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Pelosi Elected Speaker of 111th Congress

WASHINGTON -- Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday was elected House speaker again as lawmakers in the House and Senate convened for the start of the 111th Congress.

The final vote was 255 to 174 with 429 members voting along strict party lines. The Congress currently has 434 members, who were then sworn in by Pelosi after her victory. One House seat is vacant. Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel resigned to become President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff.

The atmosphere in the House was family-friendly as children, grandchildren and other relatives joined lawmakers in the large chamber, lit for television. Many of the kids yelled out their votes on behalf of their family representative.

Sean and Tommy Rooney, ages 5 and 7, wore T-shirts with their last name on the back, not unlike the Pittsburgh Steelers football team that is owned by their father's family. Rep. Thomas Rooney is a freshman Republican from Florida. 

House Minority Leader John Boehner, who was the Republican nominee for the slot, was among those who did not vote. Boehner and Pelosi did call President Bush to announce the new Congress and to invite the president to Capitol Hill for a breakfast or lunch in the coming days. 

A potential effort to demonstrate dissent by Republicans and Democrats by voting for Rep. John Dingell did not take place. FOX News learned that one freshman Democratic representative who planned to vote "present" instead of for Pelosi relented at the last minute after threats the member would lose a key committee assignment.

Minutes after taking the gavel, a symbol of her authority, Pelosi stressed the need for quick legislation to bolster the economy.

"We need action and we need action now," she said.

Over on the Senate side, Vice President Dick Cheney swore in 34 of the 35 senators who were elected on Nov. 4. One seat -- from Minnesota -- remains undecided because Norm Coleman is challenging the state Canvassing Board's certification of Democrat Al Franken as the winner. 

One other spot -- the Illinois seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama -- also remains vacant. The Senate on Tuesday refused to seat Gov. Rod Blagojevich's designated replacement, former state Attorney General Roland Burris, to the position.

In all, seven new senators and 54 House members started their new lives on Capitol Hill. They are joined by two freshmen among six non-voting delegates.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden was sworn in as the Delaware senator. He will be resigning shortly but was sworn in so that his replacement can be appointed by Gov. Ruth Ann Minner. Biden's former chief of staff, Ted Kaufman, is taking over the position.

Also returning to serve his 8th term is Sen. Ted Kennedy, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year.

Apart from Biden, at least three lawmakers will not be there for long. Rep. Hilda Solis, a Democrat, was nominated as secretary of labor in the Obama administration; Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is departing Congress to become secretary of state and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar was tapped to become interior secretary.

Besides the economy, lawmakers will face considerable early work in reviewing Obama's Cabinet nominees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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