Capitol to Capitol
An Information Service of NCSL's Standing Committees

Volume 19   Issue 32 - November 9, 2012



One-third of the congressional freshmen class will bring with them experience acquired as legislators in their respective state capitals. Election Day results will send Senator-elect Deb Fischer directly to the U.S. Senate after her service in the Nebraska Unicameral. Sen. Fischer also recently served a three-year term on NCSL’s Executive Committee. Coming with her are Senators-elect Chris Murphy (Connecticut), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin), each of whom followed a path from their state legislature to the U.S. House of Representatives before last Tuesday's election. The House's first-termers will number 86, 33 of whom have state legislative experience on their resumes. A handful of elections remain either in recount, are not yet official, or await the counting of provisional and overseas ballots before winners are certified. When the dust settles, just under half of the members of the 113th Congress will have served in state legislatures. They will spend next week and beyond in orientation sessions in the nation's capital. A state-by-state list of members of the 113th Congress with state legislative credentials is available at:; NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley, Alex Fitzsimmons)


The first order of business once Congress reconvenes next week is how to proceed with the fiscal cliff, which includes tax cuts and spending cuts (sequestration) set to expire or initiate around the beginning of the new year. Coming off his successful re-election bid Tuesday, President Obama made a statement Friday calling on Congress to extend tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 per year. His remarks can be viewed here: In a briefing on Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner, who retained a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, declared his desire to compromise with the president in an effort to reduce the nation’s deficit. “There is an alternative to going over the fiscal cliff,” Speaker Boehner stated. “It involves making real changes to the financial structure of entitlement programs, and reforming our tax code to curb special-interest loopholes and deductions.” His statement can be viewed here: In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered a conciliatory remark that “it’s better to dance than to fight.” Meanwhile, echoing similar sentiments from earlier in the year, the Congressional Budget Office released a new report this week stressing that a failure to address the fiscal cliff in the coming months would force the U.S. into another recession and cause unemployment to spike to 9.1 percent. For more information on how the fiscal cliff and sequestration will impact states and to keep informed on deficit reduction news as it occurs in the nation’s capitol, please view NCSL’s deficit reduction overview page, located here: NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird Jeff Hurley


House and Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats will select their leadership teams for the 113th Congress next week. House Democrats will wait until the end of the month to select their leadership slate. But, picking leaders for the next Congress will be done amidst negotiations over lingering big-ticket items like the fiscal cliff and sequestration (see article above). Other issues competing for attention and resolution are supplemental funds that may be needed for damages produced by Hurricane Sandy, a farm bill reauthorization, cybersecurity and Russian trade relations. Congress will be in session the weeks of November 12 and 26 and in December until the 21st or until the fate of the fiscal cliff is resolved.


The 2012 NCSL Fall Forum will take place in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 5-7. The meeting will focus on how best to advance the States’ agenda and address challenging policy issues. Early bird registration is available until Wednesday, Nov. 14. To register, please visit,122,920#920.