new members

Freshman Democrats march to McConnell’s office to urge him to reopen government
McConnell should stop taking cues from Trump, bring up House bills, new members say

From left, freshman members Reps. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Susie Lee, D-Nev., and Katie Hill, D-Calif., make their way into the Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to call on the Senate to act on reopening the government on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A group of roughly a dozen freshman House Democrats on Tuesday marched to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in the Capitol to ask that he take up House bills to open up government. 

The Kentucky Republican was on the Senate floor when the freshmen stopped by his office, but his staff welcomed them inside. The staff chatted briefly with the new House Democrats and told them they’d set up a meeting with the majority leader.

New members, meet the ‘slush fund’
Many Hill freshmen are already establishing leadership PACs despite association with abuse

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., are among the more than two dozen freshman lawmakers who have established so-called leadership PACs, a type of fundraising committee critics say is too often abused. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar have pledged not to accept corporate PAC money. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The newest class of congressional lawmakers — some of whom campaigned against corruption and corporate influence in politics — is rapidly adopting a practice that critics say is among the swampier in Washington.

More than two dozen new members of the House and Senate — including prominent freshmen such as New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney — have established so-called leadership PACs, according to data compiled by government watchdog group Issue One. Leadership PACs are fundraising committees that allow lawmakers to raise money for their colleagues and candidates.

House Republican Leader Invites Democratic Freshmen to Meet With Him
McCarthy sends letter to newly elected Democrats, responding to their message about prioritizing legislation

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is seen on the chamber floor via a television monitor as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi conducts her weekly news conference Thursday. Later that afternoon, McCarthy sent a letter to incoming Democratic freshmen offering to meet with them to foster bipartisan relationships. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has a message for the newly elected Democrats who swept dozens of his colleagues out of office and his party into the minority: I’ll work with you. 

“When the new Congress is sworn in, we will all bear the ‘solemn responsibility’ of acting on behalf of our fellow citizens, as you wrote in a letter to your party’s leadership earlier this month,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to the incoming Democratic freshmen, obtained by Roll Call. 

Incoming Freshman Chrissy Houlahan Running for Democratic Leadership Post
Pennsylvania member-elect announces bid for Democratic Policy and Communications Committee co-chair

Rep.-elect Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., is running to be one of three co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pennsylvania member-elect Chrissy Houlahan is launching a bid for Democratic leadership, arguing that the nearly 60 incoming freshmen should be represented as the caucus crafts its messaging strategy for defending its newly obtained majority.

“I think that people recognize that there is this great big class of people who are coming in with kind of fresh experience and fresh legs and fresh ideas and that if we would like to maintain the majority that we need to make sure that we’re listening to everybody,” she said in an interview. 

Confidence Abounds Among Pelosi Supporters and Opponents — But One Side Will Lose
Anti-Pelosi contingent claims they have numbers to block Pelosi from becoming speaker

Nancy Pelosi is confident she will be the next speaker. Her opponents are confident they can block that. Someone is going to lose. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two big questions surround the contingent of House Democrats opposing Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker: Are they bluffing when they say there are enough members prepared to vote against the California Democrat on the floor? And if they’re not, will that opposition hold until the Jan. 3 vote?

Leaders of the contingent, including Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Filemon Vela of Texas and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, have all said they’re confident that when the 116th Congress begins on the third day of January, there will be more than enough Democrats ready to vote against Pelosi on the floor — not “present” or abstaining from voting — to prevent her from claiming the speaker’s gavel.

Selfies on the Floor: Members-Elect Break the Rules While They Still Can

Members-elect took tons of selfies in the House chamber, breaking the rules before they're bound by them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman orientation has been full of selfies as the newly elected members of the 116th Congress get to know their classmates and surroundings on Capitol Hill. But many have been breaking a well-known House rule against photos in the House chamber.

At least eight incoming House members posted selfies in the House chamber to their social media accounts on Tuesday. Maybe the newcomers haven’t been briefed on the rules of decorum in the House, or maybe they got a pass during the exciting orientation tours.  

Capitol Ink | Frosh Week

Most House Democrats Will Be in Majority for First Time Ever
In contrast, most House Republicans have never been in the minority

New York Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Grace Meng have never served in the majority, with both first elected in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most House Democrats in the next Congress will be new to the majority and an overwhelming majority of Republicans will be new to the minority — a dynamic that could create a steep learning curve for members as they grapple with party strategy and messaging changes under the new power structure.

Even more significant is that a majority of leadership candidates for both parties have not served in a Democrat-led House.