Many newcomers, in Washington for orientation sessions after their election, described a need to compromise. Some also made it clear there will be plenty of fuel for partisan clashes.
"I'm going in open-minded," said conservative Rep.-elect Roger Williams, R-Texas. "But I have certain core values like we all do and I'm not going to waver on that."
All together, there will be 73 women in the House and 20 in the Senate. Both are records.
For the first time, more than half of House Democrats — 105, in this case — will not be white males.
One white male will be Rep.-elect Joseph Kennedy III, a Massachusetts Democrat whose father was Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., and grandfather was New York Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy. When the newest Kennedy takes office, it will end the only two years since 1947 without a member of his family in Congress.
Those leaving include several who have been in the middle of recent years' policy battles.
Among them are Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the GOP's No. 2 Senate leader; Indiana's Lugar, a longtime GOP power on foreign policy; North Dakota's Conrad, the Senate Budget Committee chairman and one of his party's chief deficit foes; and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., who heads the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Gone from the House will be California Democratic Reps. Pete Stark, a major force on health issues, and Howard Berman, long influential in foreign affairs, plus liberal Massachusetts stalwart Barney Frank, whose name is on the new law overhauling the government's regulation of banks and other financial institutions.
Also leaving: House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif., and Ron Paul, 77, who charted his own libertarian course in Congress and long-shot campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012.
"The status quo will continue," Paul, who sees little difference between the two political parties, said of the new Congress. As for his own departure, he said, "Nobody will notice."
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