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Where Is CA-34’s Jimmy Gomez?

Gomez, who should be a Congressman by now, is still a Democratic assemblyman in California and waiting to vote on extending the state’s cap-and-trade program.

Democrat Jimmy Gomez was elected 22 days ago to represent California’s 34th Congressional District, which was vacated by Xavier Becerra when he became California’s Attorney General in January.

But Gomez hasn’t been sworn into the United States Congress yet. The delay is because he is waiting to vote on extending California’s cap-and-trade program.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Gomez, a current Democratic state assemblyman, told The Times after the election he would try to delay his Assembly resignation to vote on extending the state’s cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas.

Negotiations on cap and trade are escalating in Sacramento, and there are rumblings that Brown would like to be able to count on Gomez’ vote to pass the bill with a two-thirds majority before the Legislature leaves on July 21.

Gomez’s extended vacancy hasn’t gone unnoticed. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wrote a letter to Gomez, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, in which McCarthy said Gomez’s “elongated vacancy” is “an abdication” of his responsibilities to the people he was elected to represent.

“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.

Gomez claims that “he only offered to be available for a cap-and-trade vote until June 15, and had a family conflict this week, but is willing to be sworn in at any other time.”

However, Congress will leave on Friday for it’s July Fourth recess, meaning the soonest Gomez could take office would be July 10, but no date for a ceremony has been set.

The Times also noted that Gomez’s lengthy absence “is unusual,” adding that “[i]n the last several Congresses, there was an average of one week between a special election and the winner taking the oath.”