GOP and Tea Party Groups to Vie for Freshmen House Members

November 14, 2010

by Chad Pergram, FoxNews

More than 90 freshmen House members descend on Washington Sunday for freshmen orientation.

It’s kind of like move-in day at college. Minus the plastic milk crates swiped from the local dairy. And meeting the weird roommate they paired you with who never removes his earbuds.

Welcome to Congress, freshmen. You’re on your own now. Hope mom and dad left you some beer money.

For the next six days, the House Administration Committee conducts New Member Orientation. It’s where the new lawmakers learn how to be lawmakers. They’ll get schooling in parliamentary procedure, hear about setting up their Congressional offices, receive briefings on security and learn about House ethics.

Plus, there are requisite mixers with fellow freshmen and, depending on your party, dinners with top leaders like presumptive House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), incoming-Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and soon-to-be Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

It all starts Sunday morning as the freshmen filter into the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel for formal orientation meetings. They’ll get checked into their rooms, receive briefing papers and get their Congressional BlackBerry. Soon after that comes their Congressional ID pin and electronic voting card.

But in many respects for the freshmen, this is a lot like moving away to college and trying to fit in. Everyone’s getting to know one another. They’re trying to figure out who’s cool and who they want to hang around with. Choosing committee assignments is kind of like selecting a major. Do you want be an expert on the vagaries of farm subsidies and serve on the Agriculture Committee? Or would your hot-shot Ivy League law degree help out on the Judiciary Committee?

Who are the tough professors to avoid?

They’re lucky Professor Rahm Emanuel doesn’t teach here any more.

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