Pelosi takes speaker's oath of office surrounded by children

Dozens of kids swarm front of chamber

(CNN) - When Nancy Pelosi took the oath of office to become speaker of the House on Thursday afternoon, she invited all the children on the House floor to come up and stand with her.

Dozens and dozens of kids swarmed the front of the chamber and surrounded a smiling Pelosi.

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After she took the oath, administered by Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican who's dean of the House, Pelosi said, "I now call the House to order on behalf of all of America's children."

She tapped the speaker's gavel three times, and she, the children and others in the chamber broke into applause.

"Go, kids! Go, kids!" the California Democrat said.

She offered the children the opportunity to go back to their families for the full House swearing-in, but many of them decided to remain there with her.

Holding up their right hands, the House members were then sworn in together.

"Congratulations, you are now all members of the 116th Congress," Pelosi said to great applause.

In her remarks before she took the oath, Pelosi listed the Democrats' agenda, saying they must address climate change, what she called the "existential threat of our time." Her comments got a standing ovation from the Democrats.

"We have no illusions that our work will be easy," Pelosi said, but she added that "when we disagree we respect each other, and we respect the truth."

She reiterated that they will bring up legislation Thursday to reopen parts of the government and pledged to have a House that's "transparent, bipartisan and unifying."

She closed her remarks by remembering the late President George H.W. Bush and his work with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and she noted that Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, the first quadriplegic elected to Congress, will be the first Democrat to preside in the new Congress.

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