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. Katie

    Nice job fellas. I guess you showed us all where your priorities lie. This from the party that insisted on the (selective) reading of the consititution no less.

    If it wasn't so pathetic, it'd be funny.

    January 6, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  2. whatnext

    I'm a Republican; I'm above rules.

    January 6, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  3. DNA

    Typical. The rules aren't for them, just everyone else.

    January 6, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  4. CBR

    How the story has changed in the last few hours. They did not attend the swearing-in ceremony and they were supposed to do so. End of story. The excuses are not cutting it.

    January 6, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  5. Eric

    Where are the jobs, GOP? Where are the jobs? You've been in Congress a whole day and what have you done to create jobs?

    January 6, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  6. Denise Peterson

    This an excellent example that people were elected should not be in office. Since they missed the oath of office the congresssmen should be removed from congress.

    January 6, 2011 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  7. roro

    Typical Republican shenanigans – out drumming up money instead of being sworn in, and then proceeding to vote ILLEGALLY before having been sworn in. They always go where the money is, and then arrogantly assume they can do whatever they want. Can you imagine what the Weeper of the House would have done if Dems had been so brazen?

    January 6, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  8. Liberal4Obama

    The Keystone Cops are running the show.

    Bad omen for the GOPs health care repeal efforts.

    January 7, 2011 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  9. kevinc

    weren't they supposed to be on the floor for the reading of the Constitution?

    January 7, 2011 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  10. tim utz

    this kind of action is a perfect example of what voters are fed up with. FOLLLOW THE RULE OF LAW!!!

    January 7, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  11. Aaron

    I'm sure that they took the only oath that matters to these crooks....We promise to enrich ourselves regardless of the consequences to the constituents who elected us.

    January 7, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  12. Adam

    This behavior is disgusting and a front to our proud traditions. These two have just spit in the face of every American soldier.

    January 7, 2011 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  13. Lynmarbro

    If they didn't take the oath they are not eligible to vote. To allow their votes to be recorded would set a precedent that will probably come back to bite the senate in the butt sometime in the future. Too bad they had so little regard for such an important oath ceremony. I wonder if they will treat their responsibilities as senators with such cavalier attitudes. shame on them.

    January 7, 2011 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  14. Rob

    How can they vote if they were never officially sworn in? Didn't they have a copy of their Constitution? Since they read it aloud ... shouldn't they have listened. Are their seats vacant? Whey should they even get paid if they can perform their jobs?

    January 7, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  15. John

    These idiots can't even get the FIRST DAY right. Looks like we're up the creek without a paddle now.

    January 7, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  16. Lawrence

    You GOPers voted for them and they didn't show up to the swearing in?

    January 7, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  17. Anne

    If the GOP didn't have double-standards, they wouldn't have any at all.....

    January 7, 2011 01:05 am at 1:05 am |

    The country is fortunate that the GOP is now in the majority and composed of such stellar representation.

    January 7, 2011 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  19. AMERICA 1st

    Just likd all washington politicians, everywhere except where theyre suppose to be

    January 7, 2011 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  20. Alereon

    Leave it to the Republicans to have so little respect for their country and the people who elected them to ditch their own oath of office for some party...

    January 7, 2011 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  21. Wayne from GA

    We The People, are the GOP

    We hold the Constitution to be a sacred, sacrosant, supremely superlative document! Perfect in every way!

    And We The People love it more than you...all y'all who aren't us.

    We'll prove it too! We'll start off by reading it, just so everyone knows how serious we are about it....just to remind Y'all Who Aren't The People what's in there. Then we'll get right to business votin' an stuff.

    Oh, the Constitution says we gotta show up to the swearing in BEFORE WE VOTE?!!! Jeez, stop takin stuff so LITERALLY!

    January 7, 2011 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  22. Matt

    Typical Republicans... *Sigh*

    January 7, 2011 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  23. VegasRage

    Oaths? We don't need no stinking oaths!

    January 7, 2011 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  24. GloriaSeattle

    If they weren't wasting tax payer money (paying their salaries) reading the Constitution, and started working on putting Americans back to work maybe they'd be aware of the rules. If not, they can go to night school or learn on their own time while reading the Constitution then too!

    January 7, 2011 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  25. conoclast

    Great entrance, republicans! It's just the jitters, right? You're just a little stage-struck maybe, knowing the whole world is watching? Let's see...that $230 billion the CBO came up with for rescinding Obamacare, what about that? And your two frosh who partied through their own swearing-in?? You're not exactly inspiring early confidence out here in the real world; please just be nervous.

    January 7, 2011 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
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