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May 16, 2016

Wikinews interviews Augustus Sol Invictus, Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senate

Wikinews interviews Augustus Sol Invictus, Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senate

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Augustus Sol Invictus
Image: Bryan Rapoza.

Augustus Sol Invictus, an Orlando, Florida attorney currently seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, took part in a short interview with Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn to discuss his background, political views, and unorthodox campaign for the Senate.

Invictus, whose name was changed from his birth name to the Latin for “majestic unconquered sun”, has received media coverage for previously expressing fascistic views and participating in pagan rituals. While in law school, he penned an article advocating a eugenics program, and in 2013, he wrote a “departure memo” renouncing his U.S. citizenship and law license while announcing plans to go into the wilderness until a civil war. He returned after making a pilgrimage from Orlando to the Mojave Desert, where he fasted for a week. Upon his return to Florida, he sacrificed a goat and drank its blood. Former Libertarian Party of Florida chairman Adrian Wyllie resigned his chairmanship in protest of Invictus’s candidacy.

Though initially uncontested for the nomination, Invictus has recently received a challenge from information technology specialist Paul Stanton. Political operative Roger Stone opened an exploratory committee to consider running for the nomination but has not shown further interest. The primary election is to be held August 30. To qualify for the ballot, a candidate must either pay a US$10,000 fee or collect 100,000 signatures.

Interview[]

Background[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.png Why did you change your name to Augustus Sol Invictus?

  • Augustus Sol Invictus: I was given my name in a religious initiation when I was twenty-one. I usually analogize it to Roman Catholics taking a new name at Confirmation. No one ever changes their name legally after such an initiation, as it is usually reserved for religious pursuits. But I changed my name legally to my religious name so that my mundane and religious lives would be one.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What is your history with electoral politics? Which political candidates have you previously supported or endorsed?

  • Invictus: I have no such history, and I have never made an endorsement. I consider myself an outsider. Truth be told, I consider myself a revolutionary more than a politician.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How do you feel about Republican front-runner Donald Trump and his campaign for president?

  • Invictus: Donald Trump is a cultural icon, and for that I love him. As for his presidential campaign, I am forced to remain neutral, as I cannot endorse anyone for President without it being thought that I have adopted their platform as my own.

Invictus says outgoing Senator Marco Rubio (shown above), “is a horse-trader, a slimy smiler, the quintessential politician. He believes in nothing, save what his advisers tell him to believe in.”
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on the job Marco Rubio has done as Senator and what would you have done differently than him?

  • Invictus: I think Rubio has done just as good a job as any Senator — and that is exactly the problem. Rubio is a horse-trader, a slimy smiler, the quintessential politician. He believes in nothing, save what his advisers tell him to believe in. I would have stuck to my positions and acted as a Senator, rather than simply setting myself up for a run for the presidency.

Political views[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Do you see political correctness as a problem in today’s society? If so, what can you do as a Senator to address it?

  • Invictus: I see political correctness as a huge problem in today’s society. But whether fortunately or unfortunately, there is nothing a Senator can do to address it. I am a firm believer in the separation of powers, and the Senate has a very limited set of responsibilities. Moreover, this PC phenomenon we are witnessing is a cultural problem that must be addressed at a cultural level, not a legal one. That is up to the American people themselves, not the legislature.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Whereas the House of Representatives is the house of the people, the Senate was originally meant to be the house of the States. What are your views on the 10th Amendment and how will you reflect the interests of Florida through your votes?

  • Invictus: I am a big believer in States rights, and my modus operandi as Senator will be to repeal as many laws as possible that hinder the ability of the States to govern their own affairs.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What specifically will you do as a Senate candidate and Senator to promote libertarianism?

  • Invictus: Simply leading by example is enough to promote libertarianism. I do not believe in shoving political ideology down people’s throat anymore than I believe in doing so with religion. Being a Pagan, I do not feel the need to evangelize and convert Christians; neither do I, as a Libertarian, feel the need to evangelize and convert Republicans and Democrats. The proof of a thing is in its fruits. Repealing laws, correcting the balance between the Federal Government and the States, reinforcing the separation of powers, destroying the Federal Reserve: these acts will in themselves promote our political philosophy.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png For you, what would constitute a successful term as Senator?

