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. Lilarose1941

    These two Republicans know the rules. They are just overcome with a sense of importance and inflated egos these days and want to do what they want, forget their beloved Constitution.

    January 7, 2011 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  2. DanteX


    So very TYPICAL of Conservatives and the modern-day Republican Party.

    You would think that the rules apply to EVERY person EQUALLY – But the again the Conservatives and the Republicans have ALWAYS thought they never had to follow the laws and the rules that govern others.

    January 7, 2011 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  3. Jim

    They may be good guys, but it's pretty asinine to miss your swearing in.

    January 7, 2011 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  4. raina kelly

    Learning politics now is excting & confusing bt very knowlegable of da present past&future history

    January 7, 2011 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  5. ron

    And so it starts....?

    January 7, 2011 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  6. Thomas, Illinois

    Breaking the law already, typical Republicans...

    January 7, 2011 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  7. fiskenmann

    What a joke!!! I wonder what other under handed things these two clowns will do during their terms. So much 'for the people', eh???

    January 7, 2011 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  8. AndSoItBegins

    No surprise the republic members are playing fast and loose with the rules

    January 7, 2011 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  9. LouieD

    Why are they "talking now about how to correct the official Congressional record?" What is there to "figure out" on "how to move forward?" Republicans, who during the Clinton years yammered endlessly about the "rule of law", should man up and acknowledge that these 2 congressmen's votes did not count. Admit you made a mistake and strike them from the record.

    January 7, 2011 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  10. palin babydaddy

    Does that mean willow won i want my half lol

    January 7, 2011 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  11. Name Truth

    Two Republicans believing they are so important the rules don't apply to them? Imagine that! Straight from the George W. mold.

    January 7, 2011 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  12. ramtruck2500

    Seems simple to me. They should'nt evenbe allowed to vote.

    January 7, 2011 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  13. Chris

    So much for respecting the constitution.

    January 7, 2011 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  14. Marie MD

    Unbelievable. You miss your swearing in ceremony for a party? These are the morons who are going to be making laws for the rest of us?

    January 7, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  15. jacksays

    Rules? We don't need no stinking rules.

    -your Republican friends

    January 7, 2011 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  16. NFLD Thought

    I see it didn't take long for their incompetence to come through once again.

    January 7, 2011 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  17. ray gibbs

    are you kidding? what kind of democracy have we here? swearing in through t.v.? fundraisers over proper swearing in ceremonies? where's our leader, Speaker "Bubbles"?

    January 7, 2011 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  18. Vinnie54

    "(they) were attending a reception for Fitzpatrick's constituents" Yep, Congress be in session again. Thank heavens it's not "business as usual anymore" by "following the mandates of the people." Hmmm... I missed the "skip swearing in and then vote when you can't" mandate. I pray this isn't a prophetic start but, I'm not really surprised.

    January 7, 2011 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  19. Matt

    Sounds like an ethics investigation is in order!

    January 7, 2011 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  20. Shannon

    It as a fund raiser, not a reception, and that shows the complete disdain republicans hold the American people in. This Constitution thing plays well with their ignorant base, but for those of us who pay attention, their actions never match their words.

    January 7, 2011 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  21. Paul

    This is nothing new. It happened with the democrats back in 2002 and no one made a big deal about it then. how come only now that republicans did it is it a huge issue?

    January 7, 2011 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  22. Mark

    This is a great start for Republicans who state they want to follow the Constitution. Who elects these types of incompent blowhards?

    January 7, 2011 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  23. sara

    Well that is just wrong in my book. You get what you vote for.

    January 7, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  24. Ben Ben

    It figures. they think they are above doing the right thing.

    January 7, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  25. Mike in MO

    Ah, the Keystone Kops are back in charge...

    January 7, 2011 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6