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Orientation Takes On a New Subject

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A session on workplace laws and employee rights suggested by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has been added to orientation for incoming Members.

Senate orientation also starts today and will run through Thursday. A spokeswoman for the Secretary of the Senate declined to comment, except to say the orientation will be run by current Members and will cover Senate rules, ethics and parliamentary procedure.

In the House, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct will head a section today dealing with Congressional ethics. It will only have to point down the street to show an example of real-life consequences: The ethics trial of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) starts today.

Members-elect will be briefed on Capitol security and emergency preparedness, learn about their Members’ Representational Allowance, pay and benefits, as well as receive a primer on how to set up and staff Capitol and district offices.

There will be a panel of sophomore lawmakers, called “If I Knew Then What I Know Now,” including Republican Reps. Gregg Harper (Miss.) and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.) and Democratic Reps. Marcia Fudge (Ohio) and Gerry Connolly (Va.).

On Tuesday morning, the freshman class will meet on the Capitol’s East Front steps for a group photo.

After that, they will head to the House floor for an overview of the chamber and an introduction to the role of the parliamentarian and the electronic voting system.

The section might be complicated, however, by the fact that Congress will be in session. Tuesday’s orientation coincides with the opening day of the lame-duck session, which will include the swearing-in of two new House Members: Republican Reps. Marlin Stutzman (Ind.) and Tom Reed (N.Y.), taking over for Souder and Massa, respectively. The new Members will have to split time between floor votes and actually learning how to cast floor votes.

Tuesday afternoon will bring a luncheon hosted by the House Administration Committee, followed by an optional tour of the CVC.

Wednesday and Thursday are set aside for Republican Conference and Democratic Caucus activities, though leadership on both sides of the aisle have been quiet about what that will entail.

The two days of meetings will be split by a Wednesday night reception for incoming and current Members at the Botanic Garden, hosted by House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.).

And finally, Friday will be the day for the much-anticipated room selection lottery, where Members-elect will find out which office will be theirs for at least the next two years.

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Chart: A Week for Orientation and Leadership Elections

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