Two House Republicans miss swearing in but still vote
January 6th, 2011
08:15 PM ET
4 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. Tom

    Guess maybe when you say you are going to go strictly by the Constitution it means unless I don't know that part. And we all laughed when Michele Bachmann wanted to hold lessons on the Constitution.

    January 7, 2011 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  2. Robin Bray

    They weren't born in the U.S. either. Maybe they just work from home and avoid contact with the voters all together.

    January 7, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  3. George Molnar

    Now I know what is meant by "The Party First"

    January 7, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  4. militantdem

    Just the typical (and expected) arrogance and hypocrisy of things to come. Republicans are traitors – at best!

    January 7, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  5. hockeybear

    Unbelievable. So disrespectful to the political process, the people who voted them in, and to America as a whole. Attention Repubs: you get what you vote for.

    January 7, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  6. Kathy

    Too busy getting money to attend their swearing in....Typical GOP with their hands always out!!!! Are these guys just idiots to think they could skip their swearing in...Opps, once again GOP and Idiot is a redundancy.

    January 7, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    The embarrassment that is the GOP has begun...

    January 7, 2011 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  8. Jeff

    And the Republican Congress is off to a good start!

    January 7, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  9. Marty, FL

    So, these politicians thought they could be sworn in at a party while watching TV? Absolutely ridiculous. What a way for Sessions to represent the NRCC before the American people.

    Then again, the politicians did not even read our entire Constitution yesterday, and most of the clowns left before the reading was completed, not to mention the birther nonsense. Unbelievable start the "new" Congress. :(

    January 7, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  10. Drain the Swamp

    Seems like Pete Sessions does'nt ahere to the laws of Congress that he is supposed to follow, but gladhanding voters comes before actually doing your job.

    January 7, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  11. sandy

    "atta boys" off to a great start....typical.

    January 7, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  12. Thinker

    As usual the republicans don't think the rules apply to them. they have already broken several of the promises on their latest contract on america. What a bunch of losers

    January 7, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  13. jim

    It is just another case of the elite Both parties included having a good time
    on the public's money.
    If it had been Joe average doing it at his place of work and missing a important
    meeting he would have been fired.
    Politicians just don't get it and if they continue they will get it in 2012

    January 7, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  14. th

    It is already starting. They think they can do what they want when they want. They will reap what the sow

    January 7, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  15. ThereYouGo

    It didn't take long for them to start breaking the rules. Mostly criminal types anyway. It's a make believe democracy. If Senators and Congressmen were paid what the median income of America is, then maybe we could get better representation.

    January 7, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  16. wildman

    These losers can't even make their own swearing in? What a bunch of morons we have running this country in all the parties.

    January 7, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. Elliott

    Wow. So, how is all that "stick to the constitution" thing working for Republicans? Not a good start people. Let's hope you can do better than this. How embarrassing.

    January 7, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  18. Peace

    What does this mean??? Do these Republicans understand why they are there??? No one is declared a christian until they are baptised!!!

    January 7, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. Grand Obstructionist

    ahh the GOP, the great guardians of our Constitution. They are always good for a laugh and their House majority will be the source of great fodder for comedians everywhere for the next 2 long years. A very insincere thanks to all who voted for these clowns - why do you hate America so much?

    January 7, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, this could be a problem when they run for re-election. Where were you when you were supposed to doing your job - meeting with lobbists as it will be protrayed.

    January 7, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  21. cassamandra

    the party of the constitution disregarding the constitution. what else is new?

    January 7, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  22. Jersey Bob

    For Sessions, the rules have never amounted to much....... He learned from the best: Tom Delay....... It's interesting how the Republican Party touts the rule of law and yet elects such miscreants to leadership positions.....

    January 7, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  23. A. Goodwin

    Wow – cannot even make it to work on time. Awesome. If I didn't make it to my job on time, I would get fired! Two years of Republican BS...let the circus begin.

    January 7, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  24. Seattle Sue

    Boy these wonderful people are off to a good start. If they can't manage their own schedule, how will they have the smarts to handle the business of our county?

    January 7, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  25. rs

    Ooops! Republicans believing they are above the law! Again!

    Idiots- attending fund-raisers instead of getting sworn in.

    January 7, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
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