President Barack Obama now faces the heavy lifting of trying to move ahead on the lofty second-term vows and declarations he laid out in his inaugural address.
He presented a muscular retooled agenda that includes addressing climate change, controlling health care costs, advancing gay rights and tax fairness, overhauling the immigration system and curbing gun violence. And it comes amid a series of looming new fiscal fights.
The president will outline specifics in his State of the Union address Feb. 12. The day after his second and final inauguration, Obama on Tuesday attended the National Prayer Service at Washington National Cathedral. He did not speak.
He and first lady Michelle Obama also were to preside over a final inaugural ball in the evening for White House and campaign staffers. It was to feature singer Lady Gaga. Meanwhile, the House is to vote Wednesday on a GOP leadership-proposed measure that could keep the government — temporarily — from running out of borrowing authority.
The government already has hit its $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, and Treasury Department officials say ways to pay all the bills will be used up as early as mid-February. The congressional measure would suspend the debt ceiling until May 17, and it appears to have wide support in both House and Senate.
Meanwhile, leaders of both parties are urging political reconciliation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., denounced the "sharp political divides" of the last Congress and said in a Senate speech that he hoped the new 113th Congress "will be characterized not by our divisions but by our renewed commitment to cooperation and compromise."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, "Republicans are eager to work with the president" on achieving common goals. And House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said it's time to "renew the old appeal to better angels."
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