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115th Congress to convenes today

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, January 3, 2017, the House of Representatives will convene for the first session of the 115th Congress. All of the incumbents in the Alabama Congressional delegation are returning.

US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) has been nominated as US Attorney General by President-elect Donald Trump. If Sessions is confirmed, it will create a vacancy in the Senate, and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley will appoint his successor. Sen. Sessions will remain in the Senate until confirmed. Bentley will also decide when to set the special election for the seat, which can be up to two year years from now.

US Representative Bradley Byrne said in a statement on social media, “As Congress returns to session tomorrow, the focus will be on regulatory reform and setting the stage to roll back expensive regulations from the Obama Administration. While many government regulations may not apply to you directly, they often result in higher costs for American families. That is why regulatory reform is so very important.”

US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) posted on social media, “As 2017 approaches, I’m committed to making some changes for hardworking Americans, starting with providing relief from burdensome policies like Obamacare and others.”

At 8:45 a.m. ET, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and his family will join members of Congress for an interfaith service at St. Peter’s on Capital Hill. At noon, the Clerk of the House, Karen L. Haas, will convene the House with a quorum call, followed by the election of Speaker. After the Speaker’s remarks, accepting the gavel, he will be sworn in by the Dean of the House, Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan). Speaker Ryan is expected to win re-election, and will then swear in all members simultaneously—a tradition that dates back to the opening of the 71st Congress in 1929.

While the new Congress begins today, President Barack Obama will not leave office until January 20. Congress assumes power ahead of the President because, under the Constitution, the House of Representatives certifies the Electoral College results and would actually elect the President if no one managed to win the majority of the electors’ votes.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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