Right now, a trailblazer in a silver pixie cut is being sworn in as a freshman member of the United States Congress House of Representatives. New Jersey has never before sent a Black woman to Congress; she becomes our first. BWC is a solid New Jersey Democrat – a former chair of the state party – but more importantly she’s been a person of bedrock progressive and Democratic values who actually stood up for those values in recent years when lesser Democrats caved, undermined working families and helped Gov. Christie build his legend.
I’m going to miss her voice in the NJ Legislature, but I will be grateful to see it raised up in Congress.
Today is Swearing-In Day for the 114th Congress, a day of pomp and circumstance and of politics; today for the first time in 8 years, Republicans assume full control of Congress. Following the late-morning oath-taking, Congress convenes at noon, so directed by the Constitution.
In the Senate, VP Joe Biden will preside, with Mitch McConnell ascending to Majority Leader. House Speaker John Boehner faces a leadership challenge from his right (if that’s possible) from Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas. Boehner will prevail, but it’s messy. House Republicans are still dealing with the scandal of their Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s cozying up to white supremacists in 2002. Scalise (of Louisiana) still has Boehner’s backing and the orangey Speaker will prevail. So, I guess House Republicans are OK with how their party smells right now. And what else is new?
Senator Cory Booker will be sworn in today, having won his re-election against Jeff Bell in November. And the House renews itself with every member of both parties, both incoming freshman like BWC and returning members; this will be the country’s 114th Congress.
I wish them each good luck today. Today, everything starts new.