Home News+Pop Culture ICYMI: New year kicks off with a new Congress

ICYMI: New year kicks off with a new Congress

Happy first Monday of 2021. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ushers in a new Congress.

Yesterday, the 117th Congress was sworn in, marking the most diverse elected group yet. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was reelected as head, and specifically noted “a record-shattering 122 women” were voted to the House. Her welcoming of the new session acknowledged the grim status of the United States: 350,000 dead from COVID-19, 20 million infected, millions without jobs. 

“Indeed, the pandemic has pulled back the curtain on and shown even worsened disparities in our economy and our society,” Pelosi said. “We must pursue justice: economic justice, justice in health, racial justice, environmental and climate justice. The list goes on.” 

Cha-cha-changes 

She also announced the formation of a committee on economic disparity and fairness in growth. The bipartisan group will recommend proposals to power fair economic growth to make the economy work for everyone and will work with the Committees of Jurisdiction. 

Though Pelosi remains in her leadership position, the swearing in of the 117th Congress is seen as the beginning of a new chapter. Incoming democrats like Rep. Cori Bush mark favorability for more progressive leadership. Bush is Missouri’s first ever Black congresswoman and represents the state’s first congressional district, which includes St. Louis and Ferguson. She brings with her experience as a nurse, pastor, single mom and “Ferguson-made” activist.   

“I walk in the footsteps of powerful Black women who opened the doors for this to be possible,” Bush said. “I hold this title alongside the Black women who fought for justice on the frontlines of Ferguson and who continue to organize in St. Louis for a more just world.”  

All eyes on Georgia.

The swearing in comes just days before the Georgia Senate runoff election, which will decide which party is in control.  Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are running to defend their seats against Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively. Polling closes at 7 p.m. It is likely the certified winners will be announced several days later. 

Earlier today, Perdue criticized Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for recording a phone call with President Donald Trump, in which Trump pressures Raffensperger to overturn the election. Georgia has a one-party consent law for audio recordings of conversations.

“So look, all I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said. You can find the full transcript here. 

Though it’s unclear if there will be actual legal ramifications, CNN presidential historian Timothy Naftali noted, “At the very least it’s an abuse of presidential power, which in a normal time would be impeachable.” 

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Haley Bosselmanhttps://haleybosselman.wordpress.com/
Haley Bosselman is the former editor-in-chief of Culturas. She holds degrees in journalism from Arizona State University and the University of Southern California. Based in Los Angeles, she writes about arts, entertainment and culture.
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