New Congress to be Very Inexperienced
When January roll call is made on Capitol Hill, it will be full of newly enrolled senators and representatives making it one of the least experienced groups in many years. Congress will have a number of sophomore and rookies who are not bound by the traditions of the institution, but have virtually none of the experience of prior Congresses.
The freshman class of 2010 was historically large and in 2012, 36 lawmakers retired adding to the turnover expected in the November election, the January Congress could consists of more than 155 members with fewer than four years of Capitol Hill experience.
The implications that a youthful Congress brings are significant. On the positive side, the American public will get new blood infused into what is considered the least popular Congress for decades. New ideas and new vigor will come to stodgy and stoic Capitol Hill.
The downside could be equally as bad. The new lawmakers for both parties could be even more partisan and less willing to make compromises and not be beholden to any specific leader or customs and that could create a problem for what has been considered the traditional form of legislating.
The new youthful Congress could cause more polarization and gridlock than the current standing Congress even though voters have rebuked Congress for taking that stance. Jim Copper a House member from Tennessee said there are subcommittee chairmen who do not know the correct end of the gavel to use when bringing a meeting to order, much less how to get a bill passed. In 2010, 96 freshmen were brought into Congress, including 9 Democrats and 87 Republicans. Special elections brought in another five freshmen. This year 11 senators and 24 House members have decided to retire or have already retired.
Another 12 or more current lawmakers have decided to run for a different office, potentially making their seats available. The redistricting that took place left another 19 seats open. Election losses are not even amongst those numbers and that could generate even more freshman members of Congress.