The sun has set for the final time on the 112th Congress, one of the most unproductive and controversial ever. The 113th Congress takes over today, and Washington already is gearing up for the next big crisis: A partisan fight over the federal debt ceiling and pending across-the-board spending cuts that will again put President Obama against his congressional Republican foes.
As the new Congress goes through some pomp and circumstance on its first day, here’s a reminder of the key numbers.
The House will have 234 Republicans and 201 Democrats. That’s eight more Democrats and eight fewer GOP members than the 112th Congress. That means Democrats need to pick off 17 Republicans to vote down bills that some members of House Speaker John Boehner’s caucus. And several recent fiscal cliff votes shows there are GOP members to be had.
In the Senate, the Democrats unexpectedly picked up two seats in November. The upper chamber will have 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans. Experts are predicted little change in how the Senate does business because of that change, but it means the majority will need to attract two fewer GOP senators to get to the magic 61-vote mark needed to kill a filibuster threat.