  • Invictus: The System is so corrupted that the destruction of even one Department, Bureau, or Administration could be considered a great success.

Campaign[]

Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers a “Fireside Chat” in 1934. Invictus describes the chats as a “brilliant idea” he has replicated in his campaign.
Image: Public domain.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Why do you call your campaign recordings “Fireside Chats,” invoking the name of the recordings [U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt] used to convince Americans to support the New Deal and [Second World] War effort?

  • Invictus: Roosevelt used the Fireside Chats to keep the public informed of his actions, and that is what I am doing, as well. It is a proactive way to address criticisms of the campaign and to update everyone about upcoming events, platform issues, and resource problems. I don’t have to agree with FDR’s ideology to admit that his Fireside Chats were [a] brilliant idea.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Are you going to be able to qualify for the ballot?

  • Invictus: I will qualify for the ballot by paying the filing fee, which is roughly $10,000.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on potential Libertarian Senate candidate Roger Stone?

  • Invictus: I don’t think Roger Stone is actually a potential candidate. He was being recruited by a certain faction of the Libertarian Party of Florida, and he flirted with the idea in order to publicize his new book; but I don’t think he ever actually intended to run. That being said, I like Roger Stone. I respect him as a political operative, and I regret that he will not run, because he would have been a worthy opponent.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on your new primary opponent Paul Stanton?

  • Invictus: Well, there isn’t much I can say to that question, as it is difficult to have thoughts on the matter when he refuses to debate me or even to speak to me. I have called him out publicly, made an issue of the fact he refuses to respond, given him my personal cell phone number — and he refuses to reply in any manner or medium whatsoever. Maybe he has a strategy behind his inaction, but from an outsider’s perspective it looks like cowardice.



Related news[]

  • “Wikinews interviews three figures from Donald Trump’s political past#Roger Stone” — Wikinews, March 13, 2016

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February 14, 2016

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies, aged 79

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies, aged 79

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Antonin Scalia.
Image: US Supreme Court.

Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, died at the age of 79, according to a Saturday afternoon statement by Chief Justice John G. Roberts.

Reports indicate Scalia died of apparently natural causes while on a trip this weekend in Texas. He was nominated for his Supreme Court position by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.

Scalia’s death prompts US President Barack Obama to nominate a successor, which he said Saturday he will do. Obama, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled United States Senate, which must confirm a nominee, are likely to be at odds. “I plan”, he stated, “to fulfill my Constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time […] There will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he believes a successor should not be nominated until after a new president takes office next January. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice”, he said. “Therefore this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

Antonin Scalia was born on March 11, 1936 and attended Georgetown University and Harvard Law School before a stint in private law practice, followed by a job teaching law at the University of Virginia. He served on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1982 until his confirmation to the US Supreme Court. He was generally considered a leading conservative on the Court during his time as an associate justice.

“He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues,” Roberts said in his statement on Scalia’s death. “His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.”



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March 29, 2015

US Senator Harry Reid announces he will not seek re-election

US Senator Harry Reid announces he will not seek re-election

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

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Reid is the current Senate minority leader
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Harry Reid, Democratic Senator and current Senate Minority Leader, announced on Friday he will not run for re-election next year. Reid has represented the state of Nevada in the Senate since 1987. He has endorsed Senator Charles Schumer of New York to replace him as Democratic senate leader.

The announcement follows months of rumours regarding the senator’s retirement. Reid had denied that he would retire on numerous occasions, even after the rumours strengthened after he seriously injured himself exercising on January 1. The 75-year-old hurt ribs and an eye, suffering problems with his vision after the accident.

To the Los Angeles Times, Reid spoke about his endorsement of Charles Schumer to replace him. He said “Schumer, in 22 months, if he plays his cards right, should be able to do it[…] I told him if you need my help, you got it.” Another Senator talked about as a possible replacement is Dick Durbin, Senator from Illinois.

Reid made the announcement in a video. He said “The decision I made has absolutely nothing to do with my injury, and it has nothing to do with my being majority leader, and it certainly has nothing to do with my ability to be reelected, because the path to reelection is much easier than it probably has been any time that I’ve run for re-election”.

