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As cap-and-trade deal lingers, Jimmy Gomez has still not been sworn in to Congress

 (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Rep.-elect Jimmy Gomez will probably not be sworn in as downtown Los Angeles’ newest member of Congress until at least July 10, more than a month after he was elected to fill the empty seat in the 34th Congressional District.

Gomez, a current state assemblyman, told The Times after the election he would try to delay his Assembly resignation to help Democrats reach a two-thirds vote on extending the state's cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas.

Democrats hold 55 of 80 Assembly seats, more than needed for a two-thirds vote, but Gomez could be an important vote if legislative leaders can’t get some moderate Democrats on board. The high vote threshold is intended to insulate the program from future legal challenges.

After a cap-and-trade deal wasn’t included as part of the state budget vote this month, Gomez told The Times that his congressional swearing-in date would be up to House leadership. He repeated that Monday.

"I gave a commitment to be available for cap and trade until June 15 ... and I notified [Minority] Leader [Nancy] Pelosi's office that anytime after the 15th I would be ready to be sworn-in, except the week of June 26th because [of] a family scheduling conflict," Gomez said by text message Monday.

Because of the House's weeklong July Fourth holiday, Gomez isn't likely to be sworn in until at least July 10. 

Discussions on the cap-and-trade program escalated between Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders in Sacramento late last week, but they have yet to unite on a single bill.

Brown would like to strike a deal in July, and state lawmakers leave Sacramento for a monthlong break on July 21.

Residents of the 34th District have been without a congressman since late January, when Xavier Becerra resigned to become California's attorney general.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Monday will swear in Reps.-elect Karen Handel (R-Ga.) and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), who were both elected last week. The speaker’s spokeswoman said Friday that Ryan wanted to do all three ceremonies at once, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) had not signed off on Gomez’s swearing-in. (Her staff pointed to his family scheduling conflict as the reason.)

If Gomez stays in the Assembly for the cap-and-trade vote, it could be his last vote as a member of the majority party for some time.

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