Battered by division and defections, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is setting out to re-unify his conference and prove to Democrats in the White House and the Senate that he can command a governing majority of the House.
Boehner, who lost 12 of his members in a surprisingly hairy reelection vote, took the first steps in a closed-door conference meeting Friday morning. Boehner told lawmakers he would not seek to punish the Republicans who deserted him on the House floor Thursday.
“I’m not a retribution kind of guy. I don’t hold grudges,” Boehner said in the meeting, according to several people in the room. “My door is always open, whether you voted for me, or didn’t vote for me.”
Lawmakers say the next two to three months of fiscal battles will be a crucial period for Boehner, who begins the 113th Congress with a smaller majority that includes a cadre of conservatives who have gone public in their opposition to his leadership.