CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Congressman-Elect Joe Cunningham flew to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday where he is set to be sworn in with all the nation’s representatives on Thursday.
A chaplain prays with Congressman-Elect Joe Cunningham before Cunningham heads to Washington, D.C. to be sworn in to office. (Source: Live 5)
Before his flight, he made clear that his top priority is “turning the lights back on.” He is referring to the federal government shutdown that will be on day thirteen when he is sworn in. President Trump has asked for $5 billion for a border wall and has vowed to keep the government closed until that is part of the budget.
Cunningham says he won’t support a border wall at the moment, but did not rule it out in the future.
“I think we need to have a serious discussion about border security and the most effective means to protect our citizens and protect our border,” he said. “But, I think that discussion is to be had after we open the government.”
He added there is a spending package being put together right now “that looks very similar to the one that passed unanimously in the Senate.” He said he is looking forward to putting that forward and reopening the government. He also added that he’d rather use the $5 billion locally.
“We were promised during his campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, and now to push that back on the taxpayers, $5 billion. I’d rather be taking that money and using it here in the Lowcountry,” Cunningham said.
He also talked about one his biggest campaign promises.
“I won’t be voting for Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House,” Cunningham said. “Both parties need new leadership. I was very direct about that. But look, we’re all adults here. That’s just one vote. I look forward to working with whoever the speaker may be.”
As for the opportunity to serve, Cunningham says he is “very humbled and very proud.”
He even ran into Rep. Mark Sanford at the gate.
“I’m just honored that the people in the first congressional district would instill their trust in me and allow me and afford me this opportunity,” he said.
Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.