How new Congress's first day will unfold

The 114th Congress begins Tuesday with all the pomp and circumstance of the first day in session.

Here is a guide to the day's proceedings in each chamber.


Proceedings will begin at noon with the chaplain's prayer and Pledge of Allegiance.

Afterward, there will be a recorded quorum call to formally establish that a majority is present. Rep. Michael Grimm's (R-N.Y.) resignation Monday means that there will be a total of 434 members instead of a full 435.

After a quorum has been established, members will elect the Speaker for the new Congress starting around 12:40 p.m. The Speaker election is conducted by calling the roll of each member by name, and each member responds with the name of whom they'll support. Candidates for Speaker typically don't vote or simply vote "present." The nature of calling on all 434 individual members by name means the vote could take as much as an hour to complete. That means the roll call likely won't finish until around 2 p.m.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerTrump backers lack Ryan alternative Ryan has little margin for error in Speaker vote Top Lobbyists 2016: Hired Guns MORE (R-Ohio) can afford up to 28 Republican defections, assuming all 434 members vote and no Democrats support him. Conservative firebrand Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) have launched long-shot alternative candidacies for Speaker that aren't expected to result in victory or even a second ballot. But the defections will still add drama to the proceedings, despite Republicans' historic gains in the midterm elections just two months ago.

The winner of the Speaker election — expected to be Boehner — is then sworn in by the dean of the House, the longest-serving member, after making remarks. For the first time in two decades, the dean of the House won't be now-former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the longest-serving member of Congress in history. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) will instead handle the proceedings. 

All House members will then officially take the oath of office led by the Speaker around 2:15-2:30 p.m.

At about 3 p.m. the Speaker will ceremonially swear in members across the hall from the chamber in the Rayburn Room for photo opportunities for members and their families.

Next, the House will vote on the rules package for the new Congress around 4 p.m. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who campaigned to include a rule allowing delegates to have certain voting privileges on the floor, plans to stage a protest vote. However, the package is expected to be approved.

Lastly, the House will consider a bill that would exempt veterans using TRICARE from the healthcare law's mandate requiring employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide insurance.

Final votes are expected around 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.


The Senate will also begin its day at noon with the Senate chaplain's prayer and the Pledge.

Vice President Biden will then swear in new and reelected senators.

Beginning at about 1 p.m., Biden and individual senators will re-enact the ceremonies in the Old Senate Chamber for photo opportunities with their families. Afterward, the Senate will formally establish the presence of a quorum.

The Senate will then elect by resolution a new president pro tempore, the longest-serving senator of the majority party who presides over the chamber in the absence of the vice president. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who has served since 1977, is expected to take over from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

At some point in the proceedings, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellCures bill in jeopardy amid drug pricing push Senate Democratic super PAC sets fundraising record Five takeaways from Florida Senate debate MORE (R-Ky.)will likely make opening remarks. For the first time, McConnell will be running the show on the floor instead of Senate Minority Leader  Harry ReidHarry ReidFive takeaways from New Hampshire Senate debate Democrats pounce on Cruz's Supreme Court comments Senate Democratic super PAC sets fundraising record MORE (D-Nev.), who served as majority leader since 2007. The Republicans won the Senate majority in the midterm elections. Reid would normally be on hand Tuesday but he is "working from home" to recover from an accident last week. Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will fill in his duties.

The schedule for the ceremonial re-enactments is as follows:

1 p.m.: McConnell, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), Durbin, Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.)

1:15 p.m.: Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)

1:30 p.m.: Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho)

1:45 p.m.: Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

2:00 p.m.: Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)

2:15 p.m.: James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), David Perdue (R-Ga.)

2:30 p.m.: Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)

— This story was updated at 10:15 a.m.