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tv   Opening Day 117th Congress U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  January 3, 2021 7:27pm-9:27pm EST

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the clerk of the house: pursuant to the 20th amendment to the constitution of the united states, for the meeting of the 117th congress of the united states, the house will come to order. the prayer will be offered by reverend emanuel cleaver, st. james united methodist church, kansas city, missouri.
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the chaplain: let us pray. we bow before your thrown of grace as we leave behind the politically and socially clamorous year of 2020. we gather now in this consequential chamber to inaugurate another chapter in our roller coaster representative government.
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control our tribal tendencies and quicken our spirits. that we may feel thy priestley presence even in moments of heightened disagreement. may we so feel your presence that our service here may not be soiled by any utterances or acts unworthy of this high office. insert in our spirit a light so bright that we can see ourselves and our politics as we really are, soiled by selfishness, perverted by prejudice and invagueled by ideology. now may the god who create the world and everything in it bless us and keep us. may the lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious
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unto us. may the lord lift up the light of his countnence upon us and give us peace. peace in our family, peace across this land and dare i ask, o lord, peace even in this chamber. now and ever more. ask it in the name of the monotheistic god and the god known by many names and faiths. and and a woman -- amen awoman. cows the representatives elect -- the clerk of the house: the representatives-elect and their guests will now stand and join in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty nd justice for all. as directed by law, the clerk
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of the house has prepared the official roll of the representatives-elect. certificates of election covering 434 seats in the 117th congress have been received by the clerk of the house. the clerk has not received a certificate of election from the 22nd district of the state of new york. the names of those persons whose credentials show that they were regularly elected as representatives in accord with the laws of their respective states or of the united states will be called. the representatives-elect will record their presence by electronic device and their names will be reported in alphabetical order by state,
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beginning with the state of alabama, to determine whether a quorum is present. representatives-elect will record their presence by electronic device. representatives-elect who have not obtained their voting i.d. cards may do so now in statuary hall.
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quorum call is taking place. going forward from this day they will assume members are present. actually require them to come to the floor and say they are in attendance but opening day they will do so. why? because that impacts the speaker vote that will take place later this afternoon. speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, going for another the early as leader of the and she c majority needs to get the majority of hose lawmakers here in washington, present and voting for a speaker by name. present, it does not count in the total so the
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quorum call taking place, and we said, later it will be the speaker election. they will be doing -- voting today in groups of 72. that's this quorum call what's happening right now. they are coming into the chamber aiting to be called in groups of 72. why? because of covid. and so of the pandemic, we expect votes today to take a very long time, as they continue of 72.oups you're talking about seven lawmakers having to cross the grounds, vote and leave. normally one of joyous pomp and circumstance but because of the pandemic, there note today. here are some of the requirements for today's proceedings. masks are required in the house chamber. or e is no waiting congregating allowed on the
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floor. action is ther floor limited to groups of 72, and allowed, only one guest and that's only for the new members of this congress. of congress members each were given one ticket for them get to watch sworn in to office. members of e congress are surrounded by family and friends in the chamber. all get tickets but not during this pandemic. more about o talk today's proceedings is mac reen, a political science professor at the catholic university of america, coauthor leader.osing the leadership elections in the u.s. house of representatives." mr. green, let's just begin with here. are 3.'s sunday, january >> that's correct. the constitution requires that meet on january 3 after an election unless the previous
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ongress enacts a law that sets a different date which is normally what the house and senate do. case, andis particular it's one of the many reasons this is a very unusual opening house is house, the meeting on its actual constitutionally required date which is a sunday, which is really never happens, that the house meets on a here we are and today.why we're meeting >> what happens with the speaker election? process.ugh the >> so the process is basically follows. the leaders of each party, the chair of the democratic caucus the chair of the republican conference, each put forth a nominee, that their party has agreed upon to be speaker. of the n the case republicans, congresswoman case of the e democrats, jefferies, and they will each put forth a name.
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of the democrats, it's pelosi, in the case of mccarthy.n, each give a short speech and then we have an actual vote for is done hich alphabetically and one of the things that makes it an unusual that it's house is done as an actual true rollcall vote. but rather each member's name is called and that member then says who they are to vote for. once that's completed, the clerks who are tallying the will give the results, and, as you said, if a candidate an absolute majority of all the votes that are cast for name, that person next speaker of the house. >> do the members have to vote if you're alosi, or republican do you have to vote for kevin mccarthy? >> absolutely not. that requires e
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it. very strong -- you're supposed to vote for the person what arty nominated but we've seen increasingly so it's is a small group of members from each party, sometimes both, choosing to vote for someone else, or choosing to vote or simply abstaining and not voting at all. we don't see members of one voting for the candidate of the other party but we do see for either other members of congress, or other colin uals, sometimes powell, for example, former secretary of state, has gotten speaker.r so there is no requirement that you have to vote for the nominee of your party. and no requirement that you have to vote for a lawmaker? >> that's correct. technically speaking the constitution merely says the speaker.ll choose its it does not say who that person is.
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in theory, the house could somebody who is not even a member of the house of representatives to be speaker. is the winner determined? > the winner se determined by, after you go through all of the names, the clerk will go back and call the names of folks who not answer when their names were called, you look to see who has the majority of the votes, of all of the votes that were name, and meone by this is important because, as you were saying before, if you you abstain, it does not count towards either candidate. so that means it is, in fact, possible to be elected speaker 218 votes.than 218 being the majority of the whole house. f there are enough members who simply don't vote for anyone, abstain or vote present you elected with fewer than 218 but the important thing is you're elected with an absolute all the votes that cast by that name.
