(File photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON -- Congress ushers in new and old Thursday, with 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.
Big crowd, but not a record, seen for inauguration
Don't expect President Barack Obama's second inauguration to match the record turnout from 2009. But District of Columbia officials still are planning for a massive crowd for a second chance to see a president's swearing in.
Officials have pieced together early data and they're projecting that 600,000 to 800,000 people will crowd onto the National Mall on Jan. 21. That's based on past attendance and data such as hotel and restaurant reservations and chartered bus permits.
The 2009 inauguration drew 1.8 million people.
Chris Geldart heads the city's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency and is co-chairman of the district's presidential inaugural committee. He's hearing that some people who were overwhelmed by the 2009 crowds see 2013 as a second chance to witness history.