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GOP takes over US House, softens cuts

Republicans took power in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday with promises of a leaner, more accountable government — but softened a pledge of deep and immediate spending cuts that helped them win November’s election.

Republicans took power in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday with promises of a leaner, more accountable government — but softened a pledge of deep and immediate spending cuts that helped them win November’s election.

The Republican take­over sets up potentially fierce battles in the coming months with President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats on spending, debt and health care.

Republican John Boehner, from a working-class Ohio family of 12 children, was elected House speaker in the new Congress and warned of “hard work and tough decisions” on the economy as the United States recovers slowly from its worst recession since the 1930s.

“No longer can we fall short. 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 said after taking over from Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Despite the tough rhetoric, Republicans signaled they could work with Obama to avert a debt crisis in the coming months.

Republican control of the House and a larger minority in the Senate ushers in a new era of divided government after election gains spurred in part by high unemployment and the large $1.3 trillion deficit.

But Obama’s Democrats still control the Senate and can block the Republican agenda, which includes a plan to repeal the president’s landmark health care reform and a roll back a crackdown on Wall Street.

The incoming House budget chief, Republican Paul Ryan, told NBC’s “Today” program a Republican campaign promise to cut $100 billion in spending this year had been “compromised” by the momentum of spending already under way.

 
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