House Speaker John A. Boehner narrowly survived his re-election battle on Thursday as the 113th Congress convened at the Capitol amid calls for cooperation on the same issues that left lawmakers gridlocked over the past two years.
In the Senate, the two top leaders have at least for the time being averted a potentially disastrous fight over filibuster rules, and the inspiring return of Sen. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, from a yearlong recovery from a stroke left the upper chamber awash in optimism.
In the House, Republicans and Democrats issued a call to focus on civility, even as they try to tackle big issues.
“If you have come here to see your name in lights or to pass off political victory as accomplishment, you have come to the wrong place. The door is right behind you,” Mr. Boehner said after winning the speaker’s gavel for the second time. “If you have come here humbled by the opportunity to serve, if you have come here to be the determined voice of the people, if you have come here to carry the standard of leadership demanded not just by our constituents but by the times, then you have come to the right place.”
He reconvened the House at noon, just minutes after the 112th Congress officially gaveled to a close, shutting the door on two years that set records for legislative futility.
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