After weeks of fighting over the "fiscal cliff" deal, the 113th U.S. Congress convened in Washington on Thursday - with the
re-election of Republican John Boehner as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
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After weeks of fighting over the "fiscal cliff" deal, the 113th U.S. Congress convened in Washington on Thursday - with the re-election of Republican John Boehner as Speaker of the House of Representatives. SOUNDBITE (English) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JOHN BOEHNER, REPUBLICAN OF OHIO: "As Speaker, I pledge to listen and to do all I can to help all of you carry out your oath of office that we are all about to take because we all know in our hearts it's wrong to pass on this debt onto our kids and our grandkids. Now we have to be willing, truly willing, to make this problem right." Boehner - had faced criticism from some Republicans over his handling of the fiscal cliff fight and aid to Superstorm Sandy victims - but only a handful voted against him. His political rival - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid - acknowledged shortcomings in the last Congress. SOUNDBITE (English) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID: "The 112th Congress, Madame President, unfortunately showed that we had some political differences and these differences prevented us from accomplishing as much as we had hoped from the Congress that was just completed." The new session of the House and Senate saw the swearing in of a record number of women - and the return of Senator Mark Kirk who had suffered a stroke last year. As lawmakers get back to work - they face looming battles. U.S. President Barack Obama and the Congress have until March 1st to reach an agreement on about $85 billion in spending cuts.