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he person who came in second rostrum.goes to the then the dean of the house, or most senior, and then we have a speaker. >> how does the math look today speaker?y pelosi as >> the democrats have about 222, 222 seats in the house of representatives. which is a very narrow majority. house voted in the for their party's nominee, she guess, five just, i votes, depending on the total who are present today. not everyone will be present today. so it's very, very close. the conventional wisdom is that get i has the votes to elected speaker. a we should expect it to be close vote. i'll certainly be watching it closely to see who, if anyone, from either party and how that affects the final
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outcome. members allowed to change their votes? >> usually that does not happen. members once they have cast their vote for a candidate do not go back and change. recall the last time if ever that's happened. a tie? if there was > so if there is not an absolute majority, then what happens is, the house has another vote. it right awayhave or they could wait and decide to have another vote later and try change people's votes after that election, or maybe some people who are absent, try to them to the floor to vote for the second election. in other words, could you have balloting fors of speaker. this is very rare. not happened since 1923, when there were multiple least some uncertainty about who would be speaker because a number of were the s, who majority party, weren't happy
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leadership arty's and chose to vote for a third candidate, a progressive candidate but that hasn't nearly a >> has there been any other nail ons where it's been biters, where the outcome is not certain? >> there have, and there have been some recent ones as well. mentioned, the number of members willing to defect in hese votes has been greater than zero for the last 10 or 20 years, more or less, and that's pretty close elections for speaker. gingrich, whenewt he ran for speaker in the 1996 elections where the republicans well as they had hoped and some people were unhappy with newt gingrich, he his allies had to do some serious lobbying to get enough speaker. be elected after the 1998 elections up with of reasons why he stepped down is he just didn't have the votes be elected speaker. john bannon, more recently, the
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republican speaker of the house, also had some struggle at times getting elected speaker because here were a number of members, conservative members, who were unhappy with his leadership. elections used to be almost pro forma. everybody voting with their real surprises, but in the last decade or two, we biters.n some real nail >> we're talking with matt greene this morning. the house floor, it's opening day of the 117th ongress and what's happening right now is a quorum call. make ers are required to their way to the floor in groups of 72. hat's seven groups of 72, and they are required to electronically record that they are here in washington, and vote on this opening congress. 117th ever beene, has there a situation where someone or lawmakers cannot make their way
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they just on, or don't go to the floor and mark present as they are doing in this quorum call right now? >> certainly. that has happened. fact, as i understand it, are likely to see that in this because of the unusual circumstances that we find ourselves in. coronavirus., with and so members who are either not well because they have the or have been exposed will not be in attendance. checked, , the last i there are one or two who would not be coming today for that reason. important s actually and not just for things like the vote for speaker, but also ecause in order to be a member of congress you have to be sworn in by the next speaker of the house of representatives. so technically, if you don't come today, during the swearing you are not a member of the 117th congress, and you have an be until you opportunity to come to
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washington and be sworn in by house.aker of the >> so they will make accommodations, then, for these cannot get here to washington? >> oh, certainly. they don't want to give lose the have people opportunity to take the seat duly elected to occupy. >> let's talk about the senate. the vice s are seeing president, mike pence, swearing 117th ators for the congress. for a bit.listen pla [applause]
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over on c-span 2 you can watch the opening day of the chamber, ress in that and in the u.s. senate you can see that the vice president, is overseeing today's proceedings. he's swearing in new senators in two over there because of the pandemic as well. ou can see folks are wearing masks. this is where the senate stands right now. 51 republicans and 46 emocrats with two independents that you all know, caucused with the democrats as well. that is one open seat and is the seat for senator david perdue, he was up for campaign cycle and he's facing a january 5 run-off. state this tuesday in the of georgia. our c-span viewers know this
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very well. loeffler, his colleague, she's in a special election race for her seat in georgia. too, facing a run-off on tuesday. proceedings will continue over in this chamber. on morning, you can watch c-span 2 to see all of that. now, if the democrats were to both of those georgia seats, the balance of power would shift by giving the s incoming vice president kamala as is the tie-breaking vote president of the senate. matt green, to political science professor, the hor of "choosing leader, leadership elections in the u.s. house of representatives." let's talk about what's happening in the senate today. the senate follows a process that's not too dissimilar from the house of representatives. as you said, there is where ing in process
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members -- members are sworn in, reelectedre elected or in the last general election. s you said, there are just a small number being sworn in at a time, but of course, in the senate you only have 1/3 of the re-election every two years. you don't have 435 people that have to be sworn in. of course, it has no more than a hundred members anyway. hey follow some similar processes. they have a quorum. they check to be sure there is a for example. there is one important difference between the house and which is that the senate considers itself continuing body because only 1/3 its s members or 1/3 of seats are up for re-election every two years so they don't consider themselves having to all over again with the rules that they had in the previous congress. contrast, because all members, or all seats are up adopt a years, has to new senate of rules for the new
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that's something that's going to happen later, but that's today, an important part of that or opening period for the house of representatives. > now, let's go back to the election of the speaker, and just mention that. are going to kely be nominating their leader, kevin mccarthy. possible that he could be democratic the majority? >> it is possible. because the decision of who speaker is not based on which party has more seats, but speakership he election. o, for example, if you have enough democrats who choose not to participate in the election, obtain or not vote, or by vote for someone else name, or vote for kevin
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mccarthy, it is entirely the republican candidate could become speaker of the house. you as i mentioned before, don't see members of each party candidate of he the other party generally. that's considered really a partisans, far for party'ss who don't like nominated speaker. a small majority as the democrats do now that greater.ties becomes it's not likely, but it's a you could have the minority party's nominee be chosen speaker of the house. mccarthy?kevin kevin mccarthy is the leader for the republicans in this chamber, house. first elected in 2006. 55 years old. minority leader since 2019, and viewers will an know he served as the number two
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former speaker john boehner, former speaker 2014 to 2019.m on the floor right now they just started group 3 of the 72 law makers that will go to the floor to say that they are here. they are present here in washington and ready to work. vote, and start the 117th congress. quorum call they will move to the speaker vote. speeches, there will be designations for speaker f the house, both on the democratic side and on the republican side, and then they will move to the vote. gain, that will be a lengthy process because they will do this in groups of 72. matt, for those just joining us, explain again, when they go to are they peaker, how voting? speaker way that the vote operates is different than
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in the house of representatives. they are done by individual is called ach member on the roster of lawmakers and asked who they would vote for speaker. and they say the name. pelosi, mccarthy, or another name altogether or choose not to present.ote normally e itself -- it takes 45 minutes or so. 45 minutes to an hour and it's about the many things usual opening of the house of representatives that is articularly noteworthy and worth watching because you're seeing each member have to speak up publicly and say who they are you can keep a running tally at ome who is voting for whom and who is defecting and so forth but in this particular case as ou mentioned things will be different and so we'll have groups of lawmakers being brought in and participating in election, and then escorted out. and then other groups of about
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voting that and way. so instead of 45 minutes to an lot longer d take a to complete the vote for speaker of the house. less, you know, frankly be a different thing to watch on television than it otherwise. once that's done, the votes are and whoever has a majority of all of the votes that are cast for someone by elected the next speaker of the house of representatives. now, there are 222 democrats congress.17th there are 211 republicans, and two vacancies. new york's s are 22nd district where the winner f that race has still not been called. it's undecided between democratic incumbent anthony -- republican claudia -- only 29 votes separate these two members of congress.
