congress

Eleven days remain in 2018, but the year is almost at an end on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers are set to recess for the Christmas/New Year’s break on Friday, Dec. 21, but it won’t only be the end of the year for the House and Senate.

It also will usher in the start of the 116th Congress, which will bring a few changes on both sides of the hall.

The names will remain the same – Steve Scalise in District 1, Cedric Richmond in District 2, Clay Higgins in District 3, Mike Johnson in District 4, Ralph Abraham in District 5 and Garret Graves in District 6.

Some committee leaderships may or may not change, such as the chairman’s post Graves holds for the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, which has helped considerably on flood-control issues after the 2016 flood.

One of the biggest changes will come in the advancement of Congressman Richmond – the lone Democrat in the Louisiana delegation – who will move from his post as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus to chief deputy to incoming House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.

The advancement for Richmond could prove advantageous for the state, particularly because of the added rank it gives him in the House.

It could – in some ways – also benefit his collaborative efforts with fellow members of the Louisiana delegation, all Republicans. In other times, he could rally against their efforts.

Richmond has enjoyed a solid working relationship with the Republican delegation. He has worked closely with Graves on the fight to end the Duplication of Benefits provision and he also has had a role in the state’s issues with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on flood-control projects, including the Comite River Diversion Canal, which covers part of the area he represents.

Both men have said they disagree on issues – part of the sometimes prickly shrub we know as democracy. At the same time, they have put their differences aside on key issues beneficial to the state.

The changing of the guard on Capitol Hill can bring some moments awkward at best and stormy at worst, but other states should look to the relationship between Graves and Richmond as proof that it’s often possible to work toward compromise, even when they sit on opposite sides of the aisle. Judging from their previous efforts, they set an example other lawmakers could stand to follow during the next two years.

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