New Brazos Valley congressman talks inauguration and working with Biden administration

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NBC29 File Photo.(NBC29)
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 9:15 AM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Congressman Pete Sessions (R-District 17) left Washington, D.C. on Friday ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration to the presidency.

Sessions will not be physically attending the swearing-in, but he will be back in D.C. later in the day for some of the other festivities. He says this was a practical, not political, decision.

“The physical impairments and requirements that come with this are very difficult,” said Rep. Sessions. “There is a huge security risk, but this is more or less going to be done as a virtual--which is new to all of us--but a new virtual inauguration up to and including the ceremonies. ”

Before he left, Rep. Sessions says he saw many of the 25,000 U.S. Army National Guard troops arrive ahead of the inauguration to provide security. The Capitol beefed up the response after the U.S. Capitol riots on Jan. 6.

“During the attack, and afterward, the necessary elements of putting together, not just a sense of security, but also preparedness for what lies ahead entered into a very serious space. Obviously, they had to make sure because they were pipe bombs and other bombs that were placed around the Capitol at buildings. They had to make sure that the area was secure,” said Rep. Sessions. “Immediately, there were some 7,000 National Guard that came on board. There were security alerts given, not just members [of Congress] but the general community: our staffs were encouraged not to come to work and to stay away.”

President-elect Biden has released several plans that he intends to submit on his first day in office. That includes an almost $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package. There is a lot involved in the plan, including more direct payments to Americans and money for state and local officials. Congressman Sessions says he is curious to see if the plan changes as it moves through Congress.

“I’m gonna have to see what the final package looks like,” said Rep. Sessions. “I think the president’s request is sound. After that president’s request, let’s see what others like Mrs. Pelosi or the United States Senate [add] before we start talking about how we’ll vote.”

Right now, the federal government is footing the bill for vaccines across the country. Even though states are responsible for distributing doses to local hubs and clinics, the congressman says he is doing what he can to ramp up distribution in his district, which includes much of the Brazos Valley.

“Last week... I met with the judge in McLennan County to ask him exactly about that same issue--and Judge [Duane] Peters, certainly, in Brazos County; the ample supply is just not there,” said Rep. Sessions. “Moderna and Pfizer have two shots that are necessary, so that places an additional burden, where there’s double the need, so to speak, to complete the transaction... But we really have a huge number of physicians, teachers, doctors, and law enforcement, people that have gone through this exercise. I believe they’ve said we have about 10 million people out of some 330 million... We need to pick up the pace, and I expect that to be done.”

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