Republicans Read United States Constitution On The House Floor

House Republicans read the Constitution on the House floor Tuesday morning (February 7th, 2023), following through — though delayed — on a pledge Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made after the GOP won control of the chamber last year.

McCarthy in November — before winning the Speaker’s gavel — wrote on Twitter that lawmakers would “read every single word of the Constitution aloud from the floor of the House” during “the very first day of the new Republican-led Congress.”

On Tuesday, more than one month into the new Congress, McCarthy made good on that promise.

“This morning we will read the full text of the United States Constitution. The text read today reflects the changes to the Constitution made by the 27 amendments. Those portions superseded by amendment will not be read,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on the House floor.

McCarthy kicked off the reading, which ran for slightly more than 40 minutes.

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America,” he said.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Republican Reps. Kevin Kiley (Calif.), Ben Cline (Va.), Laurel Lee (Fla.), Nathaniel Moran (Texas), Mike Johnson (La.), Russell Fry (S.C.), Harriet Hageman (Wyo.) also read portions of the Constitution.

In addition to McCarthy’s November tweet, House Republicans passed a rules package last month that said, “The Speaker may recognize a Member for the reading of the Constitution on any legislative day through February 28, 2023.”

House lawmakers first recited the Constitution from the floor of the chamber in 2011, according to The Washington Post. That time, however, the reading was bipartisan — then-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) recited the first lines of the document, followed by then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Republicans won control of the House in November, though by a far smaller margin than was initially expected. The GOP controls the chamber with 222 seats, and Democrats occupy 212 seats.

That slim majority complicated McCarthy’s path to the Speakership. It took the House 15 ballots to elect a Speaker after a contingent of GOP lawmakers came out against the California Republican.

He made the Constitution pledge before locking up the Speakership.

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