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Kevin Schaul and Kevin Uhrmacher, “Democrats’ generational gap grows with return of Speaker Pelosi and longtime deputies,” Washington Post:

“There’s a new crop of lawmakers starting on Capitol Hill today, some who are three generations removed from current Democratic leadership. That divide — set to be the largest in more than 50 years — had an insurgent group of younger Democrats calling for change at the top.”

Claire Landsbaum, ““We did not come to play”: Politics’ new power players  are ready for a fight,” Vanity Fair:

“As the most diverse class of freshman lawmakers in history settles in, Washington is preparing for war. Intra-party rifts are deepening. The executive branch is braced for a siege. And Democrats are sharpening their knives, even as they expand their reach. Here, Vanity Fair takes stock of the evolving matrix of power within the Beltway and beyond, from rising stars to those whose clout springs eternal.”

Elise Viebeck and Paul Kane, “‘They’re not asking permission to do things’: Democrats brace for robust freshman class,” Washington Post:

“At the center of this drama is a massive class of about 100 freshmen taking the oath of office, including 63 Democrats whose victories pushed Republicans out of power in the biggest party gains since the post-Watergate election of 1974.”

Rachel Bade and Heather Caygle, “Dems face opportunity — and pitfalls — in new House majority,” Politico:

“When the 116th Congress convenes Thursday, the new majority will immediately begin pushing both an ambitious legislative agenda and an aggressive oversight campaign of Donald Trump’s presidency. But the potential for Democratic infighting also looms large.”

Ronald Brownstein, “Why the New Democratic Majority Could Work Better Than the Last,” The Atlantic:

“Though slightly smaller, the Democratic caucus that’s assuming power is far more ideologically and geographically cohesive than the party’s previous majority 10 years ago. While the 2009 class included a large number of Democrats from blue-collar, culturally conservative, rural seats that were politically trending away from the party, the new majority revolves around white-collar and racially diverse urban and suburban districts that are trending toward them.”

Ella Nilsen, “House Democrats are making changes to decentralize power,” Vox:

“The rules package is an important statement that shows what issues Democrats are elevating in their first few weeks of the session and how they intend to govern over the next two years. Basically, Democrats are trying to show they will behave much differently than House Republicans have over the past eight years.”

David Dayen, “Nancy Pelosi rams austerity provision into House rules package over objections of progressives,” The Intercept:

“Despite pressure from progressive Democrats, the House rules package for the 116th Congress will include a pay-as-you-go provision, requiring all new spending to be offset with either budget cuts or tax increases, a conservative policy aimed at tying the hands of government.”

Jim Newell, “Leggo My Pay-Go,” Slate:

“But the change that garnered the most attention Wednesday morning was what Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and incoming Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern chose to replace CUTGO with (instead of, say, nothing). The rules package reinstates a “pay-as-you-go” (or pay-go) rule, meaning that certain measures that increase the deficit would have to be matched with spending cuts or revenue increases.”

Paul M. Krawzak, “Rules package would renew ‘Gephardt Rule’ with a major twist,” Roll Call:

“The new rules offered by House Democratic leaders, set for floor debate Thursday, would turbocharge the old “Gephardt rule” into something completely new. It would allow the chamber to spin off a resolution “suspending” the debt ceiling to the Senate, without a House vote, once the House adopts its own version of a budget resolution.”

Don Wolfensberger, “Democrats’ rules package stiffs House Republicans and Senate,” The Hill:

“In their rules package for the 116th Congress, House Democrats are to be commended for keeping their promises on such things as stricter internal ethics and anti-discrimination rules, greater advance notice and availability of committee and floor schedules and documents, and new pressures on committees to conduct hearings and issue reports on major legislation that comes through the Rules Committee. That said, there are some zingers in the package that jump-out and gobsmack you with the stench of swamp-gas.”

Derek Willis, “Will Pelosi Open the Floor to Bipartisan Ideas?” New York Times:

“Prodded by some House Democrats, in late November she agreed to establish a more open process for working on legislation and to allow more votes on amendments supported by both parties. The changes in rules, expected to come to a vote after the House reconvenes Thursday, will help set the parameters for Ms. Pelosi’s second stint as speaker.”

