Historic: Ernst Takes Oath, Seat in Senate

By Barton, Thomas J | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), January 7, 2015 | Go to article overview

Historic: Ernst Takes Oath, Seat in Senate


Barton, Thomas J, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


House re-elects Boehner as speaker; Blum among opposition The U.S. House has re-elected John Boehner to be speaker in the new Republican-led Congress, despite opposition by tea party lawmakers that underscored party divisions. The Ohio Republican garnered the votes of 216 GOP lawmakers as Congress convened Tuesday. That was enough for him to win a third two-year term leading the House. But 25 Republicans voted for other candidates or voted present, considering Boehner to be too accommodating and not conservative enough. Iowa's Rod Blum voted against Boehner in his first floor vote. Instead, Blum favored U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., who was backed by fellow Iowa Congressman Steve King. Despite Boehner having campaigned for Blum in October in Hiawatha, the Dubuque Republican said in a statement that he "must follow the will of the eastern Iowans who rejected politics as usual in November and are calling for change." "I was elected by Iowans to stand up to the status quo in Washington, D.C., and I refuse to turn my back on them with my first vote," Blum said. Iowa Democratic Party spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said in a statement she was disappointed to see Blum "cozying up" to a tea party extremist in King, who is known for his incendiary comments on immigration, health care and minorities. key quotations - U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, Wis., on start of the 114th Congress: "Now is the time for Congress to adopt some Wisconsin commonsense values by joining together and finding common ground. Working together, we can strengthen our economy by partnering with middle-class families and businesses to promote pro- growth policies. This is an opportunity to govern pragmatically and responsibly, and move away from the legislating based on crisis management like we've seen in years past. We have to move past the 'my way' or 'no way' approach that has become all too common around here." Kind said Congress needs to find solutions to grow the middle class, fix the outdated tax code, make smart infrastructure investments, address the student loan debt crisis, and lower the deficit by reining in spending. - U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, Ill., vows to keep fighting for middle class: "As I've done during the last two years, I will work each and every day with a spirit of bipartisanship and Midwestern common sense to bring jobs, economic opportunity and a better future to the middle class. "I remain steadfastly committed to protecting Medicare and Social Security for seniors, advocating for our nation's veterans and working across the aisle to reduce the deficit and balance the budget." - Durbin sworn in to fourth term: Assistant Democratic Leader U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, of Illinois, was sworn in to his fourth term as a U.S. senator. He was escorted to his swearing-in on the Senate floor by U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. Durbin continues his role as the lead Democrat in the day-to-day action of the Senate. As the assistant Democratic leader -- also known as the Democratic whip -- he is responsible for counting votes and monitoring legislation for the caucus on the Senate floor. "During my time in the Senate, I have worked to create good-paying jobs, promote Illinois businesses and ensure that our state is receiving its fair share of federal funding," Durbin said in a statement. "As the reins of power in the Senate change hands today for the first time in eight years, my focus on protecting these investments has sharpened. We can, and we must, come together and work across the aisle in order to meet America's biggest challenges. As a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, I will make certain that when negotiations are taking place and decisions are being made, Illinoisans will have a seat at the table and a voice in the halls of power."Iowa officially has its first woman serving in Congress.

Republican Joni Ernst was sworn in Tuesday, with Vice President Joe Biden administering the oath of office. …

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