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The oath

January 8, 2019

Every two years in America, we experience something almost miraculous in the history of the world: the safe, civil, and dignified transfer of power. In the House of Representatives, this long-standing and peaceful replenishing is truly something to behold. There is excitement and exhilaration in the halls of Congress, as Members bring their families into the Chamber to experience this noble, beautiful, and wonderful tradition.

As mandated by Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S Constitution, the oath of office that Members speak in unison reads: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

This oath is more than a mere formality: It is the measure of the fullness of intent, of commitment, of duty. It is larger than any one of us; it is about upholding that which is timeless.

It is an extraordinary privilege to be entrusted with the responsibility to govern. As President Kennedy once said, ‘To govern is to choose.’ Our challenge will be to choose wisely.

With a new Congress comes new options to build consensus, find real solutions, and recreate the imaginative possibilities of our great country. But before we begin a series of Fort Reports on the important work ahead in this new Congress—including on several initiatives I will propose on health care, conservation, and the protection of human dignity—I want to send you a summary of last year’s work in Congress. I call it The Year-End Report.

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