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Navajo Nation Washington Office

Thursday 3, January 2019

Contact: Jared King
Communications Director


116th Congress convenes today

WASHINGTON—The 116th Congress gaveled in today at noon. On this first day of business, the members are sworn in and a number of measures are adopted including the adoption of rules, the election of the speaker and other leaders.

The number of elected Native Americans to Congress has increased by two with the swearing in of Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, who represents New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District and Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, who represents Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. They will join Tom Cole, Chickasaw Nation, R-Okla., and Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee Nation, R-Okla., as the only members of Congress who are enrolled tribal citizens.

Today’s events in the House will be ceremonial but also substantive. There will be changes of all House committees’ chairmanships, changing to Democrat control. The committees will also have full subpoena power and the new speaker will have the power of the Congressional calendar.

House Democrats will work to determine legislative priorities including investigations of the current administration, appropriations, and legislation to end the federal government shutdown. The House is expected to pass legislation to end the federal government shutdown, however, it is not expected to pass the Senate. If the Senate does not pass the House version, the shutdown will likely continue into next week.


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