Ensign skips opening day of Congress

As Congress kicks off its 112th session today in Washington, Sen. John Ensign is a no-show.

Ensign’s office confirmed the Republican is remaining home. Ensign "has several work appointments in the state this week and because there are no votes scheduled he will be working in Nevada," according to spokeswoman Jennifer Cooper. 

The Senate this week is expected to be in session only today, for the swearing-in of new senators and incumbents who were re-elected in November. The day usually is one of celebration to mark the kickoff of the two-year session.

Ensign’s absence does leave a gap. It is unclear now who will accompany fellow Nevada Sen. Harry Reid during the swearing in ceremony at noon. In most instances, a new or returning senator is walked down the aisle of the Senate chamber by his state counterpart.

Reid won re-election in November and is being sworn into a fresh six-year term. Ensign faces re-election in 2012, and has said he plans to run even as he remains under Senate ethics investigation.
 
Ensign’s office had no immediate further information this morning on his work schedule in the state this week, or whether the pending investigation played any role in his decision to remain in Nevada.

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