WASHINGTON -- The most powerful Republican in the U.S. Congress is keeping his post.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner narrowly retained the position as the new Congress voted Thursday.

Boehner has had a bruising time in recent days as the outgoing Congress and the Obama administration negotiated and passed a limited deal to avoid the worst of the so-called "fiscal cliff."

Boehner faced criticism from conservatives in his own party over the fiscal deal. Fellow Republicans from the Northeast then blasted him for putting off a vote on an aid package for areas hit hard by the recent Superstorm Sandy. Boehner assured them that votes on that aid would happen by mid-month.