While Reid was giving a radio interview to Nevada Public Radio, President Barack Obama called in to pay tribute to the Senator. He said “Harry is unique and he’s got that curmudgeonly charm that is hard to replace. I’m going to miss him. But the good thing is that I’m going to leave this place at the same time.”

Reid is to serve the remaining 22 months of his term through the end of 2016. He served in the Senate from 1987, and before that in the House from 1983. He has held the position of Senate Democratic leader since 2005.



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January 8, 2015

John Boehner re-elected as US House Speaker despite conservative challenge

John Boehner re-elected as US House Speaker despite conservative challenge

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

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Official portrait of Rep. John Boehner.
Image: US House of Representatives.

Representative John Boehner was re-elected as Speaker of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday despite a right-wing rebellion of 25 members. Boehner’s appointment as Speaker passed with 216 of the 408 votes. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell was also sworn in on Tuesday as the Senate majority leader, marking the first time in eight years when Republicans have controlled both the House and Senate.

The challengers to Boehner came primarily from the libertarian and hard right wing of the party, sometimes associated with the Tea Party movement. One — Brian Babin — simply voted ‘present’ while the remaining twenty four voted for a variety of other candidates. Twelve voted for Representative Daniel Webster, three voted for Representative Louis Gohmert, two voted for Representative Ted Yoho, and two for Representative Jim Jordan. There were also votes for Representatives Jeff Duncan, Kevin McCarthy and Trey Gowdy, as well as votes for Senators Rand Paul and Jeff Sessions.

Two of those voting against Boehner, Daniel Webster and Richard B. Nugent, were not reappointed to the House Rules Committee. Speaking to reporters, Boehner said the House Republicans were “going to have a family conversation, which we had this morning, about bringing our team together”.

Reacting to his removal from the Rules Committee, Richard Nugent stated: “I’m not on Rules, I will tell you that […] But it’s not really clear that I couldn’t get back on it. I carried a lot of water on the Rules Committee, took a lot of tough votes.” Webster said he was less interested in being on the Committee: “Do you see people running to get on it?”

Following the election of Boehner and McConnell, the White House announced President Barack Obama would veto planned legislation by Republicans to start the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters: “If this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign it”.



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December 31, 2014

Jim Webb campaign addresses first 2016 presidential election controversy

Jim Webb campaign addresses first 2016 presidential election controversy

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

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2016 U.S. Presidential Election stories
  • 6 January 2015: Wikinews interviews Christopher Hill, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate
  • 31 December 2014: Jim Webb campaign addresses first 2016 presidential election controversy
  • 27 December 2014: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders to announce presidential ambitions by March
  • 5 July 2012: On the campaign trail, June 2012
  • 19 January 2012: Rick Perry withdraws from U.S. presidential race, endorses Gingrich

Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb
Image: United States Congress.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for former U.S. Senator Jim Webb, a potential 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate, attacked the Business Insider for its report Monday that Webb’s Political Action Committee (PAC) paid nearly US$100,000 (about 80,000) to Webb’s wife and daughter over the course of the past six years. Ashleigh Owens, who represents Webb’s Born Fighting PAC, accused the Business Insider of “[a]dding up numbers across several years [to create] a sensational headline”. The controversy marks the first for Webb since he became the first major candidate to open an exploratory committee last month.

Claiming the Webb family “has made quite a bit of money from [Jim Webb’s] political career”, the Business Insider reported that of US$961,515.34 raised, Webb’s PAC paid a total of US$91,999.91 to his wife Hong Le Webb and daughter Amy Webb Hogan, with US$14,834.34 and US$24,412.20 disbursed, respectively, in 2014, years after fundraising ceased.

“This story as written misrepresents reasonable compensation for real and provable work done”, said Owens in a press release. “The activities of the PAC increased in 2014 when Jim Webb decided to re-enter the political discussions of our country.”

According to Owens, in 2014, Hong Le Webb, who works as an attorney, was paid for “vetting design consultants, negotiating contracts and content management” relating to the exploratory committee website. Hogan was compensated for her work in the “administration, management and design” of websites as well as the “handling of FEC [Federal Election Commission] compliance matters”.

