Nov 18, 2018 - Politics & Policy

What we're watching: Newly elected members of Congress hit the Sunday shows

Members of the most diverse incoming congressional class in American history joined Sunday's cable news talk shows to discuss a range of topics, including how their unique perspectives will play a role in trying to bridge a divided nation.

The big picture: On ABC's "This Week," where host Martha Raddatz interviewed five of the record number of women who will serve in the new Congress, Rep.-elect Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) said the success of diverse candidates in the midterms is "an important step for Congress to better represent the face of the nation. And as you can see from our faces, I think we're a better representation of what's been missing in Congress."

  • Rep.-elect Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), the youngest African-American ever elected to Congress, said, "Our voices have not been heard in the halls of the Congress for too long. And now, we don't just have one vote at the table, we have a caucus. A true millennial caucus."
  • Rep.-elect Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), one of the two Native American women first elected to Congress, said on CNN's "State of the Union," "The other day ... two young native girls from South Dakota tapped me on the shoulder ... crying. ... For every Native American child who has never, ever seen themselves represented in this body of our government, it means a tremendous amount to them."

On Nancy Pelosi as speaker

  • Rep.-elect Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who will not be voting for Nancy Pelosi as speaker: "If we are going to turn a page and bring civility back to the political discussions, we need to change the people who are directing that conversation. ... I have tremendous respect for everything that leader Pelosi has done ... but I have been very very clear and honest about my intentions."
  • Rep.-elect Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), for the opposite view: "[Being speaker] is a little bit of herding cats, and it's a little bit about keeping a Democratic Party that's full of lots of different points of view. And I think that Nancy has demonstrated time and time again that she has a backbone. ... This is not forever, but right now, at this time, in this transition for the next two years, I'm with her."

On progressivism in the Democratic Party

  • Rep.-elect Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), who will be Colorado's first black congressman, said on CBS' "Face the Nation": "I am a progressive Democrat and believe that we should be bold in pushing for some really comprehensive solutions around some of the pressing public policy challenge that we face. ... But look, we are a big tent party. We are inclusive, we are diverse. ... I think we are all working together, really in the same direction, trying to save our democracy, to be frank."

On veterans in Congress

  • Rep.-elect Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), who served for 10 years in the military and recently appeared on "Saturday Night Live," said, "I took an oath to the Constitution 12 years ago. That oath has not ended. It's really about service and impact. ... The military has long brought a lot of credibility to American institutions. I hope to bring some of that credibility to Congress."

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