Jimmy Gomez, the California Democrat elected to succeed former Rep. Xavier Becerra in the House, will be sworn in on July 11, a senior Democratic aide said Wednesday.
Gomez was elected to the Los Angeles-based district on June 6 but his swearing-in has been postponed for weeks in what Gomez and allies have described as a “family conflict.”
Republicans have criticized him for the delay, suggesting that he might be to holding on to his current seat in the California Assembly to help Gov. Jerry Brown on a crucial vote in support of the state’s cap-and-trade program.
The feud went national this week when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called Gomez’s delay an “abdication” of his responsibility. The California Republican noted in a letter to Gomez, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and California secretary of state Alex Padilla that two other recently sworn- members of Congress — Georgia’s Karen Handel and South Carolina’s Ralph Norman — were elected more recently than Gomez.
Becerra was tapped in December to become California’s attorney general in January, succeeding Kamala Harris, who was elected to the Senate.
Democrats punched back Wednesday, noting that the House has canceled recently scheduled Friday votes and has kept a relatively light floor schedule ahead of a week-long July 4 recess.
“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,” said Pelosi spokeswoman Carolina Behringer. “Congressman-elect Gomez has been clear that he had an existing family conflict and couldn’t be sworn in this week.”
Gomez’s absence comes as the GOP-controlled House is grappling at the committee level with budget and appropriations measures and is awaiting the outcome of a Senate plan to replace Obamacare.
Gomez’s swearing in will return the House for the first time this session to its full 435-member strength and give Democrats their 194th member.