Republicans will officially gain control of both chambers of Congress this week as lawmakers take the oath of office for the new term.

Members of Congress will formally take their oaths of office on their respective chamber floors when the 114th Congress convenes at noon on Tuesday.


Vice President Joe Biden will also ceremonially swear in newly elected senators in the Old Senate Chamber, while Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — House postpones Rosenstein meeting | Trump hits Dems over Medicare for all | Hurricane Michael nears landfall Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger Juan Williams: The GOP can't govern MORE (R-Ohio) will do the same for House members in the Rayburn Room across from the House floor.

Speaker election

House members will formally elect the Speaker for the new Congress Tuesday afternoon in what's expected to be less contentious than the election two years ago.

Republicans handily reelected Boehner along with the rest of their leadership team in November. But since a Speaker officially presides over the entire House, he or she must be formally elected in a floor vote on the first day of a new Congress. The vote goes to a second ballot if a candidate doesn't secure a majority of all members on the first round.

Boehner endured a tense Speaker vote in 2013 after 12 Republicans voted against him in an unsuccessful coup attempt. But with a larger majority this time, Boehner can afford up to 28 defections out of 246 Republicans, assuming that no Democrats vote for him.

Rules package

The House will vote Tuesday on a rules package for the 114th Congress crafted by GOP leadership after weeks of negotiations.

One controversial provision expected to be included in the rules package would require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to apply "dynamic" scoring to major bills. The proposed rule would require the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation to include macroeconomic effects of legislation in their analysis if a significant economic impact is expected.

Republicans say that including macroeconomic analyses provides a reading of long-term economic effects. But Democrats have argued that projections from dynamic scoring are highly uncertain.

Scalise controversy

This will be the first week that House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseGOP candidate says he chose bad 'metaphor' with face-stomping comments Democrats must end mob rule The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem victories in `18 will not calm party turbulence MORE (R-La.) faces the Capitol Hill press corps since he acknowledged that he spoke to a white supremacist group as a state legislator in 2002. 

Scalise has since said the speech was "a mistake I regret" while he was trying to build support for a plan to cut spending and tax increases. Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) both issued statements defending Scalise from calls to resign.

Still, Scalise and other GOP leaders will likely face questions about the party's appeal to minorities in its first days with control of both chambers of Congress.

Keystone pipeline

The Senate will take its first step toward a fresh vote on approving the Keystone XL pipeline during a Senate Energy Committee hearing on Wednesday. A committee markup vote on the measure will come Thursday, meaning floor action could be as soon as the second week of January. The House plans to act on a similar bill as soon as this week.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said a vote on approving the pipeline will the first of the new GOP Senate. The Senate voted on a bill sponsored by then-Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in November to help her reelection bid, but it failed to advance by one vote.

Below is a day-by-day breakdown:


Both chambers will convene at noon.  

The House will vote on whether to re-elect Boehner for another term as Speaker. Afterward, the House will consider the rules package for the 114th Congress. New and returning lawmakers will also take their oaths of office on the floor and in ceremonial photo opportunities with the Speaker.

The first order of business in the Senate will be for Vice President Biden to swear in new and reelected senators. Biden and individual senators will later re-enact the ceremonies in the Old Senate Chamber for photo opportunities with their families.

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 assume the position.


The House may consider legislation to exempt veterans using TRICARE plans from the healthcare law's employer mandate requiring businesses with 50 or more workers to provide health insurance. The bill previously passed in the House last year, but the Senate never voted on it.

The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.


The full House schedule for later in the week has not yet been announced. But House GOP leadership plans to bring up bills to approve the Keystone pipeline and establish that a full-time workweek constitutes 40 hours instead of 30 under the healthcare law. 

The Senate Energy Committee will meet at 10 a.m. to vote on legislation to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, paving the way for a floor vote next week.