U.S. Rep. Bob Dold gavels closed the 144th Congress prior to the opening session of the 115th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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The Republican-led U.S. Congress began its first session of the Donald Trump era in turmoil on Tuesday as the House of Representatives backed away from a decision to defang an ethics watchdog after a public outcry, including a dressing-down from the president-elect.Even before Trump's tweet, many House Republicans, including top leaders, opposed the measure and worried about its ramifications. Trump's tweet prompted an emergency meeting and a quick change of course by Republicans.Last month Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said in an interview with Kentucky Educational Television that before the election, he assumed Trump did not have a chance of defeating Hillary Clinton and that Democrats would retake control of the Senate, ending any talk of repealing Obamacare.Trump also is expected to try to use his executive powers toward that end.The first meeting of the 115th Congress will be full of ceremony, as the 435 members of the House of Representatives and a third of the 100-member Senate are sworn in.The Senate also is expected to receive a Supreme Court nomination from Trump early in his term to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last February.
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