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New Congress to be sworn in Sunday

Published: Jan. 2, 2021 at 9:00 AM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) – When members of the House of Representatives take their oath, they will be swearing in to a Congress that has some changes.

Democrats are still in charge, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is still at the top. But Republicans flipped more than ten seats – shrinking the Democrats’ majority.

We spoke with leaders in both parties about their goals for the year ahead.

“The biggest focus has to be on getting our economy back on track and safely reopening -- whether it’s safely reopening schools, small businesses, who are dying on the vine.” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the Republican Whip. “We need -- number-one -- give them relief to get through the shut-ins. There’s a vaccine out there. We have to go end these shut-ins that are destroying small businesses.”

“We are looking forward to working closely with the new president, Joe Biden, and his administration, to crush the virus, provide direct relief to everyday Americans who continue to struggle, and make sure we revive our economy and build back better,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

We asked both Scalise and Jeffries if they think the slimmer Democratic majority means there will be room for compromise, or if there will continue to be gridlock. Here is what they told us:

The newly elected and re-elected senators will also be sworn in. But we won’t know the final balance of power in the Senate until after Tuesday’s runoff elections in Georgia. If Republicans win one or both seats, they hold on to control. If the Democrats win, it’s a tie, and the new vice president – Kamala Harris – would be the tie-breaking vote.

Senior Reporter Ted Fioraliso and Multimedia Journalist Natalie Grim contributed to this report.

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