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Newly elected speaker John Boehner hailed the Republican Party’s return to control of the House Wednesday, vowing a more open legislative process but acknowledging that “a great deal of scar tissue has built up on both sides of the aisle.”

GOP lawmakers, who picked up 64 House seats in the November elections, cheered loudly when Boehner defeated Democrat Nancy Pelosi in the roll call for speaker. The veteran Ohio lawmaker’s rise to the speakership was virtually guaranteed by his party’s midterm triumphs, which ended Pelosi’s four-year reign.

The new Senate also convened Wednesday, with Vice President Joe Biden administering the oath to lawmakers he had campaigned for and against last fall. Senators moved quickly to a debate over filibuster rules, with Democratic and Republican leaders accusing each other of obstructing progress and trying to game the parliamentary system.

But most eyes were on the House, where the new GOP majority has vowed to battle President Barack Obama on health care, spending, taxes and other issues.

Boehner, the perpetually tanned legislator who rose, fell and rose again in Republican leadership contests over the past two decades, told a packed chamber that Congress must tackle tough issues such as cutting spending and reducing the deficit.

“No longer can we kick the can down the road,” he said.

Newly elected speaker John Boehner hailed the Republican Party’s return to control of the House Wednesday, vowing a more open legislative process but acknowledging that “a great deal of scar tissue has built up on both sides of the aisle.”

GOP lawmakers, who picked up 64 House seats in the November elections, cheered loudly when Boehner defeated Democrat Nancy Pelosi in the roll call for speaker. The veteran Ohio lawmaker’s rise to the speakership was virtually guaranteed by his party’s midterm triumphs, which ended Pelosi’s four-year reign.

The new Senate also convened Wednesday, with Vice President Joe Biden administering the oath to lawmakers he had campaigned for and against last fall. Senators moved quickly to a debate over filibuster rules, with Democratic and Republican leaders accusing each other of obstructing progress and trying to game the parliamentary system.

But most eyes were on the House, where the new GOP majority has vowed to battle President Barack Obama on health care, spending, taxes and other issues.

Boehner, the perpetually tanned legislator who rose, fell and rose again in Republican leadership contests over the past two decades, told a packed chamber that Congress must tackle tough issues such as cutting spending and reducing the deficit.

“No longer can we kick the can down the road,” he said. AP

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