Thursday, 4:30 PM
After taking oath, Tsongas votes to override veto
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Niki Tsongas (third from left) posed today with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (center) after taking the oath of office. Tsongas was joined by her daughters Ashley, Katina, and Molly.
By Eric Moskowitz, Globe Staff
WASHINGTON -- Although new US Representative Niki Tsongas was sworn in today in time to join the vote, a Democrat-led effort to overturn President Bush's veto of a bill to expand a children's health insurance program fell short.
Tsongas, who won a special election Tuesday in the Fifth Congressional District, took the oath of office at about 10:45 a.m. She was joined on the House floor by the other nine members of the state's House delegation and by US Senator John Kerry. The state's senior senator, Edward M. Kennedy, recovering from surgery to remove a partial blockage from a neck artery, sent flowers and watched the ceremony via C-Span.
After the official swearing-in, Tsongas followed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Pelosi's office, where she placed her hand over a Bible -- held by daughters Ashley, 33, Katina, 30, and Molly, 26 -- for a ceremony with family and friends in front of TV cameras.
Tsongas, the widow of former US Senator Paul Tsongas, returned to the floor after lunch and voted two hours later to overturn the president's recent veto of the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
"It felt wonderful," she said moments later in the speaker's lobby, before the outcome was known, "to be able to make that vote on behalf of children."
The House voted 273 to 156 against the veto but fell 13 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.