House swears in Suozzi, narrowing GOP majority

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Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.) was sworn in to the House on Wednesday, reclaiming the seat he previously held and shrinking the GOP’s already slim majority in the chamber.

Suozzi won a special election in New York’s 3rd Congressional District earlier this month to replace former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) in the House and win back his old seat after the GOP lawmaker was expelled following a federal indictment and a scathing report from the Ethics Committee.

Suozzi’s swearing in brings the total number of lawmakers in the House to 432 — 219 Republicans and 213 Democrats — narrowing the GOP conference’s razor-thin majority. On any party-line vote going forward, Republicans will only be able to afford to lose two of their members and still see their priorities pass if all members are present and voting.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) administered the oath of office to Suozzi on the House floor during Wednesday evening’s vote series. He was surrounded by members of the New York delegation.

Suozzi represented New York’s 3rd Congressional District in the House from 2017-23, leaving Washington to mount an unsuccessful bid for governor of the Empire State. On Wednesday, he discussed his unexpected return to the House.

“I never thought I’d be back here,” Suozzi said in a speech on the House floor following his swearing in, prompting laughs in the chamber.

Suozzi beat Republican Mazi Pilip in the Long Island district to take back his seat, winning 53.9 percent to 46.1 percent.

His victory flipped a key GOP seat blue, dealing a blow to Johnson and his conference. Johnson brushed off the party’s loss in the district, arguing the race was “in no way a bellwether” for the November elections and claiming Suozzi ran “like a Republican.”

Suozzi, however, rejected that statement Wednesday.

“Mr. Speaker, after my recent election you said something I must gently take exception to. You said Tom Suozzi ran like a Republican. Now I know you meant that as a compliment. Let me be clear, Mr. Speaker, I’m a true blue, dyed-in-the-wool Democrat,” he said.

Suozzi leaned into the issue of immigration and border security on the campaign trail, which has emerged as the top issue among voters this election cycle. He urged Johnson to bring compromise legislation to the floor that addresses the situation at the border and aids U.S. allies abroad.

“I know compromise is hard in this town, Mr. Speaker, but bring a bipartisan compromise to the floor and I guarantee it will pass,” Suozzi said. “All of the issues we face in this country are complicated — every single one of them. And you can’t solve anything in an environment of fear and anger.”

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