Republicans take charge of US House
Washington: The new Republican majority in
the House of Representatives takes power on Wednesday and vows to
open a legislative battle with President Barack Obama over the
size of government and how much it spends.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, a liberal from San
Francisco, turns over her speaker's gavel to Rep John Boehner,
a Midwestern conservative who plans to quickly stage a vote to
repeal Obama's health care overhaul.
He and new Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the health
care repeal vote fulfils promises the party made in the
November election that swept Republicans back in control of
the Lower House.
The vote next week was expected to pass in the House
but die in the Senate, where Democrats still hold the
majority. That outcome could serve as a template for
divided-government legislative gridlock in the final two years
of Obama's term.
Boehner, in remarks prepared for delivery when he
takes office today, said Republicans' goal is to give the
government back to the people and provide honesty and
He said lawmakers have been reminded just how
temporary the privilege to serve is, a reference to Democrats'
defeat in November, and said Congress "can no longer fall
Boehner says "a great deal of scar tissue" has built
up on both sides of the aisle and cannot be ignored, but both
Republicans and Democrats believe they are working for the
For now, both parties will build their election-year
cases in the congressional arena.
They began today when Boehner joined Pelosi and others
at a bipartisan prayer service at St Peter's Roman Catholic
Church near the Capitol.
With the country still mired in a wobbly economic
recovery and battered by near 10 per cent unemployment, Obama
said he's counting on Republicans' hot ideological positions
to cool as the congressional session moves forward.
"I'm pretty confident that they're going to recognise
that our job is to govern and make sure that we are delivering
jobs for the American people and that we are creating a
competitive economy for the 21st century," Obama had said
yesterday on his return flight from a two-week family holiday