AIN Update

Freshmen of the 116th Congress have the least political experience of any previous Congress in modern history, according to a recent R Street Institute analysis. Only 32 percent have held an elected office at the state level, and a mere 15 percent have served in a local elected office. These rates are significantly lower than those of the 114th Congress’ freshman class (2015-2017), whose members’ state- and local-level elected position experience was 52 percent and 36 percent, respectively. As R Street’s analysts note, “In a period of extreme dissatisfaction with Congress and with questions increasing about its own capacity to do its job, many point to a decreasing level of institutional memory as a main culprit for why Congress seems unwilling and unable to perform its expected duties. After all, the inevitable result of any wave election is that a large portion of the House is completely new to the job. As a result, a non-trivial portion of the chamber is unfamiliar with the intricacies and traditions of Capitol Hill and is increasingly removed from more functional, productive eras in the House. Instead, members only know hyper-partisan gridlock.”