A New Congress
January 11, 2019
The 116th U.S. Congress opened on January 3. It is the most diverse Congress in history.
The Senate and the House of Representatives include more women than ever before. Among the new House members are Native Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and African Americans.
Democrat Nancy Pelosi has been elected Speaker of the House. She first served as Speaker from 2007 to 2011. As she took the oath of office, Pelosi was surrounded by her grandchildren. Other House members’ children and grandchildren joined them. After being sworn in, Pelosi said, “I now call the House to order on behalf of all of America’s children.”
The House then passed bills to reopen parts of the government that have been closed since December 22. That is when the government shutdown began over President Donald Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion to begin building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
The new House bills are unlikely to pass the Senate, since they do not include money for the wall. At press time, the shutdown had entered its third week. It affects some 800,000 federal employees nationwide. None are being paid.
In the meantime, some senators support voting on House bills to reopen government agencies. “Let’s get those reopened while the negotiations continue,” Republican Susan Collins, of Maine, said on NBC’s Meet the Press.