Two House Republicans miss swearing in but still vote
January 6th, 2011
08:15 PM ET
7 years ago

Two House Republicans miss swearing in but still vote

Washington (CNN) - They voted, and they participated in the Republican-mandated reading of the Constitution on the House floor.

But two Republicans missed their official swearing in on the House floor on Wednesday and weren't officially members of Congress as the chamber began its first full day of official business on Thursday.

The new Republican House majority was a little red-faced to learn that Reps. Pete Sessions of Texas and Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania were attending a reception for Fitzpatrick's constituents in a room on the Capitol campus - and took the oath of office while watching the floor proceedings on television.

Fitzpatrick's local newspaper, the Bucks Country Courier-Times, recounted the unofficial oath of office.

"Wednesday, a sea of about 500 supporters overwhelmed a large room in the Capitol and caught a break when the Bucks County native took the oath of office in front of them rather than on the House floor," the paper wrote. "'That wasn't planned. It just worked out that way,'" said Fitzpatrick, who happened to be introducing Texas Congressman Pete Sessions while glad-handing his supporters in the Capitol Visitor Center that he secured for them when the House swearing in began."

The Constitution says only that members of Congress must be sworn in and only members can vote, but House rules call for the oath of office to be administered on the floor of the chamber.

Both Sessions and Fitzpatrick were administered the oath on Thursday, but not before Sessions' lack of standing caused a stir when the Rules Committee convened to begin its official work on the health care reform repeal bill.

When Rules Committee Chairman Rep. David Dreier realized Sessions hadn't been sworn in, he was forced to recess the committee so Democrats and Republicans could figure out how to move forward.

Sessions is a top House GOP leader, and, as chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2010 midterms, worked to sweep the GOP into the majority. He was elected by his colleagues to retain that role for the 2012 election.

GOP aides said that staffs from the Rules Committee and the speaker's office are talking now about how to correct the official Congressional record.

"Public records and votes will be adjusted accordingly," Sessions spokeswoman Emily Davis said.

Fitzpatrick's spokesman, Darren Smith, said the Pennsylvania Republican signed a written version of the oath of office before the reception. But Smith added, "Today, after speaking with the House Parliamentarian, out of an abundance of caution, Congressman Fitzpatrick was re-administered the oath of office by the speaker. The public record will be adjusted accordingly."

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Tim

    I'm try to think who's floor are we talking about? The ones in New York? or Maybe the ones in Philly???

    January 6, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. So here we are again

    Great our elected officials who we pay to be where they are supposed to be, formality or not, can not even be present. I say resign your post to someone who cares.

    January 6, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  3. Steve

    "When Rules Committee Chairman Rep. David Dreier realized Sessions hadn't been sworn in, he was forced to recess the committee so Democrats and Republicans could figure out how to move forward."

    How hard is this to figure out? If you're not sworn in, you can't vote. Swear them in on the spot, or just make them leave, swear in when the room is clear, and participate as usual tomorrow. I mean, who really needs a recess for that?

    I guess they get paid whether they get anything done or not.

    January 6, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  4. Confused

    I watched the roll call on live streaming. It's water under the bridge now, but how do you miss roll? HOW? It's your first day – and in Sessions' case, your first day BACK! Don't get it.

    January 6, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  5. dhiyama

    Isn't adjusting the public record a bit convenient.....

    January 6, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  6. artraveler

    Rules are only for Democrats. We won and will do as we please. Too bad it didn't slip for a longer period so the SCOTUS would have a chance for Scalia to comment on what the founders would have said.

    January 6, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. Jeff

    Jeeze, they don't even bother to get sworn in. "Rules? You mean there are rules?" I would say if they feel they are too important to attend the swearing in, maybe the voters should give them the opportunity to not be sworn back in in 2012

    January 6, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  8. Silly Republicans

    Didn't take long, did it?

    January 6, 2011 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. Bill Darr

    Why are we, or rather you, reporting on this??

    Don't get me wrong. I think the Republican Party is set on returning us to the dark ages with its adoration of profit without regard to those who enable those profits to be made.

    But to think that a swearing in ceremony will make these vultures accountable to the people that they damn is naive and, in fact, supportive of that Usurper-want-to-be Sarah Palin's claim that the media is, in fact, lame.

    January 6, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  10. True American

    interesting....and the TEA Party birthers whine about believing that President Obama is not a natural born citizen. let's hear what they say about a couple of GOP members who voted without officially being sworn in.

    January 6, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  11. Mark

    Wouldn't it be nice if our government were instead run by people who understood government? (and thought that government was part of the solution, instead of simply the problem)

    January 6, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  12. sickalready

    Typical Republican antics! They cry FOUL when they think they have something on the Democrats, but ALWAYS get caught when they think no one is looking.

    January 6, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  13. Jeff

    How can a person who is serious about representing their constituents miss out on such an important event and then go on to break the rules and illegally vote, really? Already the Republicans are ignoring the rules and rule of law. They are nothing but a bunch of hypocritical elitists who do what they will see, this is only the beginning.

    January 6, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  14. AMERICA 1st

    sounds like a typical politician. everywhere except where theyre suppose to be. thats washington idiots for ya

    January 6, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  15. carlos esquivel

    Hey guys, how's that first day working out for you?

    January 6, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  16. grace

    The idiots should be booted out and a new election held–if they do not have the intelligence to attend their own swearing in they have no business representing their constituents. They certainly will not be a good representative of the people as they have proven very quickly their selfish interests. Get rid of them!!

    January 6, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  17. mlwells

    So, leading members of the GOP failed to abide by the U.S. Constitution while calling for its strict interpretation! Surprise! Just more lip-service! I suppose the GOP should have required its candidates READ the U.S. Constitution BEFORE running for office! In that they were NOT truly "members of the House" at the time of their votes, those votes should be nullified ... but, then, the GOP wouldn't dream of disenfranchising its own – only the taxpayers who pay their salaries!

    January 6, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  18. A CNN Reader

    They get paid to NOT do their job??? Hmmmmm ... What a crock... these guys need to be reprimanded in some way... They are paid to represent, not rub elbows... DO YOU JOB OR GET A NEW ONE!!!!

    January 6, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  19. Yes I. Would

    More typical republican behavior. They always seem to think they are above others and that the laws they make are just for everyone else! No respect and that's why they don't get any back.

    January 6, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  20. Carol A

    Great! They were too busy partying instead of doing their duty.

    January 6, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  21. DisgustedInFL

    This is adorable. I really hope the Tea Party supporters see what they voted in and how easily they were duped by the grifters and con men they elected. Most people in the tea party are on unemployment and on medicare. Hi-larious!


    January 6, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  22. Awesome dude

    not even a week in and the GOP is already breaking rules.... I'm starting to see that the GOP win was a huge mistake...

    January 6, 2011 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  23. NamVet

    This is only the beginning of a reign of "the rules don't apply to me" Republican terror in the House.

    January 6, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  24. J.V.Hodgson

    Already flouting the constitution and House rules. Typical republican style over correctness and legality.

    January 6, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  25. dwayne

    These republicans must have left brains at home. I hope they never have to walk and chew gum concurrently.

    January 6, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6