Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Congress Returns for New Session

Drew Thies
Members-elect gather for 115th Congress freshman class. Photo Fred Schilling.

Members of Congress arrived in Washington, D.C. this week to reconvene for legislative work in the New Year. Lawmakers were sworn in for the 115th session of Congress on Tuesday.

Paul D. Ryan (D-Wis.) was reelected as Speaker of the House, winning the support of all but one Republican in his bid to lead the chamber and serve as the party’s head in the House of Representatives. Most Democrats voted for Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The overwhelming support for Ryan stands as a show of Republican unison ahead of what many expect to be a legislatively busy first quarter, as lawmakers attempt to pass conservative legislation that would have been previously stymied by President Obama’s veto.

Republicans currently hold a 241-to-194 advantage over Democrats in the House, but that number will dwindle slightly as members of the Republican caucus join the incoming Trump administration. If confirmed by the Senate, these members will have to be replaced by special election.

The President-elect has picked Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to serve as Health and Human Services secretary, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to serve as White House budget director, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to serve as CIA director, and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to serve as Interior secretary. Rep. Xavier Becerra, a democrat, is also expected to leave the House to become attorney general of California.

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