From abc NEWS:
Somehow two House Republicans […] neglected to get sworn in as new members of Congress.
A photo on http://www.phillyburbs.com shows, Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas with Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania were on Capitol Hill but during the swearing-in ceremony they were not in the House chamber but rather in front of a television in the Capitol Visitors Center.
Sessions and Fitzpatrick were on the House floor, voting and reading the Constitution – just like every other sworn-in member of Congress. And Sessions helped preside over a hearing of the House Rules Committee on the GOP’s push to repeal the health care law.
But once GOP leaders learned that two of their members weren’t yet legitimate members of Congress, they abruptly stopped the Rules hearing on the health care law.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-NC, was in the chair at the hearing and had just finished welcoming Rep. Rob Andrews, D-NJ, to the witness table when an aide whispered something into Foxx’s ear.
“I am sorry but we need to take a recess,” Foxx suddenly told Andrews.
Rep. John Tierney, D-MA – who was also waiting to testify at the hearing – was less amused, muttering, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Jennifer Crider, spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the snafu was no laughing matter.
“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,” Crider said. “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.”
Shortly after the Rules committee hearing was stopped, Fitzpatrick and Sessions both appeared back on the House floor and were administered the oath of office by Speaker Boehner.
Just before 5pm, the Rules committee finally resumed its hearing. The panel’s chairman Rep. David Dreier and the top Democrat Rep. Louise Slaughter discussed –- in a rather confusing way –- what the snafu means in terms of the proceedings already undertaken before Sessions had been sworn in.
At one point during the two hour recess Dreier appeared in front of the confused crowd to try to explain the snafu.
“We all know that yesterday was an exciting day for members on the House floor,” Dreier said. “Families were with us and obviously just as today’s hearing has had a lot of people, downstairs there were a lot of people. Apparently accidentally Mr. Sessions was not on the floor when the oath was administered to all of us when we raised our right hands.[“]
How can you be missing accidentally when you’re watching everyone else take the oath on tv?