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Posted Jan. 9, 2008.
With the 111th Congress in full swing (see Conor’s post on freshman members and Donny’s recent work on the first 10 bills in the Senate), we’re starting to see changes announced last year become formalized, such as the selection of committee chairs and ranking members in the House and Senate. With big policy debates on the horizon, you’ll also start to hear more about the caucus leadership.
Fortunately, Congresspedia has you covered. We detailed the leadership changes back in December, but we also have citizen-generated entries on the leadership in the House and Senate. These articles include background information on the various positions and links to profiles of individual senators and representatives.
We also have new information on House and Senate committee membership. House Democrats have announced where freshman members are headed, and Republicans in the House have selected members for a couple of key committees. You can find the most up-to-date rosters of committee members by starting at the 111th Congress page and clicking through to the article on each committee.
Doing so really shows how much of an impact the November election had on the Republican Party and its representation in Congress. For example, half of the GOP members on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee either retired or were defeated in the 2008 election. If Sen. Norm Coleman (R) fails in his legal challenge and Democrat Al Franken is declared the winner of the Minnesota senate race, the ratio climbs to five of eight.
One can find a similar story by examining the House Ways and Means Committee, where 8 of 17 Republican members in the 110th Congress were no longer in office at the beginning of the 111th Congress. Six new members were selected this week, but new majority/minority ratios mean there will be two fewer Republicans on the committee this session.
Posted Jan. 6, 2008.
The House and Senate both convened their inaugural sessions of the 111th Congress at noon Tuesday with 65 new faces. There were 39 Democrats (plus two non-voting members who caucus with Democrats) and 24 Republicans. (See the complete, citizen-authored profiles of the freshmen at Congresspedia.)
In the Senate, there were nine freshmen, including Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), who were both representatives but won election to the Senate in 2008. Another five Democrats and two Senators were also sworn in. However, another four to five freshmen are waiting in the wings to be sworn in:
- Ted Kaufman (D) has been named to succeed Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Michael Bennet has been named to succeed Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) in the Senate, but the senators have not yet resigned their seats to join the Obama administration.
- A replacement for Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) will be appointed when she resigns her seat to join the Obama administration.
- Roland Burris (D) has been named to succeed Barack Obama (D-Ill.), but his credentials have not yet been accepted by Senate Democratic leaders, who object to Burris' appointment by scandal-tainted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
- Al Franken (D) has been certified as the winner of the Senate election in Minnesota by the state Canvassing Board, but incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) has challenged the results, delaying the final certification.
There are currently 56 freshman members of the House (including one non-voting Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico and one non-voting delegate from Northern Marianas), but two others will likely join it soon:
- A special election will be held to replace Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who has resigned from the House to join the Obama administration. A primary is scheduled for March 3rd and a general election is set for April 7th.
- A special election will be held to replace Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) once she resigns her seat to become the Secretary of Labor in the Obama administration. Once she resigns, the California governor must call for a special election within 14 days, and the election must be held within 140 days of that.
The freshman include 32 Democrats (plus the Northern Marianas' non-voting delegate and Puerto Rico's non-voting Resident Commissioner, both of whom caucus with the Democrats) and 22 Republicans.
Complete, citizen-authored profiles of the freshmen are all available at at Congresspedia.