Gardner sworn in, Boehner re-elected Speaker as new Congress convenes

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WASHINGTON -- Colorado Republican Cory Gardner took his place as part of a new GOP Senate majority on Tuesday as the new session of Congress convened in Washington.

Gardner, 41, becomes Colorado's first Republican senator since his old boss, Wayne Allard, who retired in 2008.

During the ceremony, Gardner asked Vice President Joe Biden if he would say hello to his grandmother and passed him his cell phone (video of the exchange is below).

"It is a tremendous honor to be sworn in today as a United States Senator and member of the 114th Congress," Gardner said in a statement.

"I am humbled by the trust that the people of Colorado have placed in me to be their Senator, and I'm eager to get down to business making Washington, DC work better for the people of our great state.

"With the new Senate taking office today, we have a real opportunity and a real responsibility to take action on the major issues facing our state and our country. I talked a lot about these issues on the campaign trail, and am looking forward to working to improve our economy, expand and promote American energy, fix our education system, and preserve and protect our environment.

"Coloradans have not given me an honorary title, they've given me a job to do. And while the swearing in of a new Congress is certainly a time for a celebration of our great democratic traditions, it's also just the beginning of the hard work we have in front of us. The American people expect results, and it's the new Congress's responsibility to deliver them."

Boehner re-elected Speaker of the House

In the House, Ken Buck took his place as the newest member of the Colorado delegation, taking the oath of office to represent the state's Fourth Congressional District, the seat Gardner had held since 2010 and vacated in order to challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Udall last year.

Buck, who was the Senate candidate of the insurgent tea party in 2010, aligned himself with the GOP establishment with his first vote Tuesday, supporting Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, to be re-elected as Speaker of the House.

Despite mild pressure from grassroots conservatives to send a message by backing Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, or another member for Speaker, all but 25 members of the Republican delegation, including all four from Colorado, backed Boehner, who was easily re-elected.

Republicans have promised pragmatic leadership now that they control both the House and Senate, but the party's first order of business appears to be of a partisan nature, as the GOP is promising to pass a new bill mandating the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The White House is already promising to veto such a bill, foreshadowing what may amount to a two-year stalemate between President Barack Obama and the GOP-led Congress.

 

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