New Congress, same problems

11:58 AM, Jan 4, 2013   |    comments
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(NBC NEWS) -- In Washington there is a new Congress but the same old problems, and another fiscal cliff is just weeks away.

The House will meet again this morning while the Senate is back briefly this afternoon. but the big votes won't happen for a few more weeks.

With the new Congress now officially at work - here's what's happening today:

A vote later this morning on nine billion in aid for Superstorm Sandy victims. This is the first part of a larger package lawmakers will take up later this month.

And Vice President Biden presides as lawmakers officially count electoral votes from last fall's election.

But there's a big debate ahead over defense and other budget cuts. "We must ensure that innovation rests at the heart of our success," declared House Minority Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

"Our government has built up too much debt. Our economy is not producing enough jobs. These are not separate problems," said House Speaker John Boehner, (R) Ohio.

John Boehner is back as speaker today, presiding over a slightly smaller Republican majority.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Republicans vow not to raise the debt ceiling again unless congress cuts spending. "The first step in this debate is for Democrats to get over their fanatical commitment to guarding every dime the government ever got its hands on. This has got to stop," said Senate Minority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

"Any future budget agreements must balance the need for thoughtful spending reductions with revenue from the wealthiest among us," said Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).

Those budget cuts were pushed off till February, around the time America's expected to hit its borrowing limit again.

Another fiscal cliff - round two begins today.

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