On the first day of the 114th Congress on Tuesday, Texans were players in the House and the Senate as Republicans claimed control of both chambers, taking the Senate for the first time since 2007.
In the House, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, was part of a failed bid by hard-right conservatives to replace Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
In the Senate, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was sworn in after winning a third term and became the chamber’s No. 2 leader, the Senate majority whip.
The festive mood that typifies the first day of Congress was somewhat muted in the House during a roll call vote for speaker as several Republicans challenged Boehner.
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There were 25 Republican votes for alternatives to Boehner, although Gohmert received only three of them: from Reps. Randy Weber of Pearland, Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma and himself.
Freshman Rep. Brian Babin, R-Woodville, voted “present,” the only member to do so.
The two other Texas freshmen, Republicans Will Hurd of Helotes and John Ratcliffe of Heath, supported Boehner.
The Republican members who represent portions of Tarrant County – Joe Barton, Michael Burgess, Kay Granger, Kenny Marchant and Roger Williams – all backed Boehner.
Rep. Marc Veasey of Fort Worth, the Tarrant County delegation’s sole Democrat, voted for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for speaker, as did the overwhelming majority of her party’s lawmakers.
On the Senate side, there was something of an awkward moment as Cornyn was escorted to his swearing-in by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who didn’t support Cornyn in the 2014 GOP primary.
By tradition, a state’s senator elected most recently is escorted by the member’s home-state colleague.
Cornyn afterward tweeted, “Congratulations to all of my new colleagues being sworn in today. I look forward to working with you in the 114th Congress.”
There were families and children in the House chamber, as well as some former members, including Democrat Martin Frost, who represented northern Texas from 1979 until 2005. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, was seated with his twin brother, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.