The AP’s Espo: “Moments after grasping an oversized gavel that symbolizes his authority, Boehner implored the assembly of newcomers and veterans in the 113th Congress to tackle the nation’s heavy burden of debt at long last. ‘We have to be willing — truly willing — to make this right.’ Also on the two-year agenda is the first significant effort at an overhaul of the tax code in more than a quarter century. Republicans and Democrats alike say they want to chop at a thicket of existing tax breaks and use the resulting revenue to reduce rates.”
But first, Sandy funding is on the docket today. “A $9.7 billion measure to pay flood insurance claims is set for a vote in Congress, boosting prospects for relief for the many home and business owners flooded out by Superstorm Sandy,” AP writes, adding, “The Federal Emergency Management Agency warns that the National Flood Insurance Program will run out of money next week if Congress doesn’t provide additional borrowing authority to pay out claims.” More: “About 140,000 Sandy-related flood insurance claims have been filed, FEMA officials said, and most have yet to be closed out. Many flood victims have only received partial payments on their claims.”
What that means in real life: “Philip Rock has received $8,000 in flood insurance payments so far but said he is awaiting a statement on the final amount, which he expects to be much more. A house he owns in Toms River, N.J., had a $220,000 flood insurance policy. The house, which he rents out, was destroyed, and he needs to know the final payout before he can demolish it. The house is a ‘total loss,’ Rock said. ‘We don’t want to demolish the house and have them say, ‘We have to go around and take more pictures.'”
Bloomberg called the defections from Boehner “symbolic protests.”
The Hill sees a “failed coup.” Walter Jones pointed the finger at Justin Amash as the coup leader. They both voted against Boehner and said they thought they had as many as 20 votes.
Roll Call sees it as “party drama.”
Politico points at Tim Huelskamp as another organizer.
“Supporters of tighter federal gun restrictions moved quickly Thursday, the first day of the new Congress, introducing bills in the wake of last month's deadly mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that will set up a long and contentious fight over the shape of the nation's gun laws,” USA Today notes, adding, “The bill would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines.”
Check out this quote from freshman Ted Yoho, quoted by National Journal (h/t Political Wire): "Intimidating is going up to a growling Rottweiler and having to squeeze his anal glands, or going up to a stallion that weighs 1,200 pounds and telling him you're going to take his testicles off. That's intimidating. I think I can handle Congress."
It was vintage Joe being Joe in the swearing in of members yesterday. The Hill has video.