HOUSE GOP FIXES IT’S ‘OATH PROBLEM’…. The new House Republican majority ran into some trouble yesterday when it realized two of its members had been conducting official business without having been sworn into office. Today, the chamber cleaned up the mess, but some lingering questions remain.
To briefly recap, Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) missed the official swearing in ceremony, but claim that they raised their hand and took the oath while watching the proceedings on television from the Capitol Visitors Center. Legally, that doesn’t count.
Nevertheless, Sessions and Fitzpatrick voted on measures and participated in committee business, despite not being legally eligible to do so. Both corrected the problem by taking the oath — in person, this time — yesterday, but it wasn’t clear how the chamber would deal with the problem of the votes Sessions and Fitzpatrick had already improperly cast.
This morning, the House took a mulligan.
The House has just approved H.Res. 26, which is meant to fix the problems created when two Republican members were not properly sworn in on Jan. 5.
The resolution was approved over Democratic objections in a 257-159 vote. More than two dozen Democrats voted for it. […]
The measure invalidates the votes taken by the two members before they were sworn in. But otherwise, it would essentially treat Sessions and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) as if they were sworn in on Jan. 5 with other members.
In effect, the majority approved a measure to simply rewrite the history of the last 48 hours — as far as the official record is now concerned, the votes that Sessions and Fitzpatrick made before taking the oath were simply never cast.
Democrats sought a longer debate on the matter, but House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) insisted that the discussion be limited to just four minutes. (That 159 House Dems opposed the fix suggests the new minority in the chamber is in a feisty mood.)
There is, however, one lingering question: what were Sessions and Fitzpatrick doing in the Capitol Visitors Center when they were supposed to be taking their oath of office? Fitzpatrick insists the gathering wasn’t a fundraiser, but there’s some evidence to the contrary.
It’s quite a first week the new House majority has put together, isn’t it?