Boehner Plans to Hold Onto Speaker Position

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Monday, 03 Mar 2014 02:51 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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House Speaker John Boehner plans to seek re-election to the job and is confident he'll win, dismissing recent speculation that he plans to leave Congress and give up the leadership spot.

"I'm in better shape with my own caucus than I have ever been in the last three years," the Ohio Republican told the editorial board Monday at his hometown newspaper, The Enquirer in Cincinnati.

Boehner in recent months has had difficulty gathering support for some of his initiatives, particularly immigration reform. A Roll Call survey in February of GOP House members revealed that only 19 are willing to go on record backing the speaker's controversial principles, which include a pathway to legalization for illegal immigrants and a pathway to citizenship for children brought here illegally. But the plan falls short of providing an immediate pathway to citizenship as outlined in the comprehensive Senate bill passed last year.

Speculation that Boehner planned to leave Congress was fanned in February when he and his wife bought a luxury vacation condominium in Florida. 

The new vacation home has "nothing to do with my future," Boehner told The Enquirer.

Despite Boehner's positive words about the GOP caucus, he has had difficulty in recent months, particularly with members elected through tea party support in 2010, USA Today reports.

Early last year, a dozen Republicans refused to back Boehner's second term as speaker, and many of those people remain in the GOP-controlled House.

Boehner also has had difficulty with his public support ratings. A Gallup Poll released  Feb. 26 shows that Boehner is viewed favorably by about a third of Americans, marking a rebound since last year's partial government shutdown, when the public blamed Republicans more than Democrats for the impasse.

However, 50 percent of Americans still have an unfavorable view of the House speaker, numbers that have remained constant except for short periods when he was elected as House speaker in January 2011 and again in November 2012.

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