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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lawmakers, Demographics, and Veterans

The 113th Congress is in session. But, who are they?
Lawyers, mostly. How do we know? A terrific chart from Businessweek that breaks down all of the professions of the new Congress. There are 128 lawyers in the House and another 45 in the Senate. Somewhat remarkably, there only 55 career politicians in the House and another nine in the Senate. (The Fix would have bet the “over” on both of those numbers.) There’s also one microbiologist, one carpenter and one physicist.
In comparison to the 112th Congress, there are six less veterans in the House and six less in the Senate as well — the latest evidence of the steady decline in those who have served in the military in Congress. (New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg is the only member of the Senate who served in World War II.)
Previous posts have discussed veterans in CongressThe New York Times notes that 16 lawmakers served in Iraq or Afghanistan, including nine new members.
But the number of veterans joining Congress continued a four-decade long slide, dropping to 106 in the 113th Congress, according to data from CQ Roll Call.
The Senate will have 18 veterans, down from a peak of 81 in 1977 and the lowest since at least World War II, according to data from the Senate Historical Office. The House will have 88 veterans, down from a peak of 347 in 1977, according to the Military Officers Association of America.
The new crop of veterans includes the first two female combat veterans to serve in Congress, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, both Democrats.