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Archive for Thursday, January 6, 2011

GOP takes charge: New Speaker John Boehner leads House

January 6, 2011

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House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio reacts during a pause while participating in ceremonial swearing-in with representatives Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio reacts during a pause while participating in ceremonial swearing-in with representatives Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington.

— Claiming power beneath the Capitol dome, resurgent Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives on Wednesday as the 112th Congress convened in an era of economic uncertainty. Dozens of tea party-backed lawmakers took office in both houses, eager to cut spending and reduce government’s reach.

“The people voted to end business as usual, and today we begin carrying out their instructions,” said newly elected House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, replacing Democrat Nancy Pelosi and transformed instantly into the nation’s most powerful Republican in a new era of divided government.

Both the House and the Senate convened at the constitutionally mandated hour of noon for a day of pageantry and bipartisan flourishes that contrasted sharply with the fierceness of the midterm elections that set the new roll of lawmakers.

In the Senate, where Democrats retain control, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada selected retired Republican Sen. Paul Laxalt to accompany him when he took the oath for a new term. In the House, children and grandchildren squirmed in the laps of their elders, less than transfixed at the historic events unfolding around them.

Republicans hold a 242-193 conservatives’ majority in the House and have pledged to challenge President Barack Obama both with legislation and with their power to investigate. The first salvo is expected next week, a bill to repeal the sweeping health care law that Democrats pushed to passage 10 months ago and have vowed to defend.

Reid signaled as much, and more, in a speech marking the beginning of a new two-year Congress. “We have to do even more to help middle-class families, to create jobs, to hasten our energy independence, to improve our children’s education and to fix our broken immigration system,” he said.

Within a few hours of the opening gavel, Democrats unveiled a plan to limit the ability of Republicans to filibuster their legislation. No resolution is expected for weeks.

Sixteen blocks away, Obama seemed content to renew old battles in some areas at the same time he calls for bipartisanship in others. The White House resubmitted numerous appointments left over from 2010 for Senate confirmation, including four nominees for federal judgeships blocked by Republicans last year.

Senate Republicans gained six seats in last fall’s elections, and their leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the voters had made it clear they “want lawmakers to cut Washington, tackle the debt, rein in government and to help create the right conditions for private sector growth.”

The day’s events unfolded as the economy, which was the dominant issue in the elections, showed signs of increased strength as it emerges from the worst recession in eight decades. Even so, unemployment remains at nearly 10 percent, a historically high level, and a problem that politicians of both parties have vowed to tackle.

Additionally, instead of merely opposing Obama’s every proposal, as they did in 2009 and 2010, House Republicans in particular must compromise with him if they are to show results in their drive to cut spending. Yet their eagerness to vote quickly on repealing the health care bill is in line with a no-compromise position articulated by the tea party forces that helped propel many GOP challengers to victory.

For his part, Obama will be forced to compromise with Republicans, much as he did in last month’s lame duck session of Congress when compromise legislation was approved to avert an increase in income taxes, enact a cut in Social Security taxes and extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

“The big changes today are of course happening across the dome,” McConnell said in his remarks, “and I’d like to welcome the many new Republican members of Congress who’ve come to Washington to change the way things are done around here.” With that, he walked across the Capitol to witness Boehner’s moment of triumph.

Given to displays of emotion, Boehner paused to dab at his eyes with a handkerchief as he made his way to the speaker’s rostrum. His was an unlikely ascension, capping two decades in Congress in which the 61-year-old Ohioan held and then lost a leadership position when Republicans were last in a majority. He re-emerged as leader of a dispirited minority in 2006.

Comments

uncleandyt 3 years, 3 months ago

The Speaker is a boozer. His blubbering is a side-effect of heavy drinking. Liquor cannot be blamed for the pile of Day One flip-flops on Republican campaign promises. Are We still communists??

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 3 months ago

I like the tone that we are starting out with in the new House and I like the fact that they are going to read the constitution today.

I think it is easy to forget that these guys are also actors and they are not as bad or as good as they act so let's hope we see a little more cooperation and common sense; something a lot of the people that voted for them don't have.

I think politicians and talk show hosts need to muzzle their mouths and realize how much they negatively effect people and the economy. Their behavior the last 2 years has been very irresponsible.

Look how it has effected some of the people on this blog.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 3 months ago

When a man shows emotion, he's called a leader; when a woman shows emotion, she's called a bitch.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

If the Republicans succeed in what they intend, for the middle and lower classes life will be worse two years from now than it is now. It'll be interesting to see how voters react to that.

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grammaddy 3 years, 3 months ago

Bawlin' Boehner is in the House.I find it funny how people are okay with that. If Nancy had shed a tear,the other side would have ripped her to shreds. I hope he never gets to exercise his 3rd in line status.We don't need a cry-baby in the WH!

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm OK with Boehners emotional side. He loves this country, unlike Pewlosi who was a dumb narcissist worth millions who was by-god going to tell you how the cow ate the cabbage whether you like it or not. Boehner is a good man, he just needs to stand up to the left-wing of the Democrat party's tyranny.

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