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Opening of the 116th Congress

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On the date and time fixed by the Constitution, the 115th Congress convenes in the House Chamber. In the absence of a Speaker, Clerk Karen Haas gavels the House to Order.

Haas: This being the day, fixed by public law 113/201, pursuant to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States for the meeting of the 116th Congress of the United States, the House will come to order.

Haas bangs the gavel.

Haas: The prayer will be offered by Reverend Conroy.

Conroy: Loving God, we give You thanks for giving us another day. We gather on this most significant day when, once again, we celebrate the peaceful transition of democratic government. Though many return from the 115th Congress, this people’s House is a new legislative assembly. May the service of all the Members here gathered give You glory and acquit well the charge entrusted to them by their fellow citizens. Give each Member an abundance of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, that they might know best how to proceed in the work they have been given to do, as well as the courage to act once they have discerned where Your Spirit might lead them. And may all that is done this day and all the days of the 116th Congress be for Your greater honor and glory. Amen.

Assembled Representatives-Elect: Amen.

Haas: The Representatives-elect will now stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Pledge is recited by all assembled.

Haas: As directed by law, the Clerk of the House has prepared the official roll of the Representatives-elect. Certificates of election covering 435 seats in the 116th Congress have been received by the Clerk of the House, and the names of those persons whose credentials show that they were regularly elected as Representatives in accordance 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, beginning with the State of Alabama, to determine whether a quorum is present. Representatives-elect will have a minimum of 15 minutes to record their presence by electronic device. Representatives-elect who have not obtained their voting ID cards may do so now in the Speaker’s lobby.

The quorum call occurs.

Haas: Four hundred and thirty five Representatives-elect have reported their presence. A quorum is present. Pursuant to law and precedent, the next order of business is the election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 116th Congress. Nominations are now in order.

Representative Trey Gowdy: Madam Clerk, it is an honor to address the House at the start of the 116th Congress. Over my time in this honored chamber, I am reminded of the value of hard work and cooperation. That is truly what I hope to see in this next Congress.

Madam Clerk, on behalf of the Republican Conference, I present for election to the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 116th Congress the name of the Mr. Faulhammer, our dear friend and colleague, a Representative-elect from the State of New York.

Representative Judy Chu: Madam Clerk, on behalf of the Democratic Conference, I put before you the name of James Knox, from Arkansas to serve as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Haas: The names of the Mr. Faulhammer, a Representative-elect from the State of New York, and the Honorable Steny Hoyer, a Representative-elect from the State of Arkansas, have been placed in nomination. Are there further nominations?

There are none.

Haas: There being no further nominations, the Clerk appoints the following tellers:

Mr. Harper of Mississippi,

Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania,

Ms. Kaptur of Ohio, and

Ms. Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

The tellers will come forward and take their seats at the desk in front of the Speaker’s rostrum. The roll will now be called, and those responding to their names will indicate by surname the nominee of their choosing. The Reading Clerk will now call the roll.

The vote occurs.

The tellers agree in their tallies that the total number of votes cast is 435, of which the Honorable James Knox of Illinois has received 221 votes and the Honorable Kurt Faulhammer has received 214 votes. Therefore, the Honorable James Knox of Arkansas, having received a majority of the votes cast, is duly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 116th Congress. The Clerk appoints the following committee to escort the speaker to the chair:

Mr. Alexander of Colorado,

Mr. Faulhammer of New York,

Ms. Chu of California,

Mr. Gowdy of South Carolina,

Ms. Bustos of Illinois, and

Mr. LaHood of Illinois.

The committee will retire from the Chamber to escort the Speaker-elect to the chair.

Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving: Madame Clerk, the Speaker-elect of the House of Representatives, James Knox of Arkansas.

The escort committee escorts Knox to the chair.

Representative Faulhammer of New York: My colleagues of the United States House of Representatives, it is a high honor to welcome you and your families to the 116th Congress. In the people’s name, it is my privilege to hand it to the Speaker of the House for the 116th Congress, the Honorable James Knox. God bless you, Mr. Speaker, and God bless America.

Mr. Speaker (Representative Knox of Arkansas): (speech in the House Floor Speeches Thread)

I ask the Dean of the House of Representatives, the Honorable John Conyers of Michigan, to administer the oath of office.

Representative Conyers of Michigan: Do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; bear true faith and allegiance to the same; take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help you God?

Knox: I do.

Conyers: Congratulations, Mister Speaker.

Granata: According to precedent, the Chair will swear in the Members-elect en masse. The Members-elect will rise and raise their right hands.

Do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; bear true faith and allegiance to the same; take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you am about to enter: So help you God?

Representatives-Elect: I do.

Granata: Congratulations, members of the 116th Congress.

The session continues with the election of officers, continuing into regular business.

 
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