Election ends in power shift

WASHINGTON – House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner pledged Wednesday that Republicans will use their new majority to seek a “smaller, less costly, and more accountable government,” and said he hoped President Barack Obama would join them.”We hope he is willing to work with us on these priorities. But as I have said, our new majority will be the voice of the American people as they expressed it so clearly yesterday,” Boehner said.

The 60-year-old Ohio Republican spoke on the morning after his party swept to power in the House. Republicans also cut deeply into the Democrats’ Senate majority, presenting Obama with a new political reality after two years of working with big Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.

The takeover of the House followed a four-year turn in the minority for Republicans, who have stressed publicly that they view their triumph as a second chance given by voters who stripped them of power in 2006.

The new Congress convenes in January, and Boehner said Republicans would use the interim to decide precisely how to proceed with an agenda aimed at helping an economy still struggling to emerge fully from the worst recession since the 1930s.

Lawmakers return to the Capitol in two weeks for a post-election session to wrap up loose ends from the past two years, and a vote is expected on extension of tax cuts passed during the Bush administration that are due to expire on Jan 1.

Obama and fellow Democrats have said they want to extend cuts for individuals at incomes under $250,000, while Republicans want cuts kept in place for all income levels.