Oops, sorry about that. Two GOP lawmakers are formally apologizing to their House colleagues for casting votes after missing the official oath of office during the opening of the 112th Congress earlier this week.
In a letter distributed late Friday, Reps. Pete Sessions and Mike Fitzpatrick expressed regret for breaking House rules by voting after inadvertently skipping the swearing-in ceremony. Only a sworn member of Congress can take part in official business.
"[W]e are deeply committed to fulfilling our role in our constitutional democracy by maintaining the integrity of the People's House. Our absence on the House floor during the oath of office ceremony for the 112th Congress -- while not intentional -- fell short of this standard by creating uncertainty regarding our standing in this body," Fitzpatrick, of Pennsylvania, and Sessions, a Texan, wrote in the letter obtained by Politico
When the oath
was delivered to House members Wednesday, Sessions and Fitzgerald were celebrating elsewhere in the Capitol building, Huffington Post
reported. Once the two men realized they were missing the oath, both said it aloud in front of a nearby television screen broadcasting the ceremony -- and Sessions presumed this was a valid register of his oath of office, according to his spokeswoman
It was not, and both men were sworn in a day later by House Speaker John Boehner -- but not before casting six votes on procedural matters. On Friday, the House was forced to pass a resolution nullifying their votes.
"We regret that this incident adversely affected House proceedings and apologize for any individual inconvenience our actions may have caused," Sessions and Fitzpatrick wrote in the letter.