Virginia’s new Congress members take oath as government shutdown continues

NBC12, HEATHER SULLIVAN

It’s a new day on Capitol Hill as newly elected Congress members and Senators took the oath of office.

Some of Virginia’s new legislators help make this the most diverse Congress in history.

However, one problem remains. The government is still closed as the showdown continues over funding a border wall with Mexico.

The swearing-in ceremony was a historic one with a big change for Virginia’s District 7. The first woman and first Democrat elected there in 50 years, Abigail Spanberger, took the oath of office after tweeting a photo with her excited daughters.

“I’m excited for swearing in and to get to work frankly,” Spanberger told reporters.

Virginia now has a historic three women Representatives after November’s Democratic surge.

Meantime in Central Virginia, Democrat Don McEachin of District 4 and Republican Rob Whittman of District 1 were re-elected. Republican Denver Riggleman is starting his first term representing District 5.

Democrats now control the House and elected Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. She stands firm against funding President Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

“How many more times do we say no? Nothing for the wall,” she told the Today Show.

Central Virginia’s new freshmen lawmakers say they’re eager to end the government shutdown, but a compromise is yet to be reached.

“I’m excited to be voting to get the government back functioning today. That is a top priority for so many of us new Congress members,” said Democrat Abigail Spanberger.

But Republican Denver Riggleman has a different take, saying, “We need to secure the border. Then we can go into negotiations about how we streamline immigration, especially for my constituents who need to those H-2A workers in our district.”

In the Senate, Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine was sworn in for a second term in the chamber where Republicans have control and demand the border wall be funded.

The House is expected to vote on two new funding bills tonight aimed at re-opening the government. But Senate Republicans and President Trump say they won’t even vote on a bill that doesn’t fund the wall.

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