Janice Hahn takes seat in Congress

Janice Hahn was officially sworn in as California's newest member of Congress on Tuesday, one week after her special election victory in the state's 36th U.S. House district.

The former Los Angeles councilwoman took the oath of office in the well of the House chamber, administered by Speaker John Boehner.

"Americans are counting on us now more than ever to solve their problems, and working together with courage and in good faith, I believe we can and we will," Hahn said in brief remarks to the chamber after being sworn in.

Hahn also noted the death of her mother just one day before her election, saying it was the first accomplishment she would not share with her.

Reps. Pete Stark (D-Fremont) and David Dreier (R-San Dimas), the senior Democrat and chair of the California Republican delegation, respectively, also delivered floor statements welcoming her to the 112th Congress.

Hahn, a Democrat in an area where her party enjoys an 18-point registration edge, defeated Republican Craig Huey, 54.6% to 45.4% on July 12.

She takes office as the debate over the debt ceiling nears a climactic moment. One of her first votes will be on the Republican "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan, which would cut spending by $111 billion in 2012 and cap future outlays to 19.9% of the nation's gross domestic output.

Hahn replaces Jane Harman, who resigned in February to lead a Washington think tank, the Woodrow Wilson International Center. Harman returned to the House to witness Hahn's swearing in.

With Hahn now seated, the balance of power in the chamber stands at 240 Republicans and 193 Democrats. There are two vacancies: the Nevada seat vacated by Republican Dean Heller, who resigned after being appointed to the Senate; and the New York seat formerly held by Democrat Anthony Weiner, who resigned over a sexting scandal.

Both seats will be filled during special elections on Sept. 13. Democrats have won the previous two special elections, including one for a seat that was previously held by a Republican.

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