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Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration

Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration

Congressional leaders of both parties presented President Biden and Vice President Harris with the American flags that flew over the Capitol while they both took their oaths of office hours earlier.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Klain on Harris breaking tie: 'Every time she votes, we win' How to pass legislation in the Senate without eliminating the filibuster MORE (Ky.) presented Harris with the flag that flew during her swearing-in as the nation's first female, Black and Asian American vice president. 

"The Star-Spangled Banner is our greatest symbol of our endurance of the American idea. It flies over this building on triumphant days and on tragic ones, over all factions and all parties. And today this flag flew over our former colleague's inauguration as the very first female vice president of the United States. So to our very distinguished former colleague, Madam Vice President, please accept this flag with the highest compliments and congratulations of the United States Senate," McConnell said.

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McConnell, standing feet away from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Top Republican: 'Outrageous' to extend National Guard deployment at Capitol Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks MORE (D-Calif.) in the Capitol Rotunda, made a point of noting that both Harris and Biden are Senate alumni. 

"With all due respect to our distinguished Speaker and our colleagues from the House, I have to note not only did we just swear in a son and daughter of the Senate to these high offices, but indeed both these former senators skipped the House altogether," McConnell said, drawing laughter from Harris and others.

Pelosi then presented Biden with the flag that was on display while he took his oath of office.

"This flag may reflect all that is said about your inauguration. America united. May it be a symbol of the hope, the healing and just all of the enthusiasm that you have for our country," Pelosi said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWatch live: McCarthy holds press briefing Biden vows to work with Congress to 'refine' voting rights bill House passes voting rights and elections reform bill MORE (R-Calif.) — who backed Republicans' efforts to challenge the Electoral College results on Jan. 6 before a mob in support of former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE stormed the Capitol to try to stop the proceedings — then presented Harris with a photo of her taking the oath of office. 

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"I listened to your speech today. You talked about the tension and division. Our task as leaders is to bind this nation's wounds and dedicate ourselves to the values of all Americans shared together," McCarthy said, addressing Biden.

"Today, Vice President Harris made history and all of America should celebrate that. But we should also remember that this is not the end, but just the beginning. As leaders, we are judged not by our words, but by our actions," McCarthy said. 

McCarthy has distanced himself from Trump since Jan. 6, saying last week as the House moved to pass an article of impeachment that the former president "bears responsibility" for the mob attack. 

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Democrats introduce bill providing citizenship to Dreamers On The Money: Democrats deals to bolster support for relief bill | Biden tries to keep Democrats together | Retailers fear a return of the mask wars Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief MORE (D-Md.) then presented Biden with a photo of him taking his presidential oath, addressing him as "Mr. President." 

"Joe," Biden interjected.

"No, Joe. You're Mr. President," Hoyer replied.

In addition to the commemorative flags and photos, Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntTop Republican: 'Outrageous' to extend National Guard deployment at Capitol Five takeaways from dramatic Capitol security hearing Biden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research MORE (R-Mo.), the chairman of the joint committee overseeing the inauguration, presented the Bidens with a painting by African American artist Robert Seldon Duncanson called "Landscape with Rainbow" on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. First lady Jill BidenJill BidenOvernight Health Care: Biden slams Texas, Mississippi for lifting coronavirus restrictions: 'Neanderthal thinking' | Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra |Over 200K sign up for ACA plans during Biden special enrollment period Education secretary: Vaccinating teachers 'my top priority' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate Dems face unity test; Tanden nomination falls MORE had selected the painting.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference Klobuchar, Murkowski urge FTC to protect domestic abuse victims' data MORE -Minn.), the lead Democrat on the inaugural committee, also presented commemorative crystal vases.

Typically there is a post-inauguration lunch with the newly sworn-in president and vice president, along with members of Congress and guests, in the Capitol's Statuary Hall. But that lunch isn't taking place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which also led to the lack of a usual crowd on the National Mall.