Rollicking start to diverse new Congress as kids crowd in





Washington (AFP) - America's freshly sworn-in lawmakers -- a historically diverse group of Democrats and Republicans -- enjoyed a rollicking first session of the new Congress Thursday, a rowdy opening day that saw children scampering through the chamber.

The House of Representatives chamber was clogged with its 434 certified new members -- one seat remains in dispute -- along with several dozen of their children and grandkids, and hundreds of guests packing the upper-level galleries.

Democrats cheered as Nancy Pelosi won a hotly contested election for speaker. They snapped selfies with her and others in the House well.

Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, the first Native American women ever to serve in Congress, shared a warm hug after they were sworn in.

The raucous opening day, with Democrats seizing control of the House and ending the political stranglehold that President Donald Trump had on both chambers, serves as an apt metaphor for the new Congress.

But it also may foreshadow the chaotic nature of divided government that Washington now faces in the Trump era.

Among the new lawmakers are record numbers of women and African-Americans, the youngest woman elected in 29-year-old liberal sensation Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress, including Somali immigrant Ilhan Omar, who placed her hand on a Koran for her ceremonial swearing-in.

In short, a Congress that is far less male, pale and stale than ever.

"Whenever Congress looks like America, it performs better," a beaming two-term Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, himself an immigrant from India, told AFP.

It might be a bit rowdier, too -- at least it was on Thursday. Two of Krishnamoorthi's three children were in the chamber, including his nine-year-old son, who he acknowledged "was running around a lot."

- Freewheeling spirit -

The normally staid Capitol Hill atmosphere is often jettisoned on the first day of a new Congress, every two years, in favor of a more freewheeling spirit to welcome new lawmakers.

Many brought their kids onto the House floor, which at times looked more like a scene from "Daddy Day Care" than a congressional session.

One boy sitting with veteran Republicans tapped his face with a speaker's gavel, the instrument used to bring the chamber to order.

Democrat Eric Swalwell cradled his infant daughter -- born just nine weeks ago and nicknamed Cricket -- during the vote. She appeared unfazed by the commotion, except when she woke up to wail.

"Her first words were Nancy Pelosi. It was amazing!" Swalwell quipped.

Swalwell spoke of his eagerness to bring his daughter to witness the historic number of women joining Congress.

"I wanted her to experience that and tell her about it later," he said.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, more than one-fifth of the 100 women in the House and 27 female senators are mothers to young or school-age children.

Pelosi, who brought several of her grandchildren to the session, invited all little ones up to the House rostrum.

They swarmed around her as Pelosi took her oath of office.

Things were more sedate on the Senate side, where Vice President Mike Pence conducted the swearing in for the chamber's nine new members.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Warren backs congressional plan for reparations study
Warren backs congressional plan for reparations study

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Monday embraced a congressional proposal to study a framework for reparations to African-Americans hurt by the legacy of slavery as the best way to begin a "national, full-blown conversation" on the issue.

Flooded U.S. Air Force base underscores climate risk to security: experts
Flooded U.S. Air Force base underscores climate risk to security: experts
  • US
  • 2019-03-18 22:10:27Z

Flooding at a U.S. Air Force base in Nebraska that damaged buildings and forced the removal of a plane integral to the nation's nuclear attack response highlight the risks climate change poses to national security, experts said on Monday. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned whether humans cause climate change and has been angered by assessments from his military and intelligence agencies that say the phenomenon poses national security risks. Last week's "bomb cyclone" storm flooded about 60 structures including 30 buildings at the Offutt Air Force Base, said Ryan Hansen, a spokesman for the 55th Wing, a unit providing reconnaissance, intelligence and combat support to...

Kansas hopes to resurrect proof-of-citizenship voting law
Kansas hopes to resurrect proof-of-citizenship voting law

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Kansas' solicitor general on Monday called on a federal appeals court to reinstate the state's law requiring people to provide proof of citizenship before they can register to vote, saying problems with how it was enforced during the three years it was in place are fixable.

Poll: Half of Americans say Trump is victim of a 'witch hunt' as trust in Mueller erodes
Poll: Half of Americans say Trump is victim of a 'witch hunt' as trust in Mueller erodes

As the Russia report seems near, a USA TODAY/Suffolk poll finds half of Americans agree Trump is the victim of a "witch hunt," and trust in Mueller erodes.

Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey's Grief Over New Zealand Turns To Anger Against Trump

Carrey's new artwork shows Trump's head, with an angry, soulless expressionand a Nazi swastika on the forehead, as a blazing asteroid streaking towardEarth

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Gadgets

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.