Congress ushers in new and old on Thursday - dozens of eager freshmen determined to change Washington and the harsh reality of another stretch of bitterly divided government.
The 113th Congress will convene at the constitutionally required time of noon for pomp, pageantry and politics as newly elected members of the House and Senate are sworn in and the speaker of the House is chosen. The traditions come against the backdrop of a mean season that closed out an angry election year.
The new Congress still faces the ideological disputes that plagued the dysfunctional 112th Congress, one of the least productive in more than 60 years. Tea partyers within the Republican ranks are insisting on fiscal discipline, while Democrats envision a government with enough resources to help the less fortunate.