WASHINGTON — One consequence of the standoff in the election of a House speaker is the members of Congress who, as of Friday afternoon, were still waiting to be sworn in.
GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) was getting closer to victory in the grueling, hard-fought struggle to become speaker of the new House of Representatives. On the fourth day of voting, 15 of the 20 conservative holdouts switched to him on the 12th and 13th rounds of balloting, but he was still short of the majority he needed to win.
One of the new members, Rep.-elect Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii) had planned to be sworn in on her late mother’s Bible. On what was to be her first day in office, Tokuda, wearing a lei, sent out the following message to her constituents:
“Aloha, everyone. This is member-elect, hopefully to be sworn in, Jill Tokuda from Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District.
“We just finished taking our fifth vote and for the fifth time again we voted, 212 people in support of our (Democratic) leader, Hakeem Jeffries. And yet no resulting outcome for the speaker’s race.
“Know what this really means is we’ve got 212 people standing ready to deliver for the American people. We’re ready to roll our sleeves up and get to work right now, helping our constituents, helping our community with the relief that they need. Families, workers, communities out there are struggling and they need us to be able to step up and start working right now.
“And so I will be sitting here in this building (the Capitol) whether it takes six votes, seven votes or eight votes, making sure that we’re not just swearing ourselves in and casting those votes, but we’re ready to deliver on behalf of the people of our state and our country.
“So stay tuned. Hopefully it’s not too many more votes before we can be official and really get to work and deliver the action that people need. Mahalo.”
Update: McCarthy was finally elected early Saturday morning on the 15th ballot.