After ringing in the New Year with its version of trench warfare over the fiscal cliff, the U.S. Congress will spend much of today welcoming dozens of new members to a bitterly divided government and even bigger tussles in the weeks ahead.
The new 113th U.S. Congress will immediately face the task of what to do with the nation's $16.4 trillion borrowing limit and pending spending cuts for military and domestic programs—totaling $109 billion—unless a new deal can be crafted in the next two months.
Idaho GOP Congressmen Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson easily won re-election in November, so they'll be sworn in today in the nation's capital. They'll become part of the Republican House Majority of 235 representatives vs. 199 Democrats.
Eighty-two freshmen join the U.S. House today, 47 Democrats and 35 Republicans. Women will total 81 in the 435-member House.
Over in the U.S. Senate, Democrats still hold their majority with 55 senators vs. the Republicans' 45.
The 12 newly elected senators include Tim Scott, the first black Republican senator in decades. The Senate now has three Hispanics—New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, Florida Republican Marco Rubio and Texas Republican Ted Cruz.
There will be 20 women in the U.S. Senate, the highest number yet.