HC Wake-Up Call: New Members Of The 116th Congress Sworn In, House Passed Plan To End Government Shutdown, & Barack Obama’s First Chart Single

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds — we’re all only human, after all. 

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.) 

New Members Of Congress Were Officially Sworn In & It Was Historic 

It’s not everyday that history is made. Members of the 116th Congress were officially sworn in on Thursday afternoon, with many new member breaking some historic barriers for representation. This is definitely the most diverse group of lawmakers in the United States history.

The new Congress now has the largest number of women —as well as women of color—ever. More than 100 women are serving in the House and 25 women are serving in the Senate, according to the Pew Research Center

There were also a number of personal historic firsts for women. 

Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) became the first Muslim women in Congress. Omar is the first Somali-American representative elected into Congress, and wore a hijab at her swearing-in. A hijab was previously banned from being wore on the House floor, The New York Post reports. Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress, and she wore a thobe, a traditional Palestinian dress, at the swearing-in. She also used the Quran in an individual ceremony, according to The Huffington Post.

A record number of LGBTQ+ candidates ran in the 2018 midterms with multiple candidates winning in November. This includes former Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who made history on Thursday as the first openly bisexual person to be sworn into the Senate. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is the youngest woman ever to be elected into Congress. For the swearing-in ceremony, she wore white in honor of the suffragists who fought for women’s right to vote, according to the Huffington Post. Lauren Underwood also made history as the youngest black woman to be sworn into Congress.  

And Reps. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) and Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) became the country’s first Native American women in Congress.

Nancy Pelosi was also elected again as the House Speaker, CNN reported. Pelosi previously served as the first and as of right now the only female House speaker from 2007 to 2011.  “The country knows Nancy Pelosi as an experienced leader with three decades of service in Congress, a fighter for her causes and a true trailblazer,” said Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, CNN reported. “Even when we disagree with one another completely, it is important to remember that we are bounded together in a common cause, our love for American.” 



“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” - @michelleobama . 📷: @martinschoeller, @vanityfair

A post shared by Ayanna Pressley (@ayannapressley) on

It was certainly a tremendous day for Congress. While more steps can be taken in terms of diversity, Capitol Hill is already starting to look more like the people they represent. 

The House Passed A Package Of Bills That Could Reopen The Government Without Funding Trump’s Border Wall

The new Democratic House passed a package of bills that would potentially reopen the government without paying for Trump’s border wall on Thursday night, according to the Washington Post. But without the Senate’s or POTUS’s support, there is very little chance it will go further. 

One part of the legislation would fund the Department of Homeland Security for one month. The other part includes is a package of bills that would reopen other closed federal agencies such as Interior, Justice, State, and Agriculture. Each agency would be funded through the 2019 fiscal year. Both bills do not include funding for the $5 billion border wall President Trump is stuck on.

As Vox reports, the House separated Homeland Security, which includes border security, from the other bill so it can be handled separately. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday that neither part of the solution would be advanced, according to the New York Times.

“I’ve made it clear on several occasions, and let me say it again,” said McConnell, The Times reported. “The Senate will not take up any proposal that does not have a real chance of passing this chamber and getting a presidential signature. Let’s not waste the time.” 

As of right now, the bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate. 

It Looks Like Barack Obama Debuted On The Billboard Hot R&B Chart

Former president Barack Obama made his debut on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart at No. 22 with “One Last Time (44 Remix).”  And this is certainly a new one. 

Obama featured on the Lin-Manuel Miranda track, which reimagined the Hamilton song about George Washington leaving his position as president. The gospel-inspired remix is part of a series of “Hamildrops,” which helps raise money for multiple nonprofits, The Hollywood Reporter reports. It features not only the 44th president, but the track includes Christopher Jackson, who played George Washington in the stage show, and gospel singer Bebe Winans. 

While Obama doesn’t actually sing on the sing, he does deliver George Washington’s farewell address. The song currently has 307,000 streams and 9,000 downloads, according to Billboard

You might be surprised to find out that the former president has been on two other Billboard charts before — that now no longer exist. According to Billboard, A Moment in History: The Inauguration of Barack Obama reached No. 6 on the TV DVD Sales chart in March of 2009. Song “Pop Off” by JX Cannon featuring Obama rose to No. 10 on the Billboard + Twitter Emerging Artists in December of 2015.

What To Look Out For….

It looks like Nicholas Sparks books and romance drama movie The Notebook is becoming a Broadway musical! Songwriter Ingrid Michaelson announced it Thursday on the Today show. She is set to compose the music and lyrics along with This Is Us producer Bekah Brunstetter set to write the script. No show dates or casting news have been announced.