Nolan D. McCaskill, “House Dem majority welcomes first black female floor director,” Politico:

“A veteran House Democratic staffer is set to break racial barriers once the House Democrats take power this week. Shuwanza Goff will be the first African-American woman to serve as floor director, a low-profile but hugely important position in incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office.”

Mark Leibovich, “Harry Reid Has a Few Words for Washington,” New York Times:

“Leaving Washington on the eve of Trump’s takeover, Reid insisted that he was happy to be escaping. Maybe, he allowed, it would have been different if Hillary Clinton had won. But “with this, no,” he told New York magazine at the time. “I’m not going to miss it.””

Brooks D. Simpson, “The new Congress and the history of governing by a house divided,” The Conversation:

“While today’s House Democrats hold different political beliefs than did their party brethren 144 years ago, they confront a similar situation. A Republican president and Senate spell doom for the Democratic House’s legislative agenda. But Democrats can check their foes’ ambitions.”

Paul Kane, “Dysfunction junction: Why we have a ‘do nothing’ Congress,” Washington Post (podcast):

“This week the 116th Congress will convene in the Capitol. Amid a government shutdown, The Post’s Paul Kane examines a hunch: Congress’s dysfunction has hit an all-time high.”

Annie Lowery, “How to End Government Shutdowns, Forever,” The Atlantic:

“The case for automatic CRs is straightforward: Shutting down the government is a painful, irresponsible, and stupid thing. Granted, the macroeconomic effects tend to be small, but they are not invisible and they are avoidable.”

Niskanen Center, “Are Divided Governments the Cause of Delays and Shutdowns?,” (podcast):

“We are heading into divided party government in Washington after an unproductive unified Republican period. Will a Democratic House bring even less productivity and more government shutdowns? We use the history of Congress and US state governments for an updated look at what party divisions between the legislative and executive branches bring us in terms of policy output.”

Jason Dick, “What to Expect as the New 116th Congress Gets Underway,” Roll Call (podcast):

“As the 116th Congress is sworn in, things are going to look and operate differently: A record number of women in the House and Senate, new ethics rules, divided government, maybe even hats on the House floor! Also, amid it all, the 2020 presidential race is already well underway. Roll Call staff writer Katherine Tully-McManus breaks down the biggest changes for Political Theater.”

Robert Mitchell, “The unassuming Texan who ran the House longer than anyone else,” Washington Post:

“Rayburn’s 17-year tenure as speaker was interrupted twice, when Republicans took control of the House in 1946 and 1952. But he was so highly regarded by his Democratic colleagues that he returned to the speaker’s chair after Democrats returned to the majority in 1948 and 1954. When Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was elected speaker Thursday, she became the first to return to the job since Rayburn.”

Katherine Tully-McManus, “House Ethics reminds members and staff of rules for life after Congress,” Roll Call:

“In a memo released Thursday with just hours left in the 115th Congress, the House Ethics Committee reminded departing lawmakers of criminal restrictions on certain job-hunting practices.”

Malliga Och and Shauna Shames, “Only 1 out of 36 newly elected female representatives in Congress is Republican – here’s why it matters,” The Conversation:

“In the long run, being the party of white men is a losing demographic strategy for Republicans. More importantly, democracy depends on the debate of multiple viewpoints by diverse people. We do not mean to suggest that there must be perfect numerical equality at all times, but inequities should rotate, not stagnate. For legitimate representative governance, each party needs to contain a strong core of elected women.”

Donald Sherman, “Congress could raise salaries to close revolving door to lobbying,” The Hill:

“Raising salaries would help broaden representation. Doing this would also ameliorate some of the ethics concerns that lead many Americans to hold the body in such low esteem these days. But in order to get a raise, Congress must also strengthen its ethics and transparency rules to promote the efficacy of and public faith in the legislative branch.”

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Marian Currinder
Marian Currinder is a senior fellow with the R Street Institute’s Governance Project and editor of LegBranch.org. Marian previously served as senio...

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