House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) is calling on Representative-elect Jimmy Gomez (D., Calif.) to resign if he continues to wait to assume his House duties in order to vote on a California assembly cap-and-trade bill.
Gomez won the June 6 special election to replace former Rep. Xavier Becerra who resigned to become California attorney general in January. However, Gomez has put off his House swearing in ceremony for more than three weeks.
McCarthy on Wednesday accused Gomez of "neglecting his job" in order to remain in the California assembly to provide a two-thirds majority vote on a bill to extend the state's cap-and-trade program.
"They have already increased the gas tax on California citizens and now they want to increase it even higher?" McCarthy asked in an interview on Fox News Wednesday. "I think he is neglecting his job. Either he wants to be a member of Congress, or he should be honest with his constituents and we should elect somebody who wants to come here and work day one."
McCarthy also noted that Karen Handel and Ralph Norman—GOP candidates elected in special elections in Georgia and South Carolina, respectively, last week—have already been sworn into Congress.
"I don't know what's going on with Mr. Gomez, but he is neglecting his own constituents… He was in Sacramento working, because he is [still] an assemblyman. He got elected as a Congressman. He should come here and work."
Shortly after that election, Gomez told the Los Angeles Times that he asked Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and other House Democratic leaders to delay his House swearing in ceremony so he could remain in the California Assembly to vote to extend the state's cap-and-trade program.
Gov. Jerry Brown wanted to be able to attain a two-thirds majority on the vote to help protect it from legal challenges. He needed Gomez's yes vote in order to reach that threshold if others do not vote in favor before the legislature recesses July 21.
Gomez has responded that he only agreed to be available for a cap and trade vote until June 15, but also had a family conflict that prevented him from being sworn into Congress this week. The House and Senate leave Friday for the July Fourth recess and won't return until July 10.
McCarthy on Tuesday sent a letter questioning the delay to Gomez, Pelosi, and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. If the delay continues, Gomez should resign, he wrote.
"If this delay persists due to his prioritization of state legislative matters, Congressman-elect Gomez should be honest with the constituents of California's 34th congressional district who he was elected to serve and resign from his newly-elected seat so they can elect someone ready to serve on Day One," McCarthy wrote.