One of outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi's closest allies said Thursday the next session of Congress will likely be one of the "most rancorous" periods in U.S. history.

Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said that with Republicans taking control of the House and returning with bolstered numbers in the Senate, partisan bickering will heat up in the Capitol.

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In an interview with California's KPCC public radio, Waxman called the past two years of Congress "very productive," but added, "Now we are going into what I think is going to be one of the most rancorous periods of time in our country's history."

Leaders on both sides of the aisle have promised to try to forge bipartisan compromise to bolster the struggling economy, but they have also admitted issues such as taxes, spending and a repeal of the healthcare law could drive a wedge between them.

The politics of the 2012 presidential race is also expected to make it more difficult for Republicans and Democrats to come together.

Waxman blamed the rancor on a wave of Tea Party-backed Republicans who helped sweep the GOP into power.

"The Republicans have a lot of very extreme people who are going to pull their leaders even further to the right," he said.