Washington, Jan 05 (Agencies): Taking control of the House at last, Republicans are rushing straight into a political fight with President Barack Obama over health care.

The oath-taking on Wednesday ends two years of Democratic dominance in the capital and ushers in a divided Government in the run-up to the 2012 congressional and presidential elections.

President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans are set to square off over the size of Government and the taxpayer dollars it spends.

"But I'm pretty confident that they're going to recognise that our job is to govern and make sure that we are delivering jobs for the American people," said Obama.

"My hope is that John Boehner (House Speaker) and Mitch McConnell (Senate GOP leader) will realise that there will be plenty of time to campaign for 2012 in the same year."

For now, both parties will build their election-year cases in the congressional arena.
It begins on Wednesday when California Democrat Nancy Pelosi hands the speaker's gavel to Boehner, and the new Congress is sworn into office.

Wednesday's focus is back in the House, where the GOP's new "cut and grow majority" envisions curbs on Government spending and regulations to spur the economy, Cantor said.
The first spending cut vote is set for Thursday. Republicans have pledged to vote at least once a week on bills that cut spending.

The new majority also intends to pass the health care repeal next week without committee hearings or permitting Democrats a chance to seek changes.

Besides, Republicans have decided to ignore estimates from the Congressional Budget Office that the bill as it originally passed would cut spending by $143 billion over the next decade.

"Everyone knows ... this bill has the potential to bankrupt the Federal Government and the States," Cantor said.

Cantor said Democrats would be allowed to seek changes when Republicans draft an alternative health care bill. No timetable has been set.

A group of Democrats led by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico was expected to propose changes on Wednesday that would make it harder for the minority to delay legislation by filibuster.
It's a key question now that Democrats are seven senators short of the 60 required to break such logjams.

"The brazenness of this proposed action is that Democrats are proposing to use the very tactics that in the past almost every Democratic leader has denounced, including President Obama and Vice President Biden,"` Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, said in a speech on Tuesday.
No resolution is expected for weeks.

The filibuster rules were last changed more than a quarter-century ago, when the number of votes needed to end the stalling tactic was reduced to 60. A two-thirds majority had previously been required.

Outgoing Speaker Pelosi, the next minority leader, declined to reflect on her historic four-year tenure as the first woman to preside over the House.