Updated 1 p.m. | Democratic Rep.-elect Jimmy Gomez will be sworn in on July 11 after being criticized for taking too long to do so, a senior Democratic aide confirmed Wednesday.
Gomez’s swearing-in will take place more than a month after his election in California’s 34th District, the Los Angeles Times reported. He would take over the seat vacated by former Rep. Xavier Becerra, now the state’s attorney general.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a fellow Californian, criticized Gomez, a state assemblyman, for delaying his swearing-in.
In a letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, and Gomez, McCarthy criticized the incoming congressman for letting 21 days pass since his election, the LA Times reported.
“As a result, constituents of the 34th congressional district have not had a representative in Congress for 154 days,” the letter said.
McCarthy compared this to the recent swearing-in of Republican Reps. Karen Handel of Georgia and Ralph Norman of South Carolina, both of whom won special elections on June 20 (two weeks after Gomez) and were sworn in Monday.
Caroline Behringer, a Pelosi spokeswoman, responded by saying the House leadership’s calendar has been sporadic.
“As the Majority Leader well knows, the Republican Majority has cancelled votes the last two Fridays because there is nothing to vote on,” she said in an email. “While we appreciate his interest in having a full complement of Democrats in Congress, perhaps his time would be better spent identifying exactly what and where the Republican agenda is. Congressman-elect Gomez has been clear that he had an existing family conflict and couldn’t be sworn in this week.”
Gomez has said he wants to delay his swearing-in to vote in the state Assembly on expanding California’s cap-and-trade program, a reason dismissed by McCarthy in his letter.
“If this delay persists due to his prioritization of state legislative matters, Congressman-elect Gomez should be honest with the constituents of California’s 34th congressional district who he was elected to serve and resign from his newly-elected seat so they can elect someone ready to serve on Day One,” the majority leader wrote.
But Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley said it was disappointing that McCarthy would attack Gomez’s character and used the example of Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte being sworn in 27 days after his election due to charges he assaulted a journalist.
“Surely, you would not consider pleading guilty to assault to be a more acceptable reason for a delay than state legislative responsibilities,” he said in a letter to McCarthy.
Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.