Washington — This week, the 116th Congress bought right down to enterprise regardless of the federal government shutdown. One new member has a singular perspective. Illinois’ Lauren Underwood spoke from the Home ground for the primary time Wednesday. 

She’s a former federal worker who was furloughed throughout a shutdown in 2013. At 32, she’s the youngest black lady ever elected to Congress.

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One among Underwood’s first orders of enterprise was deciding on an workplace. Getting an area giant sufficient for her new employees is a recreation of likelihood. All 85 new members actually draw numbers out of a field. The decrease the quantity, the higher the workplace. Underwood drew quantity 70.

New members all the time come into Washington satisfied they will change the place and Underwood isn’t any stranger. She was a congressional intern simply 13 years in the past and he or she’s a former Obama administration official, who helped implement the Reasonably priced Care Act.

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As a registered nurse and somebody with a pre-existing situation, well being care — the subject on the prime of most voters minds — can be on hers.

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“It’s extremely clear well being care is the primary situation on this election. Pushed primarily round affordability. I believe we have to shortly present the American folks that we’re severe about fixing the well being care system,” Underwood mentioned.

The sheer variety of new, younger, feminine lawmakers like Underwood is injecting a brand new degree of vitality and depth into Washington.

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Rep. Lauren Underwood speaks with CBS Information’ Ed O’Keefe.

CBS Information


“I’m in a automobile on my manner, dashing late to the Capitol,” she mentioned in a video diary for CBS Information. “We’ve to choose up our voting playing cards, our particular member pins and get mainly lined up so we might be on the ground of the Home for the midday convening.”

However the hope and optimism of those new freshmen — who normally haven’t got a lot sway — is tempered by actuality, this time within the type of a partial authorities shutdown.

Strolling by way of the basement of the Capitol, Underwood spoke about being a furloughed federal worker. Again in 2013, she was compelled to remain house for about three weeks with out pay.

“I understand how unacceptable it’s, that is the nuclear possibility,” she mentioned. “It is ridiculous.”

Minutes after being sworn in, Underwood took time to greet supporters in her new workplace. She is not letting the cruel realities of Washington get to her — not less than not but.

“The day of enterprise as regular on this Congress is completed and the chance when the folks of the 14th elect a 32-year-old lady to Congress and we discover issues that folks assume have been dealt with or not. We’re right here for enterprise, and I am able to get began,” Underwood mentioned.

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