Boehner Gains Strong Backing From House Republicans


WASHINGTON — With a daunting fiscal crisis looming and conservatives outside the House torching him at every turn, Speaker John A. Boehner might be assumed to have a shaky hold on his gavel. Instead, it appears he is enjoying the broadest support of his tumultuous two-year speakership from House Republicans.

As Mr. Boehner digs in for a tense fiscal confrontation with President Obama, the strong embrace from a broad spectrum of the rank and file may empower him as he tries to strike a deal on spending cuts and tax increases that spares the country a recession, without costing Republicans too much in terms of political principle.

With the election results ensuring another four years with an empowered adversary in the White House, and a growing docket of polls that show voters ready to blame Republicans for a failure to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, many House Republicans appear to view Mr. Boehner with the same sort of respect that adult children award their parents for the sage counsel they ignored in their younger days.

Should his support hold up, Mr. Boehner, who faced a frequent battering from his own members over the last two years as he tried to seal deals on various spending agreements, would be better able to negotiate from a point of relative Republican unity.

And, most important, he would be viewed as able to sell a deal to his once-fractious caucus.

On Wednesday, in a private meeting between Mr. Boehner and House Republicans, member after member spoke in support of him, in some cases saying a deal they would have rejected six months ago would most likely be taken today.

“I want to be a strong advocate and say that I am with the speaker,” said Representative Scott Rigell of Virginia, a House freshman. “I am with the leadership.”