Jobs a priority for new Congress

Republican and Democratic leaders will launch the new Congress pledging to make job creation their No. 1 priority.

After that, bipartisanship may be tricky.

“We gather here today at a time of great challenges. Nearly one in ten of our neighbors are looking for work,” incoming House Speaker John Boehner will tell the new Congress. “Health care costs are still rising for families and small businesses. Our spending has caught up with us, and our debt will soon eclipse the size of our entire economy.”

“Hard work and tough decisions will be required of the 112th Congress. No longer can we fall short,” the Ohio Republican says in an excerpt from his first speech as speaker. “No longer can we kick the can down the road. The people voted to end business as usual, and today we begin carrying out their instructions.”

Boehner replaces Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California, who will serve as House Minority Leader.

Pelosi will say she stood for families and their health, education and welfare during her tenure as speaker.

“Our most important job is to fight for American jobs. And so Democrats will judge what comes before Congress by whether it creates jobs, strengthens our middle class, and reduces the deficit — not burdening future generations with debt,” she says in excerpts of her remarks. “When the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and the new Republican majority, come forward with solutions that address these American challenges, you will find in us a willing partner.”

Boehner has vowed to make the “people’s House” more transparent, and the first order of business will be passing a new set of rules for the House. In a nod to many new GOP freshmen with ties to the Tea Party, the Constitution will be read aloud on the House floor on the second day of the new session, and all new bills must meet a test that they are constitutional.

House Republicans plan to follow through on their campaign pledge to repeal the new health care law, and they plan a vote on a bill early in the new session. But with a Democratic Senate, this effort is unlikely to succeed.



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