Freshman Lawmakers Learn Congressional Guidelines
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
People call it a lame-duck session, but it may be more fitting to think of it as a hangover session.
INSKEEP: After the emotion, the spending, the euphoria and, in some cases, the devastation of the last election, Congress is back at work this week. That includes the lawmakers who were defeated.
MONTAGNE: NPR's Andrea Seabrook reports on freshmen orientation.
ANDREA SEABROOK: Come January, Republican Billy Long will represent Missouri's 7th Congressional District. But before then, he's got work to do.
BILLY LONG: We've got to liquidate the auction company, liquidate my third interest in the largest real estate company in town. So there's a lot of things you got to get up to school on, up to speed.
SEABROOK: Arkansas Republican Steve Womack said they need the help. The rules are complicated.
STEVE WOMACK: Financial disclosure, ethics, travel, gifts, those kinds of things, because we're all being swarmed by a whole lot of outside interests, and I think all of us recognize the great potential there is for a misstep along the way.
SEABROOK: National Tea Party leaders held a reception Sunday night to meet the freshmen before they started getting oriented by Republican leaders. Blake Farenthold of Texas was there.
BLAKE FARENTHOLD: I'm listening to everybody up here. I'm not tied into anything. But we've also got a leadership structure in place here that you've got to work within. So it's really a delicate balancing act.
SEABROOK: And there's even a good bit of politicking within the freshmen class itself. Later this week, the new lawmakers will vote by secret ballot for one of their own to represent the group in the House leadership, and Kristi Noem of South Dakota is asking for their votes.
KRISTI NOEM: The freshman class has a unique opportunity to elect someone that could be a strong voice at that table, that really would bring their needs and their positions to the table and really be firm about it.
SEABROOK: But freshman orientation is not officially about politics. It's about the rules. And that's what most people are worried about, says Steve Womack of Arkansas.
WOMACK: I'm sure I speak on behalf of all of my colleagues here: We just don't want to do anything wrong, and that begins with learning what wrong is.
SEABROOK: Andrea Seabrook, NPR News, the Capitol.
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