-- Newly-elected lawmakers from the House and Senate arrived in Washington for orientation today – and based on an (admittedly informal) analysis of their agendas, it looks like they are probably reliving the first few days of undergrad.
That’s right: Congressional orientation is basically college orientation all over again. Here are six reasons why:
1. It’s mandatory.
Yeah, mandatory lectures don’t end just because you won an election.
New members are obliged to attend meetings on office logistics, member allowances, and congressional ethics. (Judging by the number of congressional scandals in the past decade, they probably need that last one.)
2. Dorm lottery? Make that office lottery.
At the end of orientation, lawmakers will line up in alphabetical order to draw numbers for the office lottery.
The most-coveted workspaces are in the Rayburn House Office Building, where offices are large and the Capitol subway system is easily accessible. The clunkers are on the fifth floor of the Cannon House Office Building, where offices are smaller and elevators scarce.
For a handful of lawmakers, the office lottery essentially functions as a housing lottery as well. A small cadre of congressmen – the so-called “couch caucus” – bunk in their offices.
3. You may never see these people again.
4. Vote for me for Frosh Class Prez!
5. Yearbook Photo
We’re pretty sure we caught Joni Ernst making bunny ears. (Just kidding.)
6. Pins are the new lanyards.
Of course, the members-elect won't receive their pins until January, when they're sworn in. But while freshman members may be looking forward to sporting the official pin, some of the more senior lawmakers aren’t so into the pin -- House Speaker John Boehner reportedly isn’t a pin guy.