WASHINGTON DC — The government may be partially shut down, but Congress was back to work on Thursday for the official opening of the 116th Congress.
Among the 434 House of Representative members sworn in was Filipino American TJ Cox of California’s 21st district.
“I’m just so excited and anxious, and very energetic about getting to work,” Cox shared.
Before the new Congress voted on any bills, members elected a new speaker of the house.
As expected, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California returned as Speaker of the House. She previously held the position from 2007 to 2011.
Pelosi officially got 220 votes out of the 430 votes on the House floor. She edged out Republican Kevin McCarthy who got 192 votes.
Pelosi is the only woman who has held the office and now one of the few who elected officials who has returned to the position
Pelosi and the new Congress are hoping to pass a new spending bill without the five billion in wall funding President Donald Trump wants.
But the majority leader of the Republican-controlled Senate has said that the House bill will not pass the Senate.
The impasse has left over 800,000 federal employees without a paycheck, since the partial government shutdown started on December 22nd.
Cox said he knows what’s at stake.
“We’ve got a real mandate to get to the work of the people, creating healthcare, jobs and better opportunity for everyone here particularly for the immigrants, the Filipinos, and Asian Americans and the rest of us here,” he said.
Along with Cox, another member of Congress with Filipino ancestry was sworn in on Thursday. Congressman Bobby Scott has been serving Virginia’s 3rd district since 1993.