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John Boehner, Eric Cantor Split On Fiscal Cliff Deal

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JOHN BOEHNER ERIC CANTOR
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Republican leaders in the House of Representatives split over the "fiscal cliff" deal that Congress passed on New Year's Day.

While House Speaker John Boehner supported the measure, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy voted against the legislation.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the GOP's former vice presidential nominee, backed the deal. According to BuzzFeed, Ryan was expected to cast a vote against the measure, but at the last minute changed his mind.

Cantor made no secret of his opposition to the bill passed by the Senate before the House on Tuesday night. Politico reports that the Virginia Republican's deputy chief of staff, Doug Heye, said that the House leader was "disappointed" with the measure approved by the upper congressional chamber. "That's why you saw him working all day to find an alternative with the leadership. That's why you saw two conference meetings to deal with what all alternatives may be [out there]," he explained.

HuffPost's Michael McAuliff and Sabrina Siddiqui reported on Tuesday night:

Republicans in the House spent much of Tuesday threatening to blow up the bill over the the lack of spending cuts. They went so far as to propose amending the measure with a $328 billion package of budget reductions, but facing the likelihood that a revised measure would fail muster with Democrats, caved in after two lengthy meetings behind closed doors.

Having lost a battle that many of them fought for years, the GOP was looking forward to future chances to extract cuts, likely setting up more last-second showdowns in March. That's because the two-month delay of the sequester ends March 3, right around the time the nation is expected to reach its borrowing limit -- which Congress has to extend to pay the bills. Funding for the federal government also runs out on March 27.

House GOP leaders taking opposite sides on the measure sparked speculation on the significance of the split.

Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas told HuffPost's Sabrina Siddiqui, "I think there's some significant divisions within leadership as demonstrated on this vote." He added, "I think there's a tremendous dissatisfaction within the caucus over what's occurred in the last two years -- so many missed opportunities."

The Hill reports:

Asked what the split vote signified, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) -- who managed the bill for Republicans -- told The Hill only that he was happy that the bill passed.

“We got the right result tonight, and that is we got a tax cut for 99 percent of the American people. I'm not in leadership, so I'll let them sort their own problems out,” Camp said as he headed into his office, situated just off the House floor.

McCarthy acknowledged "the leadership was split" and told The Hill, "Sometimes you have a difference of opinion. We went through -- we analyzed where people were. We didn't twist arms on this vote or whip from that perspective."

In the wake of the deal being approved by Congress, there have been conservative rumblings that some lawmakers on the right could look to replace Boehner as speaker.

While Boehner is likely to retain his gavel, the Associated Press recently noted that the political standoff leading up to the legislation passing left the Ohio Republican a wounded speaker.

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