113th United States Congress

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112th Congress
The 113th United States Congress is the current meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The 113th Congress first convened in Washington, D.C. on January 3, 2013 and will conclude on January 3, 2015. It is the most diverse Congress in the nation's history, owing to a record number of newly elected women and minorities. Six years after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) was elected the first female Speaker, the chamber's Democrats broke ground once again when they swore in 58 women and 72 minorities, making it the first ever congressional caucus from either party or chamber where Caucasian men do not make up the majority.[1]

New members, including the first Buddhist Senator, first Hindu Rep. and first open bisexual female Rep., were elected on November 6, 2012.[1]

The appointments of Tim Scott and Mo Cowan mark the first time in United States history where two black senators are serving in the U.S. Senate at the same time.[2]

In addition to its diversity, the composition of the 113th Congress is notable for its inexperience. In Feb. 2013, the Washington Post published a story exploring how the current generation of congressional committee leaders see the dismantlement of traditional lawmaking procedure, and their roles within it, as a consequence of Congress' recent bulge of freshmen members. Reinforcing their theory, the report cited that over one third of House members, and 32 of the Senate's 100 members, have "served two years or less."[3]


House vote on abortion ban

On June 18, 2013 the House voted 228-196, mostly along party lines, to approve a ban on late-term abortions, or abortions occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy[4][5] A number of members crossed over party lines in their votes. The vote was largely symbolic as the bill is not expected to be taken up in the Senate and the White House has threatened to veto the legislation.[6] Some of the notable votes included:

Republican PartyRepublicans who voted against:

Note: Reps. Woodall and Broun were opposed because they felt the bill did not go far enough and left exceptions to the ban.[5][7]

Democratic PartyDemocrats who voted in favor:

2013 Budget Proposals

Paul Ryan Budget Plan

In March 2013 the Republican controlled House passed the budget proposal set out by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (R) for the third straight year.[8] However, not all Republican representatives voted in favor of the proposal.[8] 10 Republican Representatives voted against Ryan's budget proposal.[8] The 10 Republican Representatives included Justin Amash, Paul Broun, Rick Crawford, Randy Forbes, Chris Gibson, Phil Gingrey, Joe Heck, Walter Jones, Tom Massie and David McKinley.

The proposal was killed after being voted down in the U.S. Senate with a 40-59 vote.[9]

The proposal would have cut about $5 trillion over the next decade and aimed to balance the budget by the end of the 10-year period.[8] The 2013 bill had opposition from 10 Republicans — the same number that voted against it in 2012. In 2011 only four Republicans cast a vote in opposition.[8] Democrats have unanimously voted against the bill every year.[8]

Senate Budget Proposal

On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years.[10] No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats, Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan, Mark Begich and Max Baucus, opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014.[10]

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.[10]

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan brings the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs now, and it orders up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.[10]

The Senate plan differs greatly, and includes $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.[10]

March 2013 filibuster

See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak,”[11] With these words Sen. Rand Paul initiated a filibuster to delay the senate vote on the confirmation of the President's nominee to the head of the CIA and to draw attention to the questions surrounding the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or "drones" by the executive branch. Paul began speaking shortly before noon on Wednesday and continued to speak for 12 hours and 52 minutes, which marks his speech as the 9th longest filibuster in the history of the Senate.[12] When asked why this sort of event does not occur more frequently, Paul explained that since who speaks on the Senate floor is decided by the leadership of the Senate, it's often difficult to begin a traditional filibuster. "One of the reasons filibusters don't occur is because they carefully guard the floor from letting it happen. And it was left unguarded," he said,"We had no plan and I had the wrong shoes on, my feet were hurting the whole day," [13]

The main topic of Paul's speech was the use of drones as a means of attacking American citizens on U.S. soil, asking "Your notification is the buzz of propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you're killed. Is that what we really want from our government?" [14]. Paul protested the lack of transparency in the drone program, asking "What will be the standard for how we kill Americans in America?... Could political dissent be part of the standard for drone strikes?"[15] Paul questioned the President's refusal to state publicly that such strikes would not be used against citizens on U.S. soil saying, "[Obama] says trust him because he hasn’t done it yet. He says he doesn’t intend to do so, but he might. Mr. President, that’s not good enough . . . so I’ve come here to speak for as long as I can to draw attention to something that I find to really be very disturbing.”[16] Paul concluded his remarks asking for his counterparts on the other side of the aisle to join him in his efforts to obtain clarification from the president.[17]

A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.[18][19][20] According to the website Breitbart, 30 Republican senators did not support the filibuster.[21][22] The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."[23]



Position Representative Party
President of the Senate Joe Biden Electiondot.png Democratic
Senate Majority Leadership
President pro tempore Patrick Leahy Electiondot.png Democratic
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Electiondot.png Democratic
Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin Electiondot.png Democratic
Senate Minority Leadership
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Ends.png Republican
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn Ends.png Republican

House of Representatives

Position Representative Party
Speaker of the House John Boehner Ends.png Republican
House Majority Leadership
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Ends.png Republican
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy Ends.png Republican
House Minority Leadership
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Electiondot.png Democratic
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer Electiondot.png Democratic

Speaker of the House Election

During the 113th Congress swearing in ceremony and election for Speaker of the House, Ohio representative and Speaker of the 112th Congress John Boehner (R) saw nine Republican members of congress either vote for someone else or abstain and vote present. This is a change from the Speaker election in 2010, where Boehner received votes from the entire 241 member Republican caucus. Boehner won re-election to the speakership with 220 votes. He needed a majority of members voting, which would be 214 of the 426 who voted. Former Speaker and California representative Nancy Pelosi (D) in turn received 192 votes.[24]

The nine Republican members who voted for someone other than Boehner include: Justin Amash, Steve Pearce, Jim Bridenstine, Ted Yoho, Paul Broun, Louie Gohmert, Walter Jones, Thomas Massie and Tim Huelskamp. Not all members who voted for someone other the Boehner or Pelosi voted for a current member of the U.S. House. Outgoing member Allen West, former Comptroller General David Walker, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell all received votes.[24] This highlights the fact that the speaker does not have to be a member of the U.S. House, although all previous speakers have been.[25]

Following the vote, the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives remained the same as it was in the 112th United States Congress.


