Tuesday, January 3, 2017

115th Congress sworn in amid plans for 'swift action'

Many members of Congress were joined by their families today as they were sworn in to begin the legislative body's 115th term, while Western Republicans in the House of Representatives vowed "swift action" on jobs, health care and other issues.

The north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who begins his third term, said on Facebook today he was joined on the House floor by two of his daughters for the swearing-in.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., whose district includes the Klamath Basin, promised to move quickly on legislation: From a news release:
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) predicted swift action on growing jobs, fixing health care, and doing away with excessive federal regulations as the new session of Congress convenes today.

“I’m excited about the new session of Congress kicking-off today,” said Walden in a video message. “I’ll take over as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, where we will address the real issues that hold back job growth and wage growth in America, and reform how our health care is delivered, so that it is patient-centered and doctor-centered. And then we are going to take on these excessive and unnecessary rules and regulations as well. I think it is a new chapter in American history. We’re looking forward to the inauguration coming up and a lot of work getting done this year.”

In December, Walden was selected to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee. As Chairman, Walden will oversee a broad legislative portfolio that includes health care, energy policy, telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, environmental quality, and interstate and foreign commerce. Walden is the first Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman from the Pacific Northwest.
The San Joaquin Valley's Rep. David Valadao, a key player in water legislation, issued the following release:
This afternoon, U.S. Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) was sworn in to the United States House of Representatives following a ceremonial swearing-in conducted by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI).

Congressman Valadao was joined by his wife, Terra and his three children Conner (14), Madeline (10), and Lucas (6) for the ceremony.

Following the ceremony, Rep. Valadao said, "I am beyond humbled to be sworn in to the 115th Congress today." He continued, "Having the opportunity to represent my Central Valley constituents for a third term is an unbelievable honor and I am eager to continue our fight improving our economy, securing a reliable water supply, protecting our veterans, and reforming our education system."
The picture above is some political levity courtesy of LaMalfa field representative Erin Ryan. For her part, Ryan disputed reports that the House ethics committee was being "dismantled." In an email, she wrote:
You may have heard that they were going to vote to dismantle the ethics office today in the House. It might have been just a tiny bit more factual to let you know that the House ethics committee that has been there for a zillion years was not being “dismantled”. The ethics oversight committee that WAS under review was created by Nancy Pelosi in 2008 and has been accused on more than one occasion of starting witch hunts. Nobody was going to get away with any ethics violations by getting rid of Nancy’s pet project no matter how much they spin this.

This is the first of many “oh my gosh, the Republicans are so corrupt” issues that will be churned out by the DNC. [...] Always remember, if it sounds really over-the-top crazy it probably is and some facts have probably been omitted.
While Erin targeted the Democrats for ridicule, she made no mention of the folks at Breitbart, who characterized the ethics-panel brouhaha as a "humiliation" for the GOP. It goes to show that political wrangling may sometimes resemble a three-way fight in the months ahead.

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