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now 221 democrats that little -- they are now 220 when democrats publish a lot today. democrats that will show up today. have a couple of publicans, maybe some democrats not able to be here today. 41, and the vacancies that we told you. need would explain how that number shifts. >> the majority that you need in order to be elected speaker is based on the total number of lawmakers who vote by said -- vote for someone by name. she would need 216 to be voted as speaker. if there are those who vote
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,resident or choose not to vote taken away from that total number, the members that are participating. one of the things that might happen is there are some democrats that are not willing to vote for pelosi, but they do not want to risk kevin mccarthy becoming the next speaker. they might vote present or choose not to vote. it could be that she is voted speaker. >> several news outlets have fored this a high wire act pelosi. would you describe it that way? >> yes. it is a challenge to get elected speaker. you have a few members of your
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party that will defect. newhas very little room for -- maneuvering. is a diverse party. leadershipre part of . they have different preferences .nd all come together it is accurate to say that it is a bit of a high wire act. in 1987, theted seventh person to serve as speaker. >> the first woman speaker of the house, it makes it historic.
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serving nonconsecutive terms is something that we had from 1940 to about 1961. when they lostks majority in the house. one of the reasons that this is leaders,that party when a party loses control, congress, either planning to retire or -- they do not like to be in the minority. when we have had changes in party control, republicans that either planned to retire or not run for party leader again.
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nancy pelosi said, i want to stay and i think i can contribute to the party. maintainanaged to enough support so that she can get elected. she serves these nonconsecutive terms as speaker. >> what happened during the last speaker election for congresswoman nancy pelosi? >> this was an interesting election because the democrats had just taken on joy in the house. normally they are great when that happens and look to their leadership. in the case of nancy pelosi, she had a considerable number in her party who did not want her to be speaker, felt like there could be a change in leadership. for other reasons, they were not keen on electing her speaker.
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what she had to do was work very hard over the course of the next number of months to win back these numbers that were unsure about whether they wanted to vote for her as speaker. she had enough that said they would vote for her that she had enough to get voted as speaker. to meeted with them certain deals with that. -- with them. as a result, she was able to get elected speaker in 2019. >> are any of those members who did not vote for her returning? >> yes. some are not, but a number of them are returning. they have been asked, are you going to vote for nancy pelosi? the majority of them have said that they will vote for pelosi,
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or they will not commit either way. it is often a sign that they can be persuaded or they are not firmly set in their preferences. only a small number of democrats said openly that they would vote against her. , that doese present not hurt her vote total, if they voted for someone else by name. >> the speaker and leadership are telling members who are thinking about not voting for her that if they do not vote for her, it is a vote for kevin mccarthy. is that true? >> yes and no. that is an argument that they would want to make because speaker selection carries with it such tremendously as a sign of party loyalty.
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that is my for many years he did not see any defection. ising that argument something i would expect the democrats to make. on the flipside, if you vote present or do not the, it is not the same. that argument may not persuade members to support the democratic party who see them as party loyalists, but for some reason they are not happy with nancy pelosi specifically as a candidate. it is something that they have to be careful about making to see how you can address those concerns. the minority leader? what kind of support is he expecting to get? why is it important? >> he is expected to get significant support from his
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party. i am not aware of any lawmakers defecting in the vote for speaker. as a significant development because the republican party had a rough group of republicans, many associated -- many who were unhappy with leadership. they are enough of them to make it difficult for mccarthy to get enough votes to demonstrate party unity. years, thest several center was still around that ,hey no longer feel as strongly at least not publicly. minority, so it is not like he
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would be elected speaker, but it served important symbolic purpose to show that the party is behind you completely. it gives a degree of authority. morale and itild can demonstrate that we are in large minority that work together. defections, a few we might be able to beat the democrats on the house floor. >> with us on this opening day. andtical science director co-author of a book on house leadership elections. we are talking to him and eli seeing in the floor form call taking place. lawmakers are required to go into the chamber and mark themselves present. this is not something that they need to do every day.