Webb, a 68-year-old Vietnam War veteran, served as Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. He was elected to represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate in 2006 and served one term. Webb favors less US intervention abroad, fewer free trade agreements, and supports gun rights.

According to National Interest editor Jacob Heilbrunn, Webb’s views on foreign policy and social issues may attract “anti-war progressives as well as conservative-minded Southern white men.” The Nation labeled him the “worst nightmare” of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is widely expected to run for president in 2016.

U.S. News & World Report reported at least one Clinton operative pitched unflattering stories about Webb to media outlets since late last month.



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December 27, 2014

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders to announce presidential ambitions by March

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders to announce presidential ambitions by March

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Image: United States Congress.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, revealed through the Associated Press (AP) yesterday that he plans to announce by March whether to run for President of the United States in the 2016 election. Sanders, a self-identified Socialist who champions against income inequality, says he will make a “gut decision” about whether to run. Though often touted as a potential presidential candidate, Sanders has never made a run for the presidency.

Sanders, 73, entered politics in the 1970s, running for various races in Vermont as a member of the anti-war Liberty Union Party. He was elected Mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981 as an independent and won re-election three successive times. In 1990, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing Vermont. After serving in that capacity for 16 years, Sanders won election to the United States Senate, where he has remained.

Sanders cites the United States wealth gap as “collapsing” the nation’s middle class, but says a cure exists in his twelve step solution, which includes infrastructure projects, fair trade, and alternative energy. Nevertheless, Sanders told the AP his decision on 2016 rests on whether he believes he can win the election.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008, figures to be the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Experts are divided on how a Sanders candidacy would affect her prospects.

Democratic National Committee member Kathy Sullivan says Sanders may be “a step too far for the mainstream” of the party. But former New Hampshire State Senator Peter Burling argues Sanders can deliver with passion, something he says that Clinton lacks.

Other potential candidates for the Democratic nomination include Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, and Vice President Joe Biden. Former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has opened an exploratory committee to determine whether he will run in 2016.

If Sanders decides to run for president, question remains on whether he runs as a Democrat or an independent.



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December 10, 2014

Senate publish report on CIA torture and misinformation

Senate publish report on CIA torture and misinformation

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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The US Senate Report on CIA Detention Interrogation Program that details the use of torture during CIA detention and interrogation.

A report released by the US Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday concluded that the CIA misinformed the White House and Congress about its imprisonment and interrogation of suspected terrorists during the years after the September 11 attacks.

The committee released an executive summary yesterday ahead of its full 6,000-page report. The summary documented instances where detainees were kept awake for as long as a week and suggested that the agency had waterboarded more suspects than it previously disclosed.

The report also revealed that officials in the Bush administration were often told about these practices long after the fact. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell were not told of the CIA’s operations until a year after they had begun. President Bush was briefed in 2006, four years after the CIA commenced its “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” program.

The released documents refutes the effectiveness of the program and the accuracy of the information gathered. Previously, the Bush administration had defended its use, claiming that the intelligence garnered helped stop terrorist plots and capture al-Qaeda leadership, including Osama bin Laden. The executive summary examines case studies from the CIA’s internal records which the committee says disputes those defenses.

CIA Director John O. Brennan acknowledged many of the failures outlined by the committee, but also rebuked it for what he called an “incomplete and selective picture of what occurred.” Republican Senators have been critical of the report with Richard Burr calling it “a fiction”, and Marco Rubio stating that Senate Democrats published the report out of “partisan joy” with the intention of “trying to embarrass people in the Bush administration.”



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September 14, 2014

National Football League from United States Senators: zero tolerance on domestic violence

National Football League from United States Senators: zero tolerance on domestic violence

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

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National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell received a letter from sixteen female United States Senators on Thursday calling for the NFL to adopt a zero tolerance policy on domestic violence.

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The senators criticized the NFL for their new domestic violence policy enacted in August. The new policy says a player will receive a six game suspension for their first offense.

A video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice assaulting the woman who has since married him was recently released by website TMZ. The assault took place in a elevator at an Atlantic City, New Jersey casino. Rice was initially given a two game suspension; later, following the video release, the Ravens terminated Rice’s contract and the NFL indefinitely suspended him.

