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Members Party Down on the First Day of New Session

Having already posed for the obligatory pictures, placed their hands on the good book and weathered a nail-biter of a leadership challenge (Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, voted for … himself! Newcomer Curt Clawson, R-Fla., endorsed … Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul), the members of the 114th Congress dove right into what #ThisTown does best: schmoozing.  

Six-term Sen. Charles. E. Grassley wandered across the Capitol to greet incoming delegation member Rod Blum, but just missed his newly minted colleague.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“I’m going to go find out where my boss is right now,” a Blum aide assured the senior Iowa Republican. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., basically hosted a riot.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The entire hallway outside her office was clogged with well-wishers — “This is like Michigan Central in here,” one attendee informed another as they swam through the crowd in search of the front door — from all walks of life.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The pile of introductory business cards at a nearby table was stacked with contact info for folks from Service Employees International Union, the American Enterprise Institute, AARP and the National Grocers Association (just to name a few).  

Her neighbor right across the hall, Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich., appeared to be far less preoccupied.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The giant cookies, bottled water and assorted fruit (grapes, apples) he’d procured seemed to be largely undisturbed.  

There was a line out the door to enjoy some face time with Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“We’ll come back. It’s just staff in there,” a gentleman in a cowboy hat assured his companions after peeking his head into the bustling office.  

Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., was another one who could barely contain the swearing-in excitement.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Those who came to hang with him wound up spilling over into the hallways and elevator banks of Longworth.  

Rep. Joyce Beatty gets our vote for greatest hostess.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The Ohio Democrat did it up right, treating her guests to a mouthwatering feast of fried chicken wings, waffles, meatballs, corn bread, macaroni and cheese and sweet tea.  

Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., kept things loose by serving up a little Argentinean red (Alamos Malbec), a home state white (Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay), deli-style sandwiches and some fancy cookies.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., fielded a curious spread of gourmet popcorn, warm beans, raw vegetables and what looked to be bread pudding.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Alex X. Mooney, R-W.Va., elected to take the festivities elsewhere — directing visiting constituents to venture over to the “Amway Townhouse” for a little R & R.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The most common refrain we heard while roaming from shindig to shindig?  

“Where’s the restroom?”  

The least repeated phrase?  

“You guys want to exercise for three floors?” one cardio-craving staffer challenged co-workers to hoof it up the spiraling staircases all the way to the top of Cannon.  

Ya gotta love the enthusiasm.  

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