Public Interest Government Relations Office (PI-GRO) assesses Washington balance of power
As the 113th Congress was seated in January, PI-GRO made preparations for the new session and the arrival of over 95 new members to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The 113th Congress brings about one of the most diverse memberships in recent memory, with record numbers of women (100), Latino (30) and LGBT (7) legislators elected this past November. Of particular note in this year's freshman class is Alan Lowenthal, PhD, a former professor of community psychology at California State University, Long Beach, who was elected to California's 47th congressional district. Rep. Lowenthal will join Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., and Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., as the only other psychologists currently serving in Congress.
The 113th Congress continues to have split control, with Republicans retaining a majority in the House of Representatives by a 233 to 200 margin (2 vacancies). Senate Democrats grew their majority to 53 members (plus an additional two registered Independents, who have indicated their preference to caucus with the Democratic Party) to 45 senators caucusing with the Republican Party. While APA lost some key champions of issues of importance to psychology on Capitol Hill, the new Congress offers an exciting opportunity for PI-GRO to foster new relationships on both sides of the political aisle to further advance its advocacy agenda. PI-GRO stands ready to work with the Obama Administration and the 113th Congress to achieve productive outcomes in the legislative and executive branches.