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A New Congress

ROLL CALL Lawmakers stand to be counted in the House chamber on opening day of the U.S. Congress. JABIN BOTSFORD—THE WASHINGTON POST/GETTY IMAGES

The 118th United States Congress opened on January 3. Newly elected lawmakers were to be sworn in: 75 in the House of Representatives and seven in the Senate. This year, the Republican party has a majority in the House. Democrats control the Senate.

There are 149 women in this Congress, the most ever. Fifty-eight are women of color, another record.

The first task for each party was to swear in its leaders. House Democrats have chosen Hakeem Jeffries, of New York. He’s the first Black party leader in Congress. At press time, Republicans had not agreed on a leader. Without a Speaker of the House, the chamber can’t swear in its new members. And it can’t begin the work of governing.

Chuck Schumer returned as majority leader of the Senate Democrats. Mitch McConnell is the Republican minority leader. Vice President Kamala Harris administered the oath of office to senators. “You all belong,” she said. “That’s the beauty of our democracy.”

Stop and Think! What does “at press time” mean? Why is this phrase used in the story? What does it tell us about the news?