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).
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