With yesterday marking the official start of the 113th Congress, many observers are wondering whether the political gridlock of the last two years will continue – or whether 2013 will bring a new, collaborative approach among Democrats and Republicans that will result in putting politics aside to address the most pressing needs of the country.
Alright, maybe that’s just a New Year’s resolution that will fall short.
But, there are many interesting facts about the new Congress may impact business-as-usual, such as:
- The 113th Congress is the most diverse Congress in history;
- For the first time in history, white men will be a minority among House Democrats;
- There is a record number of: women in the Senate - 20, Latinos in the House and Senate - 31, Asian Americans in the House and Senate - 12, and openly gay or bisexual Members in the House and Senate - 7;
- The average age of House members is 57 and for Senators its 62 - but there are quite a few new young members including Patrick Murphy (D-FL), who is 29, Eric Swalwell (D-CA) who turned 32 days after Election aDay, and David Valadao (R-CA) who is 35;
- The House will have its first Hindu, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Senate Freshman Mazie Hirono (D-HI), will be the Senates only Buddhist and it's first Asian American woman.
There are also many changes to committees that oversee education policy and funding.
- The House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee how includes 7 new Republicans and 6 new Democrats, in addition to having Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) as the new chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. New members include: Rep. Price (R-GA), Rep. Marchant (R-TX), Rep. Salmon (R-AZ), Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Rep. Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Hudson (R-NC), Rep. Messer (R-IN), Rep. Courtney (D-CT), Rep. Polis (D-CO), Rep. Sablan (D-MP), Rep. Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Wilson (D-FL), and Rep. Bonamici (D-OR).
- The Senate Health Education Labor Pensions Committee now includes Sen. Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Murphy (D-CT), Sen. Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Scott (R-SC). Additionally, Sen. Alexander (R-TN) is the new Raking Member.
- The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations now includes Rep. Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Fleischmann (R-TN), Rep. Fortenberry (R-NE), Rep. Joyce (R-OH), Rep. Rooney (R-FL), Rep. Valadao (R-CA), Rep. Israel (D-NY), Rep. Ryan (D-OH), Rep. Ruppersberger (D-MD), Rep. Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Rep. Cuellar (D-TX), and Rep. Pingree (D-ME). Rep. Kingston (R-GA) will be the new Chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Education.
- The Senate Appropriations Committee will now be led by Sen. Mikulski (D-MD) and will include Sen. Udall (D-NM), Sen. Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Johanns (R-NE), and Sen. Boozman (R-AR).
See one of your members of Congress on this list? Let CEC’s Policy Team know and we will help connect you with your Member’s office to share information about special education policy and funding! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!