The days of ‘Old Boys Club’ in Congress are over

Washington insiders have always called Congress an “old boys club.” And why would they call it anything different today? After all, the average age of the incoming class of Congressman is 58 years and in the Senate, it is 61 years, very close to the all-time highs set in 2007 by the 110th Congress of 57 years and 63 years.

Last month’s elections did help plant some cracks in the proverbial glass ceiling, however. Walking into the chambers for the first time this January will be a crop of new members under the age of forty bringing some much-needed change and youth to the halls of the United States Congress.

Seven of these new Congressmen, including Patrick Murray (D-Fla.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) are age 35 or younger. Four of them were born in or after 1980, a 200 percent increase from the 112th Congress, the current session of Congress, when only Republicans Aaron Schock (Ill.) and Justin Amash (Mich.) were born in the eighties.

Several other current members are under the age of 40, including Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.), but weren’t born post-MTV in the eighties.

Many of these new members also bring with them extensive political backgrounds despite their youth. Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, elected last month to represent Hawaii’s Second Congressional District, is a combat veteran and the youngest person to ever be elected to the Hawaii State Legislature. Massachusetts Democrat Joseph P. Kennedy has spent his entire life in the political sphere. As the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy and the son of former Massachusetts Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, politics literally runs in Kennedy’s blood.

Another 11 new Members of Congress are between the ages of 36 and 40 (a twelfth, Democratic Senator-Elect Chris Murphy, is not exactly “new” considering he represented Connecticut’s Fourh District in the last Congress). In short, the number of Congressmen under the age of forty this term will be nearly double that during the 110th Congress six years ago.

So why is this? According to Politico, social media has a played a large role in this increase. Amash told the paper that his use of social media has been “helpful picking up support and respect from people on the other side of the aisle.” The Congressman is well-known in Washington for posting his own tweets instead of relying on a staffer to update the site.

And this trend appears to be rubbing off on his new peers. Incoming Democrat Eric Swalwell of California “plans to connect with his Bay Area constituents during city council and school board meetings using Web chats – timing them so he can speak to the groups when they’re meeting on the West Coast.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) – both of whom are in their forties – will be the first to admit that they are far different from their elder colleagues, starting with their music choices. Perhaps the playlists of these upcoming new members will also include far more Nirvana and Eminem than the Congress before them, too.

Comments

Alec Baldwin for New York City mayor?
Alec Baldwin for New York City Mayor? Well, if he can’t be one in real life, he at least plans to play one on TV. Deadline reported Friday that Baldwin will star in and executive produce an untitled series for HBO where he “will play Joe Byrne, a billionaire real estate developer philanthropist, and celebrated socialite/tabloid fixture, […]
The Daily Show rips into Florida gun law

The Daily Show sent one of their “correspondents” down to Florida to "investigate" Governor Rick Scott’s law banning doctors from asking their patients about gun ownership.

Kimmel on the DEA's 'stoner rabbit' fear

In one of the more ridiculous anti-pot arguments we've seen in a while, the DEA in Utah is super concerned that, if they legalize edibles for medical use, all the local bunnies will get stoned out of their minds and lose their natural instincts.

Jon Stewart mocks Netanyahu

Jon Stewart spent a good deal of time Tuesday evening bashing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech before Congress, saying sarcastically, “Even though Netanyahu was speaking only two weeks before the Israeli elections, he wasn’t there just to use our Congress as the most elaborate campaign commercial background ever.”

Stewart calls House GOP 'turds'

Jon Stewart was looking forward to the end of congressional gridlock now that Republicans control both houses.

White House

Calling for cooperation, Obama engages in confrontation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid appeals for bipartisanship, President Barack Obama in just three days has provoked Republicans on issues as disparate as immigration, Wall Street and the Keystone XL pipeline — a combative mix of defense and offense that underscores Washington's political realignment.

It’s on: Obama follows through and vetoes Keystone pipeline

Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency.

Biden: The middle class is ‘being killed,’ in worse shape than any time since the ’20s

Joe Biden—everyone’s favorite creeper and truth-bomb-dropper.

MSNBC Host: Obama’s terrorism summit is a ‘dog and pony show’
You know it’s bad when President Obama has even lost the support of MSNBC. MSNBC Host Andrea Mitchell basically called the White House’s Summit on “Countering Violent Extremism” a farce during her show Wednesday. “Here he has the summit, no heads of government coming, the participation has not been at a particularly high level. We’ll have […]
Obama assures ‘almost complete confidence’ there have been no NSA abuses

The president’s interview with Re/code over the weekend touched on privacy issues, with Obama insisting with “almost complete confidence” that there have been no abuses of the government’s vast surveillance program.

Congress

GOP senators look to legalize hemp
Hemp isn’t a drug, it’s an important commodity. Or at least that’s the argument from Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. Gardner (R-Colo.), along with three co-sponsors, introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 Thursday. “Industrial hemp is a safe substance with many practical commercial applications,” Gardner told The Hill. “Removing it from the Controlled Substances Act is […]
Feds bring charges against Sen. Bob Menendez
CNN — The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat, alleging he used his Senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts. People briefed on the case say Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on […]
DeSantis, Lee push for higher education reform
Higher education is finally getting some attention from Republicans in Congress. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R- Fla.) introduced the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act Wednesday, the House companion legislation to what was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mike Lee (R- Utah). The HERO Act would allow states to create their own accreditation systems for […]
Can Congress pass NSA reform in the next 100 days?

After failing to pass NSA reform last year, Congress has less than 100 days left to try again, or allow the entire phone metadata program to sunset on June 1.

Trey Gowdy says he's going straight to Hillary

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email controversy has opened up a new front in the House's investigation of the 2012 Benghazi attack, with Rep. Trey Gowdy saying Tuesday that his investigators would be going straight to Clinton and her team to obtain all relevant correspondence.