115th Congress: The First Day
The 115th Congress will connive on January 3, 2017.*
The Congressional Research Service recently updated its publications about the first day of a new congress, Judy Schneider and Michael L. Koempel, The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the Senate Floor (2016) and Judy Schneider and Michael L. Koempel, The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the House Floor (2016).
According to these publications the established first days of both houses are as follows:
The Senate follows a well-established routine on the opening day of a new Congress. The proceedings include:
- swearing in Senators elected or reelected in the most recent general election (approximately one-third of the Senate) or newly appointed to the convening Senate;
- establishing the presence of a quorum;
- adopting administrative resolutions;
- adopting standing orders for the new Congress;
- agreeing by unanimous consent to any date, other than the convening date, on which bills and joint resolutions may begin to be introduced; and
- electing a new President pro tempore and one or more Senate officers if there is a vacancy or a change in party control.
The House follows a well-established first-day routine. The proceedings include:
- a call to order by the Clerk of the House;
- a prayer led by the chaplain and the Pledge of Allegiance led by the Clerk;
- a quorum call ordered by the Clerk;
- the election of the Speaker, ordered by the Clerk and conducted with the assistance of tellers;
- remarks by the Speaker-elect, followed by his or her swearing-in by the dean of the House;
- adoption of the rules of the House for the new Congress;
- the oath of office for the newly elected and re-elected Members, administered by the Speaker;
- adoption of various administrative resolutions and unanimous consent agreements; and
- announcement of the Speaker’s policies on certain floor practices.
The majority of the 115th Congress will be white, male, Christian, and heterosexual, according to Cristina Marcos, 115th Congress will be most racially diverse in history, The Hill (11/17/2016). Of the 535 members of Congress 433 are white. Forty-nine are African-Americans, 38 Hispanics, and 15 Asian-Americans. Note, the number African-American and Hispanic members of Congress is the highest in history. There are 431 Congressmen. The number of male Senators will be the lowest ever 79. There will be 528 heterosexual members. Finally, 496 members of Congress are Christian. Of the 39 non-Christian, 30 are Jewish, 4 Hindu, 3 Buddhist, and 2 Muslim.
* See Congressional Calendars: