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Congressmen-elect taking part in new member orientation

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Buffalo: Congressmen-elect taking part in new member orientation
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Congressmen and Congresswomen-elect are in DC this week. They are taking part in the new member orientation process to learn their way around the Hill. New York has several new representatives taking part. Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Erin Billups has the details.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than 80 new House members- elect have descended upon Capitol Hill. For Upstate New York's three incoming members, survivors of intense toss-up races, the reality that they may not have been walking these halls brings greater appreciate with their new roles.

"It was hard fought and I can tell you early on when the election results came in and we were trailing, that thought absolutely entered my head," said Congressman-elect Chris Collins.

Collins will represent the state’s most republican Congressional District, the 27th. Meanwhile, both Sean Patrick Maloney and returning member Dan Maffei will join 47 new democrats in the House, beating out two members brought in during the 2010 Tea Party wave.

"What it means to me is that the American people are ready to turn the page on the Tea Party," Maloney said.

Most of the newly-elected members feel they were sent to Washington with a mandate, to help foster compromise, putting an end to the culture of brinksmanship.

Maffei said, "We need to get things done for the American people right now and that I think is the real dissatisfaction with the last couple of years."

Maffei predicts they will likely face the same problems in January that the current Congress will try and tackle during this lame duck session.

"I think they will continue to punt. That's what they've done for the last couple of years,” Maffei said. “Now with no election ahead of them, I don't expect them to be more accountable to the American people, that's for sure."

Collins is one of 35 new House republicans and while holding firm to his party's push for tax reform, not tax hikes, he insists he will work hard with his colleagues across the aisle.

Collins said, "We all want the same vision of America being the land of opportunity and I just hope we can debate those issues in a responsible cordial way."

For now, though, the members-elect are getting the lay of the land, attending orientation events

Maloney said, "I'm excited to get started. I mean, this is still about a lot of procedural stuff and finding your office and getting your id card. And I think that what I’m real interested in doing is solving people’s problems.”

Maloney says he hopes to get a spot on the House Transportation and Agriculture Committees. Collins says he hopes he's placed where he can be best used.
They get those assignments next month and are officially sworn into office on January 3rd.

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