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Congress: Wrapping up Boehner's big day

"The 112th Congress opened a new era of divided government Wednesday, and newly empowered Republicans immediately moved to advance their agenda of attacking government spending," the Wall Street Journal writes. "Mr. Boehner, in his maiden speech as speaker, acknowledged his party has been thrust into the majority in an era of great political volatility, capping two decades in which control of the House has changed parties three times. 'The American people have humbled us,' Mr. Boehner said. 'They have refreshed our memories as to just how temporary the privilege to serve is. They have reminded us that everything is on loan from them. That includes this gavel.'"

The New York Times on yesterday's congressional activity: "To reverse what they say is a Congressional process tilted toward spending increases, the new Republican majority in the House — over strong Democratic objections — approved rules that would require spending increases to be directly offset with cuts elsewhere. But the rules would allow future tax cuts to be enacted without offsetting spending reductions, and would permit repeal of the health care legislation, which was estimated to save the government more than $140 billion over 10 years, without any requirement that those revenue losses be made up elsewhere."

"Democrats criticized the changes, saying Republicans were returning to the policies that had put the government on a path to deep deficits in the first place and would open the door to “Enron-style accounting” that covered up the costs of tax cuts and their other legislative efforts."

Politico on the GOP's broken promises: "After calling for bills to go through a regular committee process, the bill that would repeal the health care law will not go through a single committee. Despite promising a more open amendment process for bills, amendments for the health care repeal will be all but shut down. After calling for a strict committee attendance list to be posted online, Republicans backpedaled and ditched that from the rules. They promised constitutional citations for every bill but have yet to add that language to early bills."

The Boston Globe’s front-page goes with a centerpiece photo of Boehner’s head buried in his handkerchief before Pelosi handed over the gavel.

In a nod to the Tea Party, there will be a full reading of the seven articles and 27 amendments of the U.S. Constitution beginning around 10:30 am ET today. And AP reports, “Also on Thursday, the House is to take up its first spending cut measure, a proposed 5 percent trim in the budgets of leadership, rank-and-file member and committee offices. Republicans have estimated that this will save $35 million over the next nine months.”

The New York Times notes, “Congressional historians say they believe this has been done only twice before.”

The Washington Post has more: “The House historian's office found no record of the Constitution ever having been read aloud on the chamber's floor, although twice lawmakers have submitted the text into the Congressional Record. Roswell Flower (D-N.Y.) did so in 1882 and Thomas Reilly (D-Conn.) in 1915, according to House Historian Matthew Wasniewski.”