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Republican-led U.S. Congress begins new session

Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - 01:35

New senators and members of the House of Representatives begin swearing in for the 115th Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The Republican-led U.S. Congress begins a new session on Tuesday (January 30) in which it will start laying plans for enacting President-elect Donald Trump's agenda of cutting taxes, repealing Obamacare and rolling back financial and environmental regulations. New senators and members of the House of Representatives in the 115th Congress were sworn in on Tuesday. With Trump set to be sworn in as president on Jan. 20, Republican lawmakers hope to get a quick start on priorities that were blocked during Democratic President Barack Obama's eight years in the White House. But the message was overshadowed by a surprise move by Republicans in the House of Representatives in a closed-door meeting late on Monday to weaken the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which is in charge of investigating ethics breaches by lawmakers. That drew criticism from Trump. "With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority," he said on Twitter on Tuesday. "Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance!" The ethics office was created in 2008 following several corruption scandals but some lawmakers have charged in recent years that it has been too quick to investigate complaints lodged by outside partisan groups. Lawmakers will have greater control of the watchdog once the measure, part of a broader rules package, passes when the House convenes on Tuesday.

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Republican-led U.S. Congress begins new session

Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - 01:35