Newly elected members of Congress wait to be sworn in, with their families by their side in Washington

Kids were seen napping on the chamber floor as House speaker vote frustrations continue.
House floor families elected members
Posted at 5:32 PM, Jan 05, 2023

WASHINGTON — The battle for House speaker isn't just taking a toll on members of Congress — it's also impacting their families, many of them traveling to Washington to support their newly elected loved ones, before they are sworn in.

After days of voting to elect a speaker, lawmakers are deadlocked and business on Capitol Hill has waited nearly a week to begin because it can't until a speaker is chosen.


Something interesting was seen on the floor of the House this week: children.

Some were held by their parents as members of Congress debated who to vote for as speaker of the House.

Some stood and clapped as their mom or dad gave a speech. Others napped.

The Yakym family is one of those families. They are in town from Indiana to be there when dad, Republican congressman-elect Rudy Yakym, gets sworn in.

Traditionally, families come to Washington to be in town when their loved one takes the oath of office. This year that has seen a delay.

For many families their children, this lengthy vote for speaker has been exhausting. Even though it has been quite a history lesson.

Yakym's 7-year-old daughter was asked if it she is tired — she confirmed, with a "yes" — and then shrugged.

"I'm 11, I just stay on the House floor. I enjoy it," Yakym's son said.

Sally Ann Yakym says her goal as the spouse of a member of Congress-elect is to be supportive.

Although, at some point she has to go back and teach her third grade class in her home state.

"If Rudy is here getting sworn in on his own. That's okay — we will support him back in Indiana," she said.

Not every family will be able to stay in Washington through the entire process.

"We were really excited to see Brittany get sworn into Congress. But we didn't get to," Ian Silverii, the husband of Democratic congresswoman-elect Brittany Petterson of Colorado, said.

Siliverii says when his young son, Davis, was falling asleep on the floor of the House near long-time speaker Nancy Pelosi, it was time to get on a plane and leave.

"Childcare in D.C. is tough to come by," Silverii said.

"We really didn't want to have another day hanging around the Capitol and in the hotel and stuff," Silverii added.

Of course, not having a speaker of the House does have implications beyond inconveniencing the families of soon-to-be House members.

No speaker means no functioning House of Representatives to pass bills, or even pay some staffers, if this isn't resolved by January 13th.

However, both Siliverii and Yakym agree, at least, that this chaotic week has afforded them some interesting family time.

"I think it's wonderful we are invited and welcomed," Siliverii said.

"We know we are here for this historic moment but we know we are here to support our spouses," Yakym said.