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they need to day, know that there is a majority in place to move forward. today, we talked to a member of the democratic leadership. he was asked about working with a larger minority. here is what he had to say. to reach across the aisle, when we can. majority is going to be smaller. dictate that we be more focused on trying to make sure that we keep all of our members
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informed of what we are doing, and also to stay in close touch with them, the things that they would like us to do. very effectively. very actively as well. of thoseu discuss some things that the caucus with the entity? where can you work with republicans? >> i think the republicans are in agreement with us. ofid-19 is no respecter political party, no respecter of anything else that may separate us, so the first order of business is to work very closely together, in order to get beyond this pandemic. that is vertical to everything.
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doing what we need to do to deliver health care to the american people, unless we get this under control. i think joe has made it very clear that he plans to spend his first 100 days focusing on getting 100 million people vaccinated. done, ifhat can get you were to use his authority as commander-in-chief. advocate using the coast guard estimates he gets into office. it looks like a big job and it is a big job. cumbersome and hard to do. whatever weizing call it -- i think we can get
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this done. >> when it comes to nationalizing -- how would that affect the goal of vaccination? >> i think that the date job about getting the vaccinations out is to get it deployed, ,o the states and an effective deliberate system. i do not think there is anybody more effective at getting that done. we have called on the coast again ine and time time of crises. with allvery closely of the entities, in order to get that done. i think we did a pretty good job back then and i think it will take that kind of organized effort today.
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>> many are watching what will happen with the verifying of votes. exactly whatuge will happen and the effect it will have on the ability to go forward? >> we have demonstrated time and time again that we wish to work in a bipartisan way, on behalf of the american people. you'll never see house members going to the extent that we hear them talking about. is too important to the world coming to our continued existence as one nation, under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for
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all. allowed to get sidetracked. we are in pursuit of a more perfect union, and we believe that the way to do that is to adhere to the constitutional principles that have kept this country together so far. factvery familiar with the that we have not been perfect, but we should remain in pursuit of perfection. onthe democratic majority today's washington journal, talking about working with a larger republican minority. congress is underway in washington. we are watching the house floor as they partake in a form call. need every lawmaker to come and say they are present. this morning, each of them received a new voting card for
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the 117th congress. we are watching them come into chamber. they are taking precautions. they need to vote and then they are asked to quickly leave the chamber and go back to their office. here thisppening afternoon. it continues throughout the day. happening next is the election for the speaker of the house. greene, after the speaker is elected, what happens? united, the speaker is the speaker is officially sworn in by the house of representatives, whoever serves the longest in-house.
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once the speaker is sworn in and the speaker swears in the newly elected members of the house of representatives. it will take some time because early groups of 72 are to come to the floor at once. what happens is the house continues electing other officers, eventually they will adopt their rules, which will probably happen tomorrow. at some point, the house will pass a resolution to count the electoral vote. >> the speaker will also give a speech. is that a tradition that has always taken place? question it has taken place for many years. it is always interesting to watch that speech because it is an opportunity for the speaker
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to do a number of things. she can set the legislative agenda, things that she wants congress to do. she can talk about her role as speaker and what the job of speakership means. it is a way to give a state of the address. it is an important speech. twist today is isla's second district. explain for viewers who have not been paying attention. this is a race that was extremely close. that was the new york race that you mentioned earlier. two very close house races. case in isla,ular we have the republican
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officially declared the winner by the state, but by a very narrow margin. is democratic candidate disagreeing with that, so the republican congresswoman eli will be seated by the speaker, but provisionally, meaning that the house may investigate the election further. members to ultimately determine the outcomes of elections. is -- it is unclear what will happen, but it is possible that the house will look into election. >> the rules package is also for -- part of the first day of congress.
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why do they typically do that on the first day? rules that theof house will follow for the next two years, for the next congress. without those rules, there are a lot of things that cannot get done. a lot of rules have been adopted over time to make it more efficient for the house to do its business. it allows for changes to be made by a new party and what things can and cannot be brought to the floor. becauseo be adopted after an election to the house of representatives, you have a new congress with entirely new seat, new speakers, so right off the bat, they have to figure out how it will govern itself. that is how the rules are adopted.
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it is just taking a lot longer. >> who has a say as to what is in the rules or what the rules look like? >> the general practice that has been followed since the 1970's is that the rules are written by the majority party. they sit down and decide what the rules will be, what they might be compared to the previous congress, then they write them up and bring them to the floor of the house. welcome tocans are write their own set of rules. they sometimes suggest amendments to the rules, but as we see in elections, you rarely see defections in these votes. the majority party writes the
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rules for each congress. >> let's listen to the rules chair. he was on washington journal this morning. here is when he had to say about some of the new rules. package,f the rules when budget limits are going to be modified, can you explain that? >> we have emergencies. that allo make sure resources are available to help states, that this virus and to get the vaccine out. challenge not only for the u.s., but the world. we need to move forward in doing something real. >> no budget limits? question one to remove any
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be --aint that would >> we want to remove any constraint. >> are there any concerns about spending? no, no budget limits on anything. been more fiscally responsible than the republicans were when they were in control. cuts anded huge tax just added to the debt. we cannotview that see this economy recover until we crush the virus. it is going to cost us enormously in the future. several have been questions. can you talk about how it came
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about? >> we want our package to reflect our view now eddie. a few years back, all references in the rules -- i do not understand what the big deal is. it is basically reflecting the reality that we are living in right now, making sure that we are accurate, sustained and to the point. someone said, you cannot refer to yourself as a mother, daughter, sister of the floor. of is one of the legacies trump-ism. you make things up. this is just making sure that the rules reflect who we are. >> how practically does that work, going forward? >> in the rules package, it will mother ornstead of
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father, we will talk about parents. it is basically that. in terms of how we conduct ourselves on the floor, they can do whatever they want to do. this is much i do about nothing and the right wing looking to get somebody up in arms about. undermine the will of the american people. .> we will see if i am right >> the speaker thought it was important to focus on the issue of economic inequality and disparity. one thing that has been shown to us is there is a great disparity that existed well before the virus. we need to figure out a way to address that. there are instructions for
