Wednesday officially marked the start of the 112th Congress with all members ready to take on a new cycle of legislation.
In an event that included the entrance of 87 first-term republicans, Representative Buck McKeon of Santa Clarita was beginning his tenth term in office.
Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered right to your inbox.
The occasion was bit different this time, however, as McKeon will embark on a new journey as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Following Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony in the nation’s capital, McKeon spoke of his new role as well as the Republican Party’s new rules as the Congressional majority.
“The Speaker (of the House) plans on re-empowering the committees, doing the work in the committees, having time for the committees to do their work,” McKeon said.
McKeon briefly discussed a few of the new rules the republicans will implement, including a policy to make a proposed bill available on the Internet for at least three days before it undergoes the voting process.
“That will set a new standard for transparency and openness,” he said.
McKeon said he hopes the new schedule and makeup of the subcommittees will increase bipartisanship and allow time for representatives to do their work in Washington and in their home districts.
“I’ve talked to democrats. They tell me they like the schedule – they like what they see so far,” he said. “I think as time goes on they’ll like it even more because they’ll be able to plan for the schedule.”
McKeon also addressed his hopes for the House Armed Services Committee, which he will head. “There’s been a lot of talk about cutting defense and that’s something I’m really not in support of especially when we’re fighting two wars. It’s just something I can’t stand for.
“I hear people say ‘we want to cut the military.’ I don’t know what they mean by that. I’d like to cut the waste – maybe they’re saying the same thing. If they’re actually talking about cutting the top line for the defense, then I’d have a real problem with that.”
Congress will meet tomorrow, where the entire Constitution will be read out loud.