Two senior House Republicans said on Sunday that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will keep the top spot in the caucus after leadership elections next month.
Asked by Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union” if Boehner will be speaker after the caucus elections, Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) both said he would be.
“He’ll be speaker,” Blackburn added.
The support from two top Republicans come as Boehner faces criticism after removing four lawmakers, Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), from their committee assignments this past week.
Huelskamp called the move “punishment” for conservatives not backing leadership on votes. Participants at a closed-door House GOP meeting this week said that Boehner warned lawmakers that leaders would be watching their votes.
A conservative blog, Red State, has also called on Republicans to depose Boehner in retaliation.
A deal to avoid going over the fiscal cliff — a set of massive tax increases and budget cuts that will go into effect early next year unless Congress acts — could also hold danger for Boehner if he agrees to some taxes going up. That could cost him support among the conservative-leaning members of the House GOP caucus.
Cole, though, insisted Boehner remains a very powerful leader of the House.
“This is a speaker that’s very strong. This is a speaker that got us through a tough election and retained our majority. I actually think this is a speaker who’s at the peak of his power,” Cole said.