WASHINGTON - Nearly 100 new members were sworn into the House of Representatives on Wednesday, and they predict their first act will be to repeal health care reform passed by the last Congress.
Republicans Bob Gibbs and Bill Johnson of Ohio and David McKinley of West Virginia were among 87 Republicans and nine Democrats sworn into the 112th Congress.
In the 435-member House, there are 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats - compared to 258 Democrats and 177 Republicans in the 111th Congress.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, swears in Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, accompanied by his family, Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington.
"There will be enough votes in the House," McKinley said of efforts to repeal President Barack Obama's controversial health care law.
"Without a doubt that will take place," McKinley said. "But we won't just repeal. We will repeal and replace."
McKinley acknowledged there is a need to ensure Americans have access to affordable health care, but he said tort reform to bring down medical costs must occur first.
"We will likely see some strong movement toward repeal," Johnson agreed. "We will seek to find private sector solutions to lower costs and to make health care more accessible to the public."
The GOP-led House also will look to cut federal spending and will start with its own budget. Reductions in the House will start with slashing the office budget of each member, and a collective $35 million is expected to be saved.
Johnson hasn't heard how much his budget will be cut, but he has heard the office budget for each member will be reduced by 5 percent.
"There are no programs that aren't on the table as far as I'm concerned," Johnson said. "Those not working ... we should look more closely at those. But we have to start cutting the budget if we are going to address the future for our children and grandchildren."
Johnson said 14 family members came to Washington to attend his swearing-in Wednesday, as did a number of cousins and supporters from his district. He noted that growing up, he would never have expected to one day serve in the U.S. House.
"Who would have known from a barefoot farm boy I would go on to serve in Congress?" he said. "My life is blessed."
Johnson, originally from North Carolina, is retired from the U.S. Air Force and a resident of Poland, Ohio.
"After 27 years in the Air Force, I affectionately tell people I have earned the right to live where I want to," he said. "And we want to live in East Ohio."
It is Johnson's first time serving in elected office.
McKinley previously served in the West Virginia House of Delegates. In more recent years, he has focused on running his engineering firm in Wheeling.
Coming to Congress "is out of my comfort zone," he said. "But some of us in business needed to get involved. There are many issues affecting us long-term."
McKinley cautioned that Republicans should heed voter sentiment on Nov. 2 that forced the Democrats out of the majority.
"There could be a sequel in 2012 (with Republicans) if we don't get spending under control," he said.
Both Johnson and McKinley said Wednesday was a busy day for them. Attempts to reach Gibbs, a former state senator from Lakeville, Ohio, were unsuccessful Wednesday.
"I am proud to be a part of this historic new Congress as we begin to address the needs of the people," Gibbs said in a press release. "For me, the 112th Congress is about putting people back to work. In order to do that, we need to stop the reckless spending habits of Washington and allow the private sector to continue creating jobs and invest in our workforce."
Also sworn into the U.S. House Wednesday was Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who began her sixth term in the chamber.
"This is the first day of what will prove to be a very busy, exciting and productive Congress," she said in a release. "The energy on the House floor today was palpable, and we are all eager to get to work. Every member was given a mandate by the American people last November to make Congress and the government more transparent, more accountable and less costly. Fittingly, the rules package passed today contains many of the promises we made in the Pledge to America last fall, including making sure bills are available online three days before a vote."
The House voted 240-191 Wednesday - with all Republicans in favor, all Democrats in opposition - to approve the new rules pertaining to spending.