Here Come the Freshmen

 

From Yahoo News & AP:

Congress’ approval rating hovers around 15 percent, but there’s one group of people excited about the institution: the newly elected lawmakers who are about to join its ranks.

The House will welcome 58 freshmen this coming week, including 43 Republicans and 15 Democrats, pushing the GOP majority to 246 members, the most since the Great Depression.

In the Senate, 13 new lawmakers, all but one of them Republican, will be sworn in, flipping control of the chamber to the GOP with a 54-vote majority.

The incoming classes will bring new gender and racial diversity to Capitol Hill, with 104 women in the House and Senate and close to 100 black, Hispanic and Asian lawmakers. The newcomers include the youngest woman elected to Congress, 30-year-old Elise Stefanik of New York, and the first black Republican woman, Mia Love of Utah.

As the new members prepared to arrive on Capitol Hill, several said they brought hopes of curbing the often partisan atmosphere in Washington and showing the public that they really can govern.

And, just maybe, getting Congress’ approval rating back up past 20 percent.

“This election was not an endorsement of either party, it was a condemnation of, yes, the president’s policies, but also of government dysfunction,” said GOP Rep.-elect Carlos Curbelo, who defeated a Democratic incumbent in Florida. “I hope we can be different. … I hope we focus on getting things done.”

A few of the notable new arrivals:

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THE MILENNIALS

Stefanik is one of several young new faces bringing fresh blood to Capitol Hill, where many lawmakers, especially senators, are in their 70s or even older. Others are Democrats Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who is 36, and Ruben Gallego of Arizona, who’s 35. The three all graduated from Harvard University and have friends in common, Gallego said.

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2014 file photo, Rep.-elect …
Elise Stefanik (R) New York

Gallego said the three have already discussed areas of cooperation, such as infrastructure investments and bringing down the cost of college.

“We have talked actually a lot and I can definitely see us working together,” Gallego said. “We all want the same things in the general scheme of things — a stable country, a prosperous future. We may not agree 100 percent on how to get there but I think Democrats and Republicans do want to find a way.”

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THE EXPERIENCED HANDS

Two of the newcomers to Congress are not new to Washington at all.

In Michigan, Debbie Dingell is replacing her husband, John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress, who retired after nearly 60 years.

In Virginia, Barbara Comstock is replacing her onetime boss, Frank Wolf, whom she served as a top aide and chief counsel on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee before joining the Virginia House of Delegates.

Dingell and Comstock are friendly and have spoken about how they can collaborate and improve relations and policy making on Capitol Hill.

“People don’t get to know each other, and that relationship building and that sense of trust and knowing each other is part of what’s missing,” said Dingell, who wrote a master’s thesis on civility in Congress. “And we’ve got to find ways for people to get to know each other and talk.”

Comstock, who has started a women’s leadership initiative in Virginia, said she, Dingell and other female lawmakers have met together and hope to forge coalitions.

“Debbie has been a great leader on her side and she knows Washington also so I think we will probably team up,” Comstock said. Although they’re from different parties, “Sometimes people get caught up in the labels. Good ideas are good ideas.”

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THE NEW REPUBLICAN DIVERSITY

GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate remain overwhelmingly white and male, but some of the new Republican arrivals break that mold.

In addition to Stefanik, Curbelo and Love, Republicans elected Will Hurd, in Texas. The GOP now claims two black House members and one black senator, and 10 Hispanic House members plus two in the Senate. There are 22 Republican women in the House and six in the Senate.

The newcomers could add diversity of ideas to the Republican conference. Curbelo said he would push House GOP leaders to support immigration overhaul legislation, something the party has resisted.

“Of course as a freshman our influence is limited but we can work within our class, our freshman class to build support,” Curbelo said.

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Debbie Dingell sounds like she’s ready to be the social chairman and throw cocktail parties so everyone can get to know each other. Let’s hope the others are taking their jobs more seriously than she appears to be.

Carlos Curbelo said it best: “This election was not an endorsement of either party, it was a condemnation of, yes, the president’s policies, but also of government dysfunction.” The American people are tired of both parties and most especially tired of O and his regime running roughshod over Congress and ignoring our Constitution. They need to work on restoring our republic first and worry about happy hour later.

The firsts test for the freshmen will be Tuesday when they’re asked to vote on keeping Boehner as Speaker.

~Kathy

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11 Responses to Here Come the Freshmen

  1. Hardnox says:

    Yep.

    As we all know, the midterms were not about how great the Rs are but that people are sick and tired of the way Washington functions with respect to BHO. People want Zero stopped. They don’t want any of that “reaching across the aisle” crap either.

    People want ObamaCare repealed, government shrunk, illegals stopped at the border, and Obama checked at every possible turn.

  2. Terry says:

    “1st test”? The first FAILURE for the freshmen will be Tuesday when they’re asked to vote on keeping Boehner as Speaker.

  3. captbogus2 says:

    Agreed, Terry. They will be given the choice of carrying out the will of their constituents or ‘going along’ and getting a plum committee assignment.
    We shall see where their real interests lie.

  4. vonMesser says:

    But the Democrats are saying – I kid you not – “Republicans are the party of old white men. Even with the so-called diversity, it’s just a few tokens”

  5. CW says:

    >>”“This election was not an endorsement of either party, it was a condemnation of, yes, the president’s policies, but also of government dysfunction.”

    Sorry but the term “goverment dysfuntion” is liberalspeak for the gridlock that happens when republicans refuse to compromise with democrats. Conservatives talk about restoring the Constitution. RINOs talk about “government dysfunction.”

    >>”Curbelo said he would push House GOP leaders to support immigration overhaul legislation,…”

    He wants us to celebrate our diversity. I rest my case.

    • Kathy says:

      For me, the term government dysfunction means all the bureaucratic red tape, the various chains of command within the multitude of departments & agencies and the enormous amounts of money they all waste.

      That’s dysfunctional and the VA fiasco, along with the other scandals are perfect examples. Curbelo might interpret it just as you described, I don’t know.

      It seems most everyone in DC has their own ideas about how to overhaul the immigration system, and at some point they will change the criteria and we won’t like it. As far as him pushing for it – I doubt that will carry much weight, at least not right now.

  6. Garnet92 says:

    What is needed is to replace the “Race Card” with the “Party Card.” That means that whenever any representative or senator proposes something “for the good of the party” or is party-centric, that the Party Card is played and it trumps that activity.

    We just need to redirect the direction of Congress to doing what is best for the country, not what is good for the party (or an individual). I know that doing that is not as easily done as said, but until our congresspersons are weaned away from the party teat, nothing will improve.

  7. I.R. Wayright says:

    “Debbie has been a great leader on her side and she knows Washington also so I think we will probably team up,” Comstock said. Although they’re from different parties, “Sometimes people get caught up in the labels. Good ideas are good ideas.”
    Huh? The last time a democrat had a “good idea” was when Zell Miller gave the keynote speech at the republican national convention when he supported George Bush over John Kerry.