Ask yourself if this matters to you: two House Republicans, Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) were at a reception at the Capitol Visitors Center yesterday and missed the swearing-in ceremony for members of Congress. They were sworn in later that day.
But Sessions and Fitzpatrick took part in a few votes in between missing the ceremony and their own votes.
Big deal? Well, it is to the House Democrats, and apparently to the press corps covering Congress.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reveled in the Republican dilemma.
“Uh oh,” began a statement from the campaign organization spokeswoman Jennifer Crider. “Despite being in Washington, Congressmen-elect Pete Sessions (TX) and Mike Fitzpatrick (PA) missed being sworn into Congress yesterday. Not being sworn in and technically not being Members of Congress didn’t stop Pete Sessions or Mike Fitzpatrick from voting all day yesterday and today or participating in reading the U.S. Constitution on the House floor today.”
Vincent Morris, spokesman for the House Rules Committee’s Democratic minority, said: “Mr Sessions misses more votes than anyone else on the committee. That’s a fact. That he’s missing votes — and apparently missing his own swearing in — because he’s raising money . takes the trophy.”
The leadership’s fix to this is to have someone offer a resolution to nullify Sessions’ and Fitzpatrick’s votes, which didn’t change any outcomes. The Democrats say that only makes things worse.
Sessions’ and Fitzpatrick’s side of the story?
Emily Davis, a spokeswoman for Sessions, said: “During the swearing in of the 112th Congress, Congressman Sessions stated the oath publicly in the Capitol but was not on the House floor. To ensure that all constitutional and House requirements are fulfilled, Congressman Sessions officially took the oath of office this afternoon from the House floor. Public records and votes will be adjusted accordingly.”
Fitzpatrick spokesman Darren Smith said: “Yesterday, at the time the oath of office was administered, Congressman Fitzpatrick was in the Capitol Building meeting with constituents from Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District. He took the oath of office at that time.
“When the oath was administered, Congressman Fitzpatrick had already signed the written oath of office provided by the Clerk of the House. 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.”
Bear in mind, no substantial legislation was voted on yesterday. What these guys missed was the House Rules package.
Here’s how Democrats viewed the rules when they were in charge, if you’ll remember…