Jan 06, 2011
Republicans Can’t Get Their House in Order: Sessions & Fitzpatrick MIA
Uh oh. 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.
“When Congressmen-elect Pete Sessions and Mike Fitzpatrick participated in reading parts of the U.S. Constitution on the House floor, Speaker Boehner should have given them Article 6 which requires Members of Congress to be sworn in,” said Jennifer Crider of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Jokes aside, Congressmen-elect Pete Sessions and Mike Fitzpatrick’s actions raise serious questions: What in the world was more important to Congressmen-elect Pete Sessions and Mike Fitzpatrick than taking the oath of office, committing to support and defend the U.S. Constitution? Why did Speaker Boehner and House Republican leadership allow two people who were not sworn Members of Congress to vote and speak on the House floor? Republicans have spent a lot of time over the past two days proselytizing about House rules, but they don’t seem very keen on actually following the rules.”
According to the Clerk of the House:
“As required by Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, Members of Congress shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. Representatives, delegates, and the resident commissioner all take the oath of office on the first day of the new Congress, immediately after the House has elected its Speaker. The Speaker of the House administers the oath of office as follows:
“’I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.’
“Representatives elected in special elections during the course of a Congress generally take the oath of office on the floor of the House Chamber when the Clerk of the House has received a formal notice of the new Member's election or appointment from State government authorities. On rare occasions, because of illness or other circumstances, a Member-elect has been authorized to take the oath of office at a place other than the House. In those circumstances, the Clerk of the House sees to the proper administration of the oath.”