See the List of current members of the U.S. Congress page for a list of current members.




The following data lists the professions of the members of the U.S. Senate and the change in their numbers from the 112th congress.[26]

  • 45 lawyers (-1)
  • 22 businesspeople (0)
  • 9 career politicians and government employees (-1)
  • 7 educators (0)
  • 4 nonprofit and community workers (+1)
  • 3 medical professionals (0)
  • 3 farmers and ranchers (+1)
  • 3 career military and law enforcement (+1)
  • 2 entertainment and media (-1)
  • 2 other (+1): 1 social worker, 1 engineer


The following data lists the professions of the members of the U.S. House and the change in their numbers from the 112th congress.[26]

  • 128 lawyers (+3)
  • 108 businesspeople (-7)
  • 55 career politicians and government employees (+2)
  • 44 educators (+2)
  • 29 medical professionals (+1)
  • 19 career military and law enforcement (+2)
  • 12 farmers and ranchers (-1)
  • 10 nonprofit and community workers (0)
  • 8 entertainment and media (+4)
  • 7 accountants (0)
  • 13 other (-4): 2 social workers, 1 microbiologist, 1 legal secretary, 2 clergy, 2 engineers, 1 youth camp director, 1 mill supervisor, 1 physicist, 1 carpenter, 1 union rep

Election rivals serving concurrently

There are several members of the U.S. House that were one-time rivals who faced off in previous elections. This is not a normal occurrence but does happen after redistricting or when a former candidate moves. The following is a list of such cases in the 113th Congress.

Lobbying positions after leaving office

In March 2013 USA Today compiled a list of sixteen former lawmakers who took on a lobbying related positions after leaving office.[27] Included on the list were Steven C. LaTourette, Jo Ann Emerson, Denny Rehberg, Howard Berman, Scott Brown, Kathy Hochul, Jon Kyl and Joe Lieberman.[27] The 16 former lawmakers were out of the 98 total lawmakers who have retired or were ousted by voters since January 2011 hold lobbying-related jobs.[27] USA Today looked at lawmakers who retired, resigned or lost their seats in the last Congress — along with the handful who left their posts during the first months of the new 113th Congress.[27]

Despite rules in place to prevent the constant rotation of lawmakers into lobbying positions, 16 former lawmakers have recently entered into positions with either lobbying firms or trade associations.[27] Former House members are barred from lobbying their former colleagues for a year, and former senators, are barred for two years.[27]

There are no restrictions, however, on providing behind-the-scenes advice to corporations and others seeking to shape federal legislation.[27] Ex-lawmakers can immediately lobby the executive branch and officials in state and local governments.[27] Many former lawmakers are taking advantage of this slight distinction, and are taking positions after their political careers end as consultants and strategists.[27]

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Washington Post, "The 113th Congress is the most diverse in history," January 3, 2013
  2. Slate.com "For the First Time Ever, We'll Have Two Black Senators Serving at the Same Time," January 30, 2013
  3. The Washington Post, "Congress's committee chairmen push to reassert their power," February 13, 2013
  4. CNN "House passes late term abortion ban" Accessed June 20, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 U.S. House "June 18 Roll Call Vote" Accessed June 20, 2013
  6. Politico "House OKs 20-week abortion ban bill" Accessed June 20, 2013
  7. Examiner "Two Georgia Republicans voted against abortion ban (Video)" Accessed June 20, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Washington Post "10 House Republicans Vote Against Ryan Budget" Accessed March 22, 2013
  9. CBS News "Senate Rejects Paul Ryan Budget" Accessed March 22, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 New York Times "Senate Passes $3.7 Trillion Budget, Setting Up Contentious Negotiations" Accessed March 25, 2013
  11. Washingtontimes.com"After almost 13 hours, Rand Paul ends Brennan filibuster" March 7, 2013
  12. NYTimes.com Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster March 7, 2013
  13. CNN Poliitical ticker "Rand Paul on filibuster: 'We had no plan March 7, 2013
  14. FoxNews.com "Sen. Paul declares 'victory' after Holder offers assurance on drones" March 2013
  15. NYTimes.com "Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster March 7,2013
  16. Washingtonexaminer.com "Rand Paul filibustering over drones: I will not let Obama ‘shred the Constitution’" March 7, 2013
  17. USA Today "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest" March 7, 2013
  18. CNN "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
  19. USA Today "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
  20. ABC News "Rand Paul Wins Applause From GOP and Liberals," March 7, 2013
  21. Breitbart "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013
  22. Politico "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
  23. Washington Post "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Hill "Boehner reelected as Speaker; nine Republicans defect in vote," January 3, 2013
  25. Office of the Clerk "House Leadership & Officers," accessed January 3, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 Bloomberg Businessweek, "The 113th Congress, by the Numbers," January 10, 2013
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 27.5 27.6 27.7 27.8 USA Today "Former lawmakers lobbying jobs" Accessed March 27, 2013