The bipartisan group of senators said, “If you violently assault a woman, you shouldn’t get a second chance to play in the NFL.”

The league stated they had initiated an independent investigation by former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller into the Rice incident.

The cross-party signatories were, from the Democratic PartyBarbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, of CaliforniaDebbie Stabenow, MichiganAmy Klobuchar, MinnesotaPatty Murray and Maria Cantwell, WashingtonJeanne Shaheen, New HampshireKirsten Gillibrand, New YorkBarbara Mikulski, MarylandMazie Hirono, HawaiiHeidi Heitkamp, North DakotaElizabeth Warren, MassachusettsTammy Baldwin, WisconsinKay Hagan, North Carolina;  and, from the Republican Party, Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Susan Collins of Maine.



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October 17, 2013

US government reopens following bi-partisan debt deal

US government reopens following bi-partisan debt deal

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

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Both the United States House of Representatives and Senate agreed to a bill yesterday to end the government shutdown and to raise the debt limit of the federal government. President Barack Obama has signed the bill into law.

Workers employed by agencies of the US federal government who had previously been furloughed have returned to work. The law has funded the government until January 15 and has extended the debt ceiling until February 7. The law also establishes a bipartisan committee to look into drafting a long-term budget agreement. This committee is due to report back to Congress in December.

Republicans did not manage to extract any significant changes to Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act. They had hoped to get the implementation of the law delayed by a year, but have instead provided that those wishing to sign up for healthcare benefits must provide proof of their income.

In a statement, the House Speaker, John Boehner, said the Republicans would continue to fight Obama’s healthcare law: “Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president’s health care law will continue. We will rely on aggressive oversight that highlights the law’s massive flaws and smart, targeted strikes that split the legislative coalition the president has relied upon to force his health care law on the American people.”

The Democratic Leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, said on Twitter: “The unnecessary shutdown America endured for 16 days has come to an end. Speaker finally did the right thing and allowed the House to vote.”



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January 4, 2013

113th United States Congress convenes

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Friday, January 4, 2013

The United States Congress, consisting of the House of Representatives and Senate, convened at 12:00 PM EST Thursday at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. for the first session of the 113th United States Congress. Newly elected and re-elected members of both the House of Representatives and Senate were sworn-in as both houses debated the rules and procedures to be adhered to for the next two years.

The 113th United States Congress convened at noon EST Thursday in the United States Capitol building (pictured).
Image: Kevin McCoy.

The House of Representatives customarily elected its Speaker for the 113th Congress. Incumbent Speaker Republican John Boehner was re-elected, defeating Democrat Nancy Pelosi by a vote of 220–192. Boehner’s re-election as House Speaker ended speculation that the Republican Party would split and nominate another candidate to challenge him for the gavel following internal tumult during the “fiscal cliff” negotiations last month. After Boehner was sworn-in for his second term as Speaker, he proceeded to swear-in all 435 elected and re-elected members of the House en masse.

Members of the United States Senate were sworn-in in groups of four by Vice President and President of the Senate Joe Biden. Among the membership of the U.S. Senate for the 113th Congress are a record-setting 20 female Senators, including newly-elected Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate.

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives joined Joe Biden and John Boehner, respectively, after the formal swearing-in ceremony for re-enactment ceremonies in front of photographers.

Republican Mark Kirk, United States Senator from Illinois, also officially returned to his duties after suffering a debilitating stroke last January 21st that forced him to learn how to walk again. Fulfilling a goal he had set for himself after his stroke, Kirk ascended the 45 steps leading up to the Senate wing of the United States Capitol building with assistance from both Joe Biden and fellow Senator Joe Manchin, as several other members of both houses of Congress and well-wishers looked on. He is expected to continue rehabilitation, while convenient housing arrangements have been made.

In the new congress, there are 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and two independents in the Senate. The House of Representatives now has 234 Republicans and 201 Democrats in its membership. Having convened, the 113th Congress is expected to face issues including the debt ceiling, taxes and the federal budget deficit.

A new congress convenes every two years in January, with the next congress slated to convene in January 2015. The 1st United States Congress convened in 1789.



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