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committees to put as part of their oversight plan, how they will address issues of disparity. it calls on them to make sure that the witnesses represent the diversity as well. we will focus on this issue of disparity because it is a major issue concerning this country. they will develop a plan to tell who they witnesses are. there will be corporate head. we need people from every aspect of our society, of every background. we need to listen to all voices, not only those well-connected. one of the great things about speaker pelosi and the democratic agenda is that in our isw, nobody in this country invisible. everybody is important and we need to focus on issues of
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inequality. >> you think the republicans will push back? ? not saying that they cannot propose witnesses. it will make sure that they represent the diversity of this country. we need to hear all voices. the virus has shown us the inequality that exists in our country. those disparities existed well before this virus, so we need to try to fix what is wrong in this country. i regret that my republican friends, many of them want to focus on things that do not matter to the american people. we are going to insist that the focus focus be on focusing on those issues. >> what was the genesis of that? >> we believe that we should
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hold ourselves to the highest of standards. if you are a member of congress who has committed a crime related to your service, you should not have floor privileges. we do not allow for members who are lobbyists to have privileges , so we are continuing to raise the bar in terms of ethical standards, which is a good thing. it is a sharp contrast to have this administration has conducted itself. >> jim mcgovern talking about the new rules for the 117th congress. you are also seen the floor proceeding for the first day. lawmakers tohe vote present. they have to digitally record their presence in washington,
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something that they normally did not have to do. we are expecting that they will take a break. might take several breaks throughout the day to clean the chamber. election that is the of the next speaker of the house. she has to get the majority of those voting today and those voting for a person by name. if you vote present, it does not count in the total. 400 31 lawmakers, republicans and democrats -- not 435. you have people who have contracted covid-19, lawmakers who are not in washington because they are obviously quarantining. other protocols are in place because of the pandemic. that dream has been with us
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today. he is a professor at a catholic university in washington. rules listening to the chairman. anything stick out to you? >> a few things stick out to me about the rules. there was discussion about gender-neutral language. i think there are a couple that are noteworthy. one was mentioned in the interview. these are the rules that the house used last year that says if you pass a bill that uses money, you have to offset that somewhere else. they now have an exception or allow the budget committee chair to set exceptions for legislation related to coronavirus. this is important for a couple reasons. it makes it easier for congress to money without finding ways to
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offset with other cuts in spending elsewhere or with tax increases. it is a good example of how the pools of the chain -- rules of the chamber reflect the party. in theory they should be neutral, but what usually happens in the house is that they believe they will help them achieve their goals. they are concerned about the coronavirus and they want to put this at the top of their agenda to pass legislation that helps people and provides funding. it is expensive. by changing the role, it makes it easier to enact those things. the other thing that was not importantthat is very
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is a change in a motion to recommit. the one opportunity that the minority party has to change legislation. it is normally guaranteed by the rules. worried aboutare the. democrats are defecting. they will change the roles so that you cannot put any amending language in motion. change in what powers the minority has. that does get enacted with the rest of the rules tomorrow, that would be beginning the party and giving them more power. >> normally, it would be voted on the same day, but because this voting takes so long, they have to vote in groups of 72.
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they are nearing the end right now of this quorum call. that happens, let's talk about after today. sixth, what role do they play in the november election? , the processtion in which you have the house and senate meeting is present. this jointed over session. provide twod senate tellers. turns meeting and confirming the electoral college votes, the certificate that they receive from each state, saying who won that the. you go through in alphabetical
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order by state. when they are done, whoever has the majority that are cast comes the next president of the u.s. >> we have heard from over one dozen house senators that they will object. what would that look like? is that significant? lead theh gets up to results from the state that they are supposed to read, any member who is present can stand up and object to those vote, however they must have inviting a signed objection from a house member and a senator, at least one from each chamber, for those of to be set aside. the house and senate would meet separately and they of the votes
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that were cast in the electoral college from that state, they would vote to decide whether to except those votes were not. something that you have been seeing in recent elections, members getting up to protest the outcomes of individual state . democrats trying to object to votes cast for donald trump. it appears likely that there will be at least one house member and one enter willing to object to at least one state's result. that doesn't mean that the house and senate will be meeting separately. the numbers are a little surprising as well. mentioned, there are a dozen or so senators who wanted to object. 100 or more house republicans
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are willing to object or at least vote against, so it is a large number of members who have expressed opposition. we will cease them for the lively debate in the house and debate-- see some lively in the house and senate. >> what are the chances that they are successful in their objections? >> the chances are very small for a couple of reasons. the majority party in the house is that democratic party. the democrats are not likely to costagainst any state that -- cast electoral votes for biden and kamala harris. the senate, as he mentioned
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republicans have a narrow majority in the senate, but we only know about a dozen or so senate republicans who want to inject to electoral college votes. we do not see a majority. we would need all the republicans to have a chance of voting to eject and we do not see that number. the odds of this successfully setting aside is actually very small. professor and co-author of a book, choosing the leader. thank you for your insight and information today about this opening day of the 117th congress. >> thank you for having me. >> let's go to the floor and watch as they finish up the quorum call, making sure that
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there is a majority present for the first day.
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they need to digitally record their present. there are still seven members who have not voted yet. according to the tally on this, that is done by the house of representatives. we will wait and see if we get seven more votes. what is the total number of voters in washington? at? that is important, because happening after this is the election for the speaker.
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nancy pelosi, who wants another needs to geter, the majority of those lawmakers in washington to say her name in order to become speaker. up 117th congress is made of more women than the previous congresses. we have 27 freshman, nine democratic and 18 republican women. 26 females in the senate. 17 democrats and nine republicans. in the 117 house, you have 89 democrats, 28 republicans total. this comes from the center for women and politics. 143 women serving in the 117th congress, it will be the most ever at one time. the previous record for women inving in congress was 127 2019. also, there is a note for military service in this congress.
