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The 117th Congress sworn in Sunday; Pelosi reelected as House speaker

Nancy Pelosi
Posted at 12:07 PM, Jan 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-03 16:58:49-05

The 117th U.S. Congress is beginning after the House and Senate gaveled in to swear in new members.

Both chambers held rare Sunday sessions to open the new Congress on Jan. 3, as the Constitution requires. All members of the House and roughly one-third of the Senate will be sworn in.

Nancy Pelosi was narrowly reelected Sunday as House speaker, giving her the reins of Democrats’ slender House majority as President-elect Joe Biden sets a challenging course of producing legislation to tackle the pandemic, revive the economy and address other party priorities.

The California Democrat, who has led her party in the House since 2003 and is the only woman to be speaker, had been widely expected to retain her post. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) again will be the chamber’s minority leader.

Control of the Senate is in question until Tuesday’s runoff elections for two Senate seats in Georgia. The outcome will determine which party holds the chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is declining to say much about the effort by a growing number of Republican senators to overturn the presidential election.

McConnell told a reporter Sunday at the Capitol, “We’ll be dealing with all of that on Wednesday.”

The Republican leader was referring to this week’s joint session of Congress to confirm the Electoral College tally that Joe Biden won, 306-232, defeating President Donald Trump.

McConnell has privately urged Republicans not to object to the election results. He has said it would force Republicans to essentially choose between Trump’s demands and the will of the voters.

A dozen Republican senators, and more Republicans in the House, plan to object on Wednesday.

Sen. Ted Cruz says Congress has an obligation to ensure the presidential election was lawful, explaining why he and some Republican colleagues will raise objections when Congress meets this week to certify the Electoral College vote.

He tells Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures" that the aim is to restore Americans' "confidence in our electoral system."

Numerous federal and state officials have said the election was conducted fairly and without evidence of fraud on a scale so grand that it would have altered the outcome.

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden defeated Republican President Donald Trump by some 7 million popular votes and 306-232 votes in the Electoral College.

Trump has refused to accept his loss and continues to falsely claim the election was “stolen.”

Groups of House and Senate Republicans plan to vote against certain state electors on Wednesday, but it will not halt Biden’s swearing-in as president at noon on Jan. 20.