PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The 118th Congress is off to a historic start as Republicans have been unable to choose a new House speaker after several rounds of voting. As California Rep. Kevin McCarthy vies for the role, 19 Republicans denied the congressman the votes as the position hangs in the balance.
While the House awaits a speaker, before the freshman class can be sworn in, Democratic Congresswoman-elect Andrea Salinas (OR-6) says Democrats feel “united” compared to her Republican colleagues.
“From the Democrat side, we feel really united,” Salinas said. “I feel like I’m part of a caucus that is eager to get to work and really start delivering, especially for the folks in Oregon’s Sixth Congressional District.”
“But watching my colleagues on the Republican side, it feels like there is a lot of turmoil, controversy, crisis, chaos and they seem to keep kind of sowing that same sentiment on their side,” said Salinas, who noted her vote for Democrat Hakeem Jefferies for Speaker of the House.
“The chatter is that the nineteen far-right, extremists are not going to vote for him, and I don’t know how that party really starts to build cohesion,” Salinas furthered.
In terms of choosing the next speaker, the congresswoman-elect said she hopes Republicans “move on so that we can all get sworn in and start really doing the work of our constituents.”
Once she’s sworn in, Salinas said she plans to work across the aisle and said constituents likely seek bipartisanship in Congress as well.
“I do think that this recent election was a referendum on behavior and voters do want us to work together, they’re tired of partisanship,” Salinas said.
She also highlighted her hopes for working with Oregon Republicans Lori Chavez DeRemer and Cliff Bentz, noting “the Fifth Congressional District is quite similar to the Sixth and so I’m eager to figure out where we have common ground and where can work together.”