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91 veterans. there will be 17 in the senate, 74 in the house. that's the lowest level since world war ii. democrats.ans and 28 five women total and 15 freshmen total that are veterans. there are 13 that served in the 1960's or earlier. 50 served after 2000.
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> a quorum is present. credentials, they have been received, showing the election of the honorable jennifer gonzalez colon as resident commissioner from the commonwealth of puerto rico for beginningfour years,
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january 3, 2021. eleanor norton as delegate for the district of columbia. nicholas ase sent delegate from guam. -- as delegate from the virgin islands. the delegate for samoa and the delegate for the commonwealth of the northern mariana islands. the purple state, -- to the 117 exists in vacancy now
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the state of louisiana, occasioned by the death of the honorable congressman. the house will stand in recess. >> what happened earlier was the quorum vote, which led the clerk , as you just heard, and the speaker nancy pelosi, know that there are those present and ready to vote for speaker of the house. next, speaker up
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election and what will happen after this 15 minute break. there will be nominations for speaker made by the democratic caucus chair. nancy pelosi, the current speaker and one for kevin mccarthy. before the voting occurs, the clerk will appoint tellers. pointeaker gets to the and the minority leader kevin mccarthy gets to appoint two republicans. their job is counting the votes for speaker. when they start devote, it will take hours because they will be in, in groups of it will take hours. they come into the chamber and they have to say out loud, by name, who they want to be the next speaker.
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they can say somebody else's name, or they can say, present. if nancy pelosi is to become the ofaker, she needs a majority .awmakers here saying her name if they say present, it does not count. the 435 possible lawmakers in washington, showing up today. we saw 427. it depends on how people vote and whether they say present. the speaker needs 212. can see that number shift depending on how they vote. we learned that some members who have been exposed to covid-19 but tested negative were allowed to be in washington.
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an area of plexiglass was put up in the gallery for those members cleared ande tests, allowed to get to washington to vote today. there are members who are currently inquired team. a republican from florida has had a possible positive test. a republican from california had a positive test. another says she has been cleared. rick larsen tested positive but that he was cleared this morning. 214 is the magic number for the speaker. that could shift depending on how people vote. it is the magic number that
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speaker pelosi needs to serve again. why are we here today? why are we here today? congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the third day of january, unless they shall by law appoint a different day. so that is why we are here and as we told you, several new faces joining the 117th congress. and we want to introduce you to some of them. before the new congress begins, the representatives elect have freshman orientation to learn their way around capitol hill and get acquainted with the new jobs for the next two years. it is also that time that each party elects a freshman class president. this year republicans picked stephanie vice of okayama to fill that role of the 117th congress. >> what led you to run for
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congress? >> you know, i think there are a lot of reasons. i was very successful on the state level. i champions a lot of state issues. and i know i can make a difference for oklahoma. lost to congressional republicans in 2018, and i really wanted to make sure that my conservative represented, so that is why i decided to challenge. >> you will be the first iranian-american in congress. what does that mean to you? >> you know, my father and i talked a lot about this -- i am an american and an oklahoman. my father is a runyon and immigrated to this country -- is iranian and immigrated to this country. i have never visited the country and i unfortunately don't speak the language either. but i think it is representational for me to be able to connect with the community, letn
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them know that there's someone like them that is serving in congress, and really build relationships, i think that is the most important thing. >> where do your conservative values come from? >> mainly just from living in oklahoma. we are a very conservative state . we value liberty and freedom, and i have been raised in that environment my entire life and i understand and want to continue to support those initiatives. of the top some initiatives that you hope to bring to congress this new year? >> i think the most important thing for oklahoma right now is the economy and jobs. we are seeing the downturn because of the covid-19 pandemic continue. but in oklahoma, we are being hit on two fronts, not only with the pandemic, but also the downturn in the oil and gas industry, the softening of bilin gas prices. you have seen several companies
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in the oklahoma metro area file for bankruptcy or have mergers because of the challenges that we see in the industry. i want to make sure we are doing everything we can to promote economic development, additional make sureed package, we are allowing for our small businesses to do what they do jobs.nd that is create without that, everything else is secondary. i am hopeful that we will see the rollout of the vaccine help reduce numbers and return this country to some sense of normalcy in the spring or summer of next year. >> finally, you have a husband and two daughters. how do you hope to help make balance, here in the hill and back home in oklahoma work? >> thankfully, i have an incredible family. my husband is so incredibly
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supportive. my oldest daughter is in college so she is a little bit removed from my back and forth. my younger daughter is incredibly excited for this opportunity. we have actually taken the girls to d.c.. my younger daughter just loved it. she has already asked if she can come and stay with me and intern office, so iin the think it is going to be an incredible opportunity for her to really see congress in action, learn a little bit more about this country and our founding fathers, and participate in this incredible opportunity that i have been given. >> republican stephanie "vice" former state senator, -- stephanie bice, former state senator. one of the congressional seats that republicans flipped in november. the freshman president for the democrats is nakima williams of georgia, and she spoke to us about how she got involved in politics at a very early age. >> my grandfather was always involved in elections, never
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missed a vote. i remember being a little girl and being on the back of his pickup truck and we would pass out cards to our neighbors to make sure that they knew who to vote for -- spoiler alert, they were all democrats -- but that was what i did. i did not realize it was political. i didn't realize the impact it would have on my life and encouraging me to be more civic the involved. aunt,mber knowing that my she did something special growing up, but as a child he did not stand out to me until i was in the ninth grade. in my history book, i remember coming home and saying, onto is mentioned in my alabama history book! that was a powerful moment for me. i come from very, very humble beginnings. like i said, i grew up in a home with no indoor plumbing, and no indoor water. i know what it is like to need
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extra support from our government to have services, to make sure i can move forward in this country. so a little girl from my ground being able to move to one of the highest offices in the land, it me.ot lost upon that is why i will always center those most marginalized in my decision-making process and make sure i am uplifting others and bringing folks along with me. >> you were raised by your grandparents, what influence do they have on you? >> everything. my grandparents were my everything. my grandpa was add, people always wanted it to stand for something, and he was, like, no, that was just my name. my grandma was mary. i have my grandparents' name, williams. i often think back to all of the sacrifices they made for me. they raised my children and i was the 10th child. after all they have been through
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in raising children of their own and then raising me, i am forever grateful for everything that they have instilled in me, and the value of education, the value of hard work, and never allowing anyone to tell you that you can't accomplish something. my grandparents were my first cheerleaders and always told me that i could do anything i wanted to accomplish. one story that stands out, and remember i always really made good grades in school. one spelling test in second grade, i made a 100 on the spelling test but i did not get the bonus, so i didn't get 110. and my grandma was, like, if you can make 100, you can make 110. i never came home without a 110 after the. so i have always been taught since the very beginning to give everything my very best and i can achieve anything i want. >> what advice did they give you that still stays with you today?
