WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tennessee’s three freshman congressman held a variety of events for supporters who made their way to Washington, D.C. for their inaugural swearing in to the 116th Congress on January 3rd.
Republicans Tim Burchett (TN-02), Mark Green (TN-07) and John Rose (TN-06) were all sworn into their first term as U.S. Representatives with their families surrounding them and later posed for pictures with the re-elected Democrat Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (CA-12).
After making their way through U.S. Capitol Police security in a line that extended outside the building, visitors on the day of the swearing in found themselves navigating crowded hallways and slow-moving elevators to arrive at legislators’ offices.
With space being limited on the House floor for the actual swearing-in ceremony, additional invited supporters and guests joined staffers in the representatives’ congressional offices, viewing the events on monitors tuned to C-SPAN.
U.S. Representatives are housed in one of the three House Office Buildings (HOB) located on Independence Avenue adjacent to the Capitol: Cannon House Office Building, Longworth House Office Building or Rayburn House Office Building. While the offices of both Burchett and Rose are in Longworth, Green is located in Cannon, the oldest of the three house office buildings. The three HOBs are connected to each other as well as the Capitol via underground tunnels.
At the mercy of the slow bureaucracy of government, visitors to the offices of Tennessee’s three freshmen representatives’ first official day would have observed various stages of readiness in terms of office supplies and equipment, with some not even having pens or trash cans available. Somehow, Green managed to be up and running to the point of only needing to hang the pictures on the walls.
Tours of the Capitol were arranged for invited guests and receptions held the evening of the swearing in.
Rose, along with several other members, held their swearing-in reception in one of the 14 meeting rooms at the Capitol Hill Club, home of the National Republican Club, which sits in the shadow of the Capitol. The Club, not affiliated with the Republican National Committee, was established in 1950 by 100 founding members as the vision of a New Jersey congressman for a national social club for Republicans. A “home away from home,” membership to the Capitol Hill Club is by invitation only and must be approved, which can be a four to six week process.
A packed private room at Carmine’s family-style Italian restaurant was the location for the Green reception.
Marsha Blackburn, sworn in to her first term as Tennessee’s first female U.S. Senator the same day, joined Green for his lively reception. In their brief comments to the crowd, both Green and Blackburn expressed their appreciation for the efforts by those in the room who helped get them to their newly-elected positions and the Senator, alluding to the swearing-in ceremonies, joked about the House, for once, taking longer than the Senate.
With previously unannounced evening votes being scheduled by Speaker Pelosi, the congressmen were forced to leave their guests behind for at least part of the celebratory festivities to make their way back to the House floor to vote. During brief remarks made in the period they were able to be at their respective events, both Green and Rose took pride in the several “no” votes they had already cast and were intending to cast later that evening.
Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.