The US Senate, often called the greatest deliberative body in the world, is rapidly changing, as we will see at least 15 new members being sworn in on January 3 or shortly thereafter,
This is due to the retirement of eleven Senators; the primary defeat of one; the upcoming resignation of two; and the death of one.
Eleven of these 15 Senators will be Democrats, including Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Angus King of Maine, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and the appointed replacements for John Kerry in Massachusetts who is resigning to become Secretary of State, and for Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who died in office a week ago.
Four new Senators will be Republicans, including Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Tim Scott of South Carolina, by appointment after the resignation of Jim DeMint to become the head of the Heritage Foundation.
At the same time, the longest serving Senators head the committees, and their average age is higher than it has ever been, and we now know, at the least, that the oldest Senator now, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, who will be 90 when he comes up for reelection in 2014, is not yet ready to say he will retire, even in the face of a potential challenge in the Democratic primary from Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
So the Senate, seen as a barrier to progress by many, is becoming more divided, by age, ideology, and party, making the likelihood of “crossing the aisle” far less likely in the near future! Bipartisanship is NOT thriving!