WASHINGTON — Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, a senior Republican member of the powerful House Rules Committee, tripped up on the, um, rules, Wednesday when he offered a motion to organize the committee.
It seems that Sessions, the chairman of the triumphant GOP House campaign committee, was not actually at the swearing-in at the House chamber Wednesday. He and Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, who won back his old job, were glad-handing in the adjoining Capitol Visitor's Center when they realized the oath was being given.
No matter, they put their hands up and took the oath from the TV — a fact helpfully documented by a regional website, PhillyBurbs.com, which got the photo.
That doesn't seem to count.
Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif., told panel members that Sessions hadn't been sworn in properly and that the meeting had to be adjourned while he consulted with the parliamentarian on how to proceed on the GOP's first major order of business: repealing the health care law.
Within a few hours, a correction had been made and the committee was back up and running — but not without a lot of snickering by Democrats, who suggested that Republicans, who'd started the day with the reading of the U.S. Constitution, should have read it the day before.
Sessions and Fitzpatrick even voted on the House floor several times after they missed the swearing-in. That doesn't count, either.
According to the Huffington Post, Sessions' spokeswoman, Emily Davis, said the Texan had fixed the problem by Thursday afternoon.
"During the swearing in of the 112th Congress, Congressman Sessions stated the oath publicly in the Capitol but was not on the House floor," the website quoted Davis as saying. "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."
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