Recently elected lawmakers bring new challenges to Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON (SBG) - While some elections are still being decided and recounts are underway, Washington isn’t necessarily waiting around.
It’s orientation week on Capitol Hill for new lawmakers.
The fresh faces of newcomers seem ripe with optimism but will the smiles linger beyond the class photo when they realize how much is on their plates?
Party members from both sides say they’re anxious to tackle a major infrastructure plan, lower healthcare costs and cut out the fraud, waste & abuse.
And they’ll be negotiating with a president on a drastically different playing field: a democratic controlled house, republican led senate.
Though with every new class, comes new hope and a belief that they can accomplish what the previous congress, could not.
We asked the youngest member and so-called rising star of the democratic party, Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about it. "We have a lot of people who have never held public office before but come from a really rich background of education or organizing and I think it brings a really incredible fresh perspective.”
First things, first: leadership. It’ll stay the same on the senate side with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., holding the gavel.
"I've been through a few of these over the years. It's a lot better to have a big freshman class than not,” he mused while welcoming a handful of newly elected colleagues.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., remains minority leader. But in the opposite chamber, a house, divided and fight over who should be the next speaker.
”What’s your level of confidence," Thuman asked minority leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
“High,” proclaimed the possible new Speaker of the House.
Others, aren't so sure.
“As we talk about the base of the party, black and brown, there are not black and brown people in our leadership,” contended Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio. “I mean if we’re gonna talk about it, we’re gonna talk the talk we need to walk the walk.”
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. argued, “Everybody likes to talk about personalities, but much more important to the American people are the policies that we pursue.”
Ones that, in this re-plowed political landscape, will require a rare bipartisan push.
“We have an obligation to work with democrats moving forward and I hope they realize they have an obligation to work with us too," hoped Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.