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Live Blog: The 112th Congress is Now in Session

John Boehner
House Speaker-designate John Boehner of Ohio, left, walks to the floor of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

On November 2, 2010, as part of a widespread Republican electoral wave that swept both chambers of Congress and many state legislatures, Republicans reclaimed a majority in  the House of Representatives.

Today, as the 112th Congress convenes for the first time, the GOP will officially assume control. Stay tuned as we continue to follow all of the congressional proceedings right here. (You can also watch a live stream of the session here.)

And if you need a refresher of the events surrounding last November's midterms, check out our full election results right here.

5:35PM ET: The House passed the rules package 240-191.

4:24PM ET: A heated debate over the Republican rules package is drawing to an end on the House floor, where Democrats and Republicans have gone back-and-forth on whether the proposed rules, which largely affect budgetary and procedural matters, will serve as the savior or detriment to economic recovery.

Democrat Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, argued that provisions in the rules package would "blow a hole in the deficit and expand the debt." He also cited a clause in the package that he said "opens the door to politically-motivated, Enron-style accounting."

A major point of contention is the elimination of "pay-as-you-go" rules that were signed into law last year in lieu of what they call a "cut-go" policy. The "cut-go" policy requires that legislators pay for new spending by cutting funding elsewhere in the budget. It does not require the same offsets for tax cuts, however, regardless of whether or not such cuts would increase the federal deficit by trillions of dollars. 

Van Hollen lambasted what he described as a "loophole" and said the American people had not bargained for such provisions.

Incoming House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy argued, however, that Republicans had not only "reached out to both sides" in their formulation of the rules, but also "beyond the House" -- to the American people. "That's what the people asked for and that's what we were sent here to do," McCarthy said.

Rep. Paul Ryan, the newly-minted chair of the House Budget Committee, defended the plan as a way to fend off what he described as an imminent debt crisis. "The debt crisis is coming, mark my words," he said. "It's a good day because we're bringing some fiscal sanity back to the institution."

2:33PM ET:  Following a brief speech before the House of Representatives, Republican Congressman John Boehner has been sworn in as the Speaker of the House. Upon taking the oath of office, Boehner promptly proceeded to swear in the remaining House Representatives.

In his remarks, Boehner noted that Democrats and Republicans had much ground to make up on the front of bipartisan "hard work and tough decisions" awaited the 112th Congress. "No longer can we fall short," Boehner said. "No longer can we kick the can down the road. The people voted to end business as usual, and today we begin carrying out their instructions."

Boehner urged compromise between the two parties despite the fact that "a great deal of scar tissue [has] been built up" between Republicans and Democrats.

2:05PM ET: After delivering final remarks as Speaker to the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has passed the gavel symbolizing House Leadership over to an emotional John Boehner.

Pelosi, in her remarks, boasted of recent Democratic accomplishments like health care reform and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and noted that she was proud to have been given "the historic honor of serving as the first woman Speaker of the House." She also urged Congress to strive to overcome any political differences in order to serve effectively as "trustees of the American people" and "custodians of the American heritage."

1:48PM ET: Flanked by a bipartisan caravan of leading Congressmen, as well as members from the Ohio delegation, Speaker-elect John Boehner is escorted amid applause to the floor of the House of Representatives for his official swearing-in. Observers noted that Boehner, who has a history of showing emotion, appeared to be shed tears as he made his way to the rostrum.

1:27PM ET: Ohio Republican John Boehner has been officially elected Speaker of the House by the 112th Congress. He received 241 votes. Democrat Nancy Pelosi garnered 173 votes, but 19 Democrats voted against her. Notably, the Blue Dog Democrat Heath Shuler, of North Carolina, garnered 11 votes in a symbolic challenge against Nancy Pelosi for the Democratic leadership position.

An image from the House floor as the 112th Congress convenes for the first time on Jan. 5, 2010. CBS

1:15PM ET: So far, several representatives have opted to vote for neither Pelosi nor Boehner for the Speaker of the House. Here's a running list as it happens:

  • Heath Shuler votes for himself.

  • Oregon Democrat Kurt Schrader votes for Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer.
  • Democrat Mike Ross, of Arkansas, goes Shuler.

  • Democrat Mike Michaud of Maine votes Shuler.

  • Democrat Jim Matheson of Utah votes for Shuler.

  • Democrat Mike McIntyre of North Carolina votes for Shuler.
  • Illinois Democrat  Dan Lipinski votes for Ohio Democrat Marcy Kaptur.

  • North Carolina's Lary Kissell votes for Shuler.

  • Wisconsin Democrat Ron Kind gives Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper his first vote for Speaker.
  • Pennsylvania's Tim Holden votes for Shuler.

  • Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, of Arizona, votes for Georgia Democrat John Lewis.

  • Democrat Joe Donnelly of Indiana votes for Shuler.

  • Democrat Jim Cooper, of Tennessee, votes Shuler.
  • California Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza votes for another California Democrat, Jim Costa, and Costa, in turn, votes for Cardoza.

  • Rep. Dan Boren, an Oklahoma Democrat, votes for Shuler.

  • Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., a Georgia Democrat, votes "present."

  • Rep. John Barrow, a Georgia Democrat, votes for Rep. John Lewis, also from Georgia.

  • Rep. Jason Altmire, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, votes for Heath Shuler, the Blue Dog Democrat from North Carolina.

12:37PM ET: The House has now placed John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi in nomination to be Speaker of the House. Now, in a public roll call, House representatives proceed to register their votes for the two House leaders. Given the Republican majority in the chamber, the vote is largely nominal, as Democrats lack sufficient votes to elect Pelosi.

12:23PM ET:  The office of incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner, who is expected on the floor shortly, released a photo this morning of the Speaker-designate posing with 10 of his 11 siblings prior to his swearing-in. 

Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner, with 10 of his 11 siblings. (From left to right: Front Row: Lynda Meinke, Bob Boehner, John Boehner, Sue Kneuven, Nancy Roell. Back Row: Rick Boehner, Steve Boehner, Andrew "Drew"Boehner, Michael Boehner, Jerry Boehner, Pete Boehner.) SpeakerBoehner

Several busloads of family, friends and constituents from Beohner's Ohio Congressional district traveled to Washington to witness his swearing in as Speaker.

12:11PM ET: The 112th Congress is now in session. The House started off with a prayer, and House Representatives are now taking roll. Meanwhile, in the Senate, Biden will swear in Senators.

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