House rule will invalidate votes taken by GOP lawmakers who missed oath

House lawmakers today will get four minutes to debate a resolution aimed at addressing problems related to the failure of two Republican members to be sworn into office earlier this week.

The resolution is expected to be taken up later today, after members consider a rule setting up the terms for considering two healthcare repeal measures. The measure will address the problems caused by Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), who missed being sworn into office on Wednesday, embarrassing the GOP and providing fodder for Democrats.

According to a resolution released by the House Rules Committee this morning, the measure would invalidate the votes taken by the two members before they were sworn in. But otherwise, it would essentially treat Sessions and Fitzpatrick as if they were sworn in on Jan. 5 with other members. It would ratify Sessions's participation in the House Rules Committee proceedings yesterday, consider bills introduced by Sessions as introduced, treat submissions by either member to the Congressional Record as valid and validate their co-sponsorship of any legislation.

The healthcare repeal measure, H.Res. 26, is being voted on now, and includes language that allows the House to consider a measure aimed at addressing the problems related to the swearing-in. Section 3 of the healthcare rule says it shall be in order to consider a resolution "relating to the status of certain actions taken by members-elect." It also says any measure dealing within this issue will be subject to four minutes of debate, equally divided between the majority and minority leaders.

House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) said yesterday that while both members took the oath of office, they were not in the presence of the House Speaker when other members were sworn in, and instead were in the Visitor Center, where they were watching the proceedings. House rules hold that members must be in the chamber, barring exceptional circumstances, in order to be considered sworn-in.

This story was posted at 9:32 a.m. and updated at 10:59 a.m.