By LAURIE KELLMAN
WASHINGTON (AP) — They've got the keys to the offices, new paint inside, and parties to attend. But on Thursday, the work begins when 535 members of the new 116th Congress solemnly swear to govern the divided nation.
Instantly, the new Congress will make history for seating a record number of women and becoming the most racially and ethnically diverse. Republicans will take more seats in the Senate, while Democrats will grab control of the House. Immediately, they'll all be faced with resolving a standoff over money and immigration that shut much of the government and vexed their predecessors.
What to watch as the sun rises on an era of divided government under President Donald Trump:
HOW CAN I WATCH?
C-SPAN and various broadcast networks are expected to stream or televise the events. Both the House and Senate convene at noon EST.
THE ORDER OF THINGS
There will be prayers and pledges of allegiance.
In the 435-member House, a roll call will begin on the election of speaker. Rep. Nancy Pelosi is poised to reprise her role in that post, second in line to the presidency. Once the vote is over, Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to speak, followed by an address by Pelosi.
The longest-serving member of the House and its dean, 24-term Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, will swear in Pelosi. The California Democrat then is expected administer the oath to House members and delegates at the same time.
In the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the oath-taking of the 34 members who stood for election on Nov. 6. Republicans gained two seats in that chamber.
Lawmakers will take this oath: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
She is, some say, feared. And Pelosi is still giving nothing for the U.S. border wall Trump is demanding in exchange for re-opening the government.
Pelosi, 78, seems to have sewn up her return as House speaker, but her comeback depended on her promise to limit her tenure to a maximum of four years. Doing so quelled a rebellion by a stubborn faction of Democrats demanding a new generation of leaders...