4 Jan 2013

US Congress re-elects House speaker

4:03 pm on 4 January 2013

The US Congress has begun its new term, with House Speaker John Boehner re-elected amid the prospect of more budget battles with the White House.

The 113th Congress began two days after the 112th passed an 11th-hour law to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff".

The BBC reports that 13 new senators and 82 new representatives were sworn-in at noon.

Democrats made slight gains in the November elections, increasing their majority in the Senate, while Republicans still control the House.

In an address, Mr Boehner alluded to forthcoming discussions over government spending.

"The American dream is in peril so long as its namesake is weighed down by this anchor of debt.

"Break its hold, and we begin to set our economy free. Jobs will come home. Confidence will come back," the Ohio congressman said.

Mr Boehner overcame dissatisfaction among fellow Republicans over his handling of this week's fiscal cliff vote, as well as a decision to delay a vote on an aid package for victims of December's "superstorm" Sandy.

The 220 to 192 vote saw several Republicans vote against him or abstain, but not enough to derail his re-election bid. No Republican stood against him, but Democrats voted for their party leader, Nancy Pelosi.