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>> never settle. never let anyone tell you you can't do something. my grandma always said, you stay ready, you will be ready. that is is that we what happened in july when i had this opportunity to succeed my hero in congress, i was ready. sometimes you don't choose the moment, the moment chooses you. and that is exactly what happened to me. >> what are your concerns, fears, worries, about serving in the u.s. house? i think my concern is not having more people who are willing to look at those people who are living on the margins of our society. i know that i will do everything possible, but i cannot control the way other people vote, theirhey will center the decision-making process. whove a five-year-old son is upstairs right now in virtual kindergarten. my concern is that we don't get
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this right for our children, we don't get this right to get back to school safely. i will do everything in my power, because our children deserve people who are willing to fight for them. at this covid-19 pandemic and what we are against, we have a lot of work to do. that is top of my priority list, to get past the pandemic so we can get our economy back on track, we can address the health concerns and inequities covid-19 has so brightly shined a spotlight on, and get our children back to school safely. host: what are you most excited about? >> i am most excited about coming into congress with a democratic majority in the house. the matter how small -- people keep asking, but it is only this much of a margin -- it doesn't matter, and majority is a majority. coming from a state legislature where the three years i served in the state senate, we were in the minority, and not even a
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close minority likely had. there were lots of fights that we didn't even have a fighting chance for. so i am excited about getting to congress, being in the majority, learning from people like speaker pelosi, who have lived their life fighting for those on the margins of our society and looking at the prospects. we have a democratic president coming in, and the possibilities of even having a democratically controlled senate, there is a lot of work we can get done for the american people. >> freshman democrat nekima williams will fill the seat of late congressman john lewis. she will be representing georgia's fifth district which includes most of atlanta, and she is one of 59 freshmen for this 117th congress. we continue here on c-span with our coverage of opening day. they are in recess right now. we expect them to come back any minute.
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they have a lengthy day ahead of them because of the way they have to go about today's proceedings. normally, this is something that they could do in a few hours, but according to the schedule put out by the democratic leader, nancy pelosi, we are looking at all day possibly until 9:00. p.m. until now, they are running 45 minutes ahead of schedule. we will see if they can keep that up. looking ahead to the next two years, here is the balance of power in congress. there will be 222 democrats, 211 republicans. there are two vacancies at this point. new york's 22nd district where the race is still undecided between democratic incumbent ranizzi and the republican claudia tennent, who served in the 100 50th congress and then ran to get the seat
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back. there are 29 votes separating the two, with the former congresswoman in the lead. there are several ballots. being contested by both candidates. louisiana's fifth congressional district left open by the death of representative elect luke let leftlow. he died from a heart attack related to covid-19 complications. then that 117th congress is going to lose a few members as well, that is because president-elect joe biden had asked three of them to join his administration. cedric richmond, democrat of louisiana. they will be sworn in today and then leave d.c. he will become a senior advisor to the president-elect. and then marcia fudge, democrat of ohio, numb and the housing and urban development secretary. and deb howland, democrat of new mexico, nominated as interior secretary. if she is confirmed by the
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senate she would become the native-american to serve in that role. waiting for the congressman to come back from their recess. when they do they will move on to the election of speaker. expecting the democratic caucus chair along with the republican conference chair, they are going to be giving their speaker nomination remarks. and, of course, the democratic caucus chair will be delivering remarks for the democratic leader, nancy pelosi. and the republican conference chair, for the leader of the republicans, house minority leader kevin mccarthy. they are in a break right now so they can clean the chamber. when they come back from the break, we will go to the house at that point. before voting occurs for the speaker, the clerk is going to appoint tellers. the democratic leader, nancy
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pelosi gets to pick two democrats to serve as the vote counters. republicans get to pick two of their own. they are responsible for counting the votes. how they do it is by listening to lawmakers coming into the chamber and saying somebody's present.they can say as we have been telling you all pelosi, the democratic leader as she wants to serve as leader of the democratic congress, she needs the majority of the lawmakers here in washington today to say her name to become the speaker. once the votes are counted, they will address the speaker from the dais.
