April 16, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Orientation Introduces New Members to Capitol Hill

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call
Rep. Dan Lungren is leading orientation at the same time his own electoral fate is still unresolved.

Capitol Hill will have a back-to-school vibe Tuesday, as Congress reconvenes and lawmakers and staff get reacquainted with their colleagues and get serious about work after several weeks off from legislating.

Adding to that energy will be the 80 or so members of the 113th Congressí House freshman class who, along with one aide each, will arrive in Washington, D.C., throughout the day for New Member Orientation.

Orientation, or ďBeing a Member of Congress 101,Ē is a rite of passage for members-elect, a series of briefings and seminars to prepare the new lawmakers for their roles before they are sworn-in in January.

This year, orientation will be broken up into two weeks, separated by the Thanksgiving holiday. And according to the schedule of events released by the House Administration Committee, which organizes the orientation, every day will be a busy one.

Adding to the drama of the situation is the fact that House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren, R-Calif., is leading orientation at the same time his own electoral fate is still unresolved. Among the new members scheduled to attend orientation is Lungrenís Democratic opponent, Ami Bera, who is leading the chairman by 1,779 votes, a small enough margin that the race has not been called yet.

Though orientation proper wonít begin until Wednesday, members-to-be will check into their hotel rooms Tuesday. This yearís host is the Capitol Hill Hotel on the corner of C and Second streets Southeast, right down the street from the Capitol South metro station and a stoneís throw from the House side of the Capitol.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, presentations will be held in the auditorium of the Capitol Visitor Center on topics such as ethics rules, office budgets and staff hiring. As is tradition, a class photo will be taken on the steps of the Capitol on Thursday.

Orientation picks up again the week after Thanksgiving. Nov. 27 will be set aside for check-in and arrivals. The balance of the week will include a tour of the House floor and an overview of the legislative process based out of the Library of Congress. There will also be a reception for new members at the U.S. Botanic Garden and on Nov. 30, the very last day of orientation, comes the moment theyíve all been waiting for: the lottery for office assignments.

In between all the required meetings and events, the freshmen will attend to other administrative business, such as searching out places to live and meeting with potential staff members. The members-elect will also be participating in their partyís leadership elections.

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