“Healthcare costs are still rising for American families,” Boehner said, adding that later today Congress will begin to carry out the instructions of the American people. “Everything here is on loan from them,” Boehner said, “including this gavel.”
Before introducing Boehner as a “man of conviction and a legislative leader of skill,” Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—Boehner's predecessor who resumed her earlier role as House Minority Leader today—listed healthcare as an achievement of the last Congress. She highlighted a “strong patient's bill of rights”; extended coverage for adult children on their parents' plans; and expected savings of $1.3 trillion as significant accomplishments. Those remarks were met with vigorous applause by Democrats and cool silence from Republicans, who announced earlier this week that they will vote on a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Jan. 12.
Boehner said House committees in the 112th Congress will be smaller and have a renewed mission, including oversight. Also, the House plans to vote on a rules package that Boehner said could change how the House conducts business. And the new speaker received applause after he said the House will begin its work by cutting Congress' own budget. “Above all,” Boehner said, “we welcome the battle of ideas.”
There were a total of 432 votes for House speaker, of which Boehner received 241, and Pelosi received 173. The remaining votes went to other House members, including one vote for former Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, and 11 for Democrat Heath Shuler of North Carolina.