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if nancy pelosi wins, she will be escorted by steny hoyer, majority leader, james clyburn the minorit majority whip, hakem jeffries, democratic caucus chair, along with other leaders along with other leaders of the democratic artery. we expect to see kevin mccarthy, republican leader, hand the gavel to support oc before she makes her address. what we can expect in the coming hours today. before the speaker addresses the lawmakers, she will be sworn in by the dean of the house. this is the longest-serving member, don young of alaska, republican. 87 years old, first elected in 1973. when the speaker is sworn in, she will swear in the other house members. the swearing in all be conducted in groups of 72 as well with the first group being all freshmen
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members. after that, the groups will be divided alphabetically amongst all those returning members. watch for that later this afternoon as well. they are cleaning the chamber right now. when they are finished, they will come out of this break and reconvene. that, let me show you a little bit of our interview with scott wong, reporter on capitol hill. ong serves as congressional reporter for the hell. thank you for joining us on this day. we heard about speaker pelosi, the vote she faces. technicalities, what makes to happen for her to secure another term as house speaker? guest: there are several factors here. not expectedhe was to be in such a tight situation in terms of the democratic majority margin. we are looking at 222 votes for
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the democrats to about 211 seats for the republicans. she had actually expected to grow that majority in these last elections in november. what happened was they actually lost 13 democratic seats, which was a tremendous blow not only to her caucus, but to her ability to manage the house of representatives. that is going to manifest itself in this speaker vote. she has very tight margin to maneuver. room for that, twomeans is years ago she saw 15 democrats defect from her and vote against her for speaker or vote present or vote for somebody else. she will not be able to afford 50 defections this time. already, we are hearing from a handful of moderate democrats
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including one from michigan, and maine, who say they simply will not vote for her. that does not leave her much room for everyone else to defect. we are also hearing from handful insurgents like jamal bowman in new york and corey bush in missouri. they have not committed to voting for speaker pelosi either. the other thing to watch is the coronavirus. although pelosi is exuding a lot of confidence about this vote today, what she has privately told people, democrats on a conference call lately, she is running for speaker and challenged that she has pointed to covid as a real because ofor her because the possibility for absences that covid could cause. -- a representative
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from wisconsin tested positive in recent days and will miss the speaker vote. what she fears and what other democrats fear is a nightmare scenario that the covid outbreak strikes the house as we have seen in the past, and takes out a number -- sidelines and number of house democrats will then miss the boat. that would put kevin mccarthy in a very unlikely situation and in a spot to possibly win the speakership if that should enfold. emerged those trends today, is there a contingency plan as far as the vote itself? guest: i have not heard of any contingency plan. what would practically happen if she was unable to secure the 218 votes for the simple majority of votes of all the voting members today, what would happen was, if nobody was able
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to secure the 218, then it could go to additional rounds of voting. thisve not really seen situation before, so i think a lot of people are holding their breath. the speakerion for of the 117th congress is just moments away as we wait for the house to reconvene. they are on a break to clean the chamber and they will come back and that is where they will move to next on this day of pomp and circumstance, opening day of the 170th congress. democratic leader -- opening day of the 117th congress. democratic leader nancy pelosi, 80-year-old, first woman to serve as speaker of the house. republicans,r the kevin mccarthy, is expected to
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get votes from the republican lawmakers today when they take a vote for speaker. of california aged 55, he has been minority leader since 2019, first elected in 2006. he was the second lieutenant under former speaker john boehmer and under former speaker ryan. coverage continues of opening day of the 117th congress of the house on c-span. c-span2 is opening day of the senate. you can watch about there. he can also go to if you are out and about or you need to leave to go about your day, you can listen on the c-span radio app as well. we have in introducing you to the new faces of the 117th congress. next one is a democrat, one of 74 veterans in the house of
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representatives. 15 of them are freshmen. we spoke to him about his military service and how he thinks that experience will help him in congress. >> it is the honor of my life to grant americans from all walks of life in pursuit of a common mission. however, it was also unfortunately a visceral realization of the futility of our mission. arepeace deal that we brokering right now with the taliban is the worst deal we could have gotten six weeks after 9/11, a national embarrassment for the 19 years we have spent in afghanistan and 16 years in iraq, which have accomplished nothing. we have got to stop the spigot of money that has now a convicted of the 16 trillion dollars. we need to bring the money home to invest in climate solutions. climate change is a true national security threat.
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i saw americans working together in a mission that was undefined and that was unachievable. the american people have constantly been lied to about afghanistan. we did not know what we were trying to accomplish, but we didn't know that it was not -- the mission building in afghanistan would not be successful ever. we only had three or four priorities. israel, two,ty of that no terrorist camps in that area can have imminent capability to strike the united states, three, the maritime commerce should be unmolested. we can accomplish all three building.ssion
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we can accomplish national security and foreign policy attention toward the pacific, specifically china. that is the core national priority. not speculation and not iraq. >> why did your military service. >> review to panama in 2014? >> i joined the marine corps special operations mission, and in that capacity, i deployed to panama as the head of a multilateral trade mission to train panamanian forces on how to do drug interdiction controls. that was an example of american military force at its best deployed. best in class training and tactics. five years later we are still doing missions to interdict drug smuggling in the united states without exposure of american lives and expenditure of american dollars. >> you are 32 years old.
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what you think all of these experiences that you have had at this age and your youth brings to the table? in washington? >> i have had experience in the military in business and local government bringing people together. that is what my constituents want to see, bringing people together to get our biggest challenges result. as a millennial, i think i am well positioned to take on the defining challenges of our generation -- climate change. how do we fight climate change and transition to a clean energy economy, while doing so creating jobs that include everybody? how do we truly address systemic racism and become a country that works for all communities of color, for working families, for been, anybody who has not included in this great american experiment. how do we take on gun safety? is a veteran, i have a platform to speak about the fact that --
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[inaudible] these are challenges that animate me and will inspire me as i go into congress, and that will be the hallmarks of my career. >> the freshman, jake all can close, will represent massachusetts's fourth district, it is held by joe kennedy, who declined to run for reelection and pursued an unsuccessful bid for senate. we are waiting for the congress to come back in. greg kaplan, our producer tweeting that the democratic leader has been seen in the chamber. u.s. eating the ceremonial swearing-in of senators, the vice president, mike pence, swearing in those members. let's watch.


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