Old GOP divisions loom for new Congress
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WASHINGTON — Decisive midterm election victories in November put Republicans in a powerful position to move their own legislative agenda this year, but as the new Congress convenes Tuesday there are early signs of trouble in the House for the GOP’s expanded majority.House Republicans are facing some of the same divisions that have hobbled their efforts to govern over the past four years, particularly on fiscal matters.House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is again the central figure in a now-familiar drama as he faces a revolt from rank-and-file GOP conservatives who want to deprive him of a third term as speaker. While the mutiny seemed unlikely to succeed, it could inject some turmoil into the leadership vote Tuesday and is a reminder of the lingering discord that threatens to blunt Republican efforts to govern.“We’re on probation, quite frankly,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., who told reporters that Republicans must not overplay their post-election hand and become mired in intraparty squabbles. “We’ve got to perform for the next two years. … There is an expectation for us to do a lot of work, and I’m ready to get started.”GOP leaders have said that their top priority is to put the disunity of the past four years behind them and demonstrate to the average American that they can govern without shutting down the government or watching the party rip itself apart. Some of the GOP’s top legislative goals — passing a budget the president will sign, replenishing the highway trust fund and overhauling the federal tax code — could present severe tests for Boehner, who has seen conservative anger derail his plans in the past.