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As the curtain comes down on the dysfunctional 112th Congress at noon today, when the new congress is sworn in, there are plenty of questions. Will filibuster reform happen? Will John Boehner be the weakest Speaker of the House ever? Will a new sense of cooperation reign? Well, that last question is easily answered: no.
House Republicans Thursday are rolling partisan welcome mat for newly elected Democrats, circulating a tongue-in-cheek guide for being the perfect “lap dog” for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. [...]

According to a draft of the release accompanying the “kit,” it comes “complete with a ‘Yes, Nancy Pelosi’ stamp and an official Lap Dog membership card … [so new members] will be prepared to rubber stamp her tax and spend, big-government policies and support Democrats’ failed agenda.”

Charming.

But on to some of the good stuff. Connecticut for Lieberman's favorite Senator leaves that stage today. But that's just one highlight. In the House, there are now 233 Republicans and 200 Democrats, with special elections pending for the vacant seats which were held by Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) and Tim Scott (R-SC).

There are 84 freshmen in the 113th Congress, 35 Republicans (32 men, 3 women) and 49 Democrats (33 men, 16 women). This year's Freshman class includes the first Hindu elected to Congress, Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), and the first openly bisexual person elected to Congress, Rep.-elect Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). [...]

According to ThinkProgress.org, there are four incoming members that were born in the 1980s: Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-02), Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA-04) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15).

Makes you feel old, huh? The House Democratic caucus is the most diverse in history, with more women and minorities than white men. That makes this the most diverse House ever.

In the Senate, there are 12 new members bringing the totals to 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 2 independents who will both caucus with the Democrats. There's some welcome news on the diversity front in the Senate, as well:

Among them is Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the first openly gay person elected to the Senate; and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), the first Buddhist, the first Asian-American woman and the first Japanese-born person elected to the Senate.

Incoming Senate members Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) are the first women elected to the Senate from their states.

You'll note that almost all of this progress in the Congress is on the Democrats' side. That helps explain some of the dysfunction in the Congress: it's a generation gap, or a timewarp. Democrats are operating in the 21st century, while Republicans have all regressed to the early 20th century.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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