leadership on account of the controversy, prompted the abrupt announcement.[3] Originally, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California had announced he would run for Speaker and was seen as the prohibitive favorite. On October 8, 2015, McCarthy abruptly announced he would not run for Speaker, citing that he felt he could not effectively lead a fractured a House Republican Caucus. After McCarthy's announcement, Boehner announced that would stay on as Speaker until a successor was chosen.[44] After initially turning down requests from Republican leaders, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman and 2012 Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin announced he would run for Speaker and had received Boehner's blessing.[45] In his final act as Speaker, Boehner presided over the election to succeed him. After announcing that Ryan had garnered a majority of votes on the House floor, Boehner officially passed off the Speaker's gavel to Ryan on October 29, 2015.[46] Boehner's resignation from Congress became official October 31, 2015, at 11:59 p.m.[5]


In July 2014, Boehner moved forward on a lawsuit to force the President to impose penalties on companies who failed to provide health care coverage for their employees.[41] Boehner had pressed for legislation to delay this mandate the previous year.[42] The third law firm selected finally filed the suit in November 2014, after Boehner criticized Obama's unilateral moves on immigration policy.[43]

Boehner appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on January 23, 2014. When asked by Leno if he would ever run for president, the Speaker said no, adding, "I like to play golf. I like to cut my own grass. I do drink red wine, I smoke cigarettes. And I'm not giving that up to be President of the United States."[40]

Boehner was narrowly re-elected as Speaker of the House on January 3, 2013 at the beginning of the 113th United States Congress.[38] He received 220 votes, needing 214 to win.[39]

As Speaker, he is still the leader of the House Republicans. However, by tradition, he normally does not take part in debate, although he has the right to do so, and almost never votes from the floor.[37] He is not a member of any House committees.

Speaker Boehner meets with Pope Francis during his visit to the United States Congress

The Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives during the 2010 midterm elections, with a net gain of 63 seats. During his solemn victory speech, Boehner broke into tears when talking about "economic freedom, individual liberty and personal responsibility...I hold these values dear because I've lived them...I've spent my whole life chasing the American Dream".[30] November 17, 2010, Boehner was unanimously chosen by the House Republicans as their nominee for Speaker,[34][35] all but assuring his formal election to the post when the new Congress convened with a Republican majority in January 2011. He received the gavel from outgoing Speaker Pelosi on Wednesday, January 5, 2011.[36] He is the first Speaker from Ohio since fellow Republicans Nicholas Longworth (1925 to 1931) and J. Warren Keifer (1881 to 1883). He is also the first Speaker who has served both as majority and minority floor leader for his party since Texas Democrat Sam Rayburn.

Speaker Boehner greets U.S. President Barack Obama before the 2011 State of the Union Address.

Speaker of the House

According to the 2008 Power Ranking, Boehner was the 6th most powerful congressman (preceded by Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander M. Levin, Dean of the House John Dingell, and Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, all Democrats) and the most powerful Republican.[33] As Minority Leader, Boehner served as an ex officio member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

After the Republicans lost control of the House in the 2006 elections, the House Republican Conference chose Boehner as Minority Leader. While as Majority Leader he was second-in-command behind Speaker Dennis Hastert, as Minority Leader he was the leader of the House Republicans. As such, he was the Republican nominee for Speaker in 2006 and 2008, losing both times to Pelosi.

In an upset, Boehner was elected by his colleagues to serve as House Majority Leader on February 2, 2006. The election followed Tom DeLay's resignation from the post after being indicted on criminal charges. Boehner campaigned as a reform candidate who wanted to reform the so-called "earmark" process and rein in government spending. He defeated Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and Representative John Shadegg of Arizona, even though he was considered an underdog candidate to Blunt. In the second round of voting by the House Republican Conference, Boehner defeated Blunt with 122 to 109 votes. Blunt kept his previous position as Majority Whip, the No. 3 leadership position in the House. (There was some confusion on the first ballot for Majority Leader as the first count showed one more vote cast than Republicans present,[31] due to a misunderstanding as to whether the rules allowed Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico to vote).[32]

2006 portrait of Boehner

House Republican Leader

[30] Boehner was friends with Kennedy, also a Roman Catholic, and every year they chaired fundraisers for cash-strapped Catholic schools.[29] Boehner said that it was his "proudest achievement" in two decades of public service.[28]

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