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California in Congress

Jimmy Gomez scheduled to be sworn in more than a month after he was elected to Congress

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

Rep.-elect Jimmy Gomez is scheduled to be sworn into Congress on July 11, the day the House returns from its July Fourth recess, according to a senior Democratic aide.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) complained about the 34th Congressional District's "elongated vacancy" in a letter Tuesday, calling the three-week span since the June 6 Los Angeles special election "an abdication" of Gomez' responsibilities.

Gomez, a current Democratic state assemblyman, told The Times after the election he would try to delay his Assembly resignation to vote on extending the state's cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas. He's since said he could not be sworn in with other new members of Congress this week because of a family conflict.

Discussions on cap-and-trade have dragged on in Sacramento, and it appeared Democrats were delaying Gomez' swearing in, and Assembly resignation, to help Gov. Jerry Brown pass the bill with a two-thirds majority before the Legislature leaves on July 21.

The office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) pushed back on McCarthy on Wednesday, saying Republicans should worry about getting their own house in order.

“As the majority leader well knows, the Republican majority has canceled votes the last two Fridays because there is nothing to vote on. While we appreciate his interest in having a full complement of Democrats in Congress, perhaps his time would be better spent identifying exactly what and where the Republican agenda is,” said Pelosi spokeswoman Caroline Behringer.

It is unusual for so much time to pass between a special election and the winner taking office. In the last several congresses, the time between a special election and its winner taking the oath averaged one week.

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