Power Centers

New 112th Congress, Divided Government Start

A federal government controlled by a single party officially ends today with Republicans formally taking charge of the House.

While Democrats remain in control of the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol and on the other end of Pennsylvania Ave. at the White House, Republicans will have the kind of legislative power they haven't had since 2006.

Republicans hope that gaining control of the House is just the start of an eventually successful effort to recapture the Senate and the White House.

By contrast, Democrats, for their part, hope the loss of the House and their relegation to minority status there is a brief setback.

If nothing else, Wednesday is yet one more pendulum swing in party control in our two-party system dating back to the start of the American Republic when Federalists and Democratic-Republicans had ugly fights for power.

The House is scheduled to come into session at noon with a prayer and before adjourning Rep. John Boehner will be elected to be speaker which, among other things, will constitutionally place him second in line of presidential succession after the vice president.

More routinely, he will select what is on the House's agenda for debates and votes.

Here's the House schedule for opening day.

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