Class of '94 Mellows

January 24, 1997

Class of '94 Mellows

By David Baumann

They arrived on Capitol Hill in late 1994, throwing rhetorical bombs and defying their leaders. But two years later -- with a re-election run behind them -- the House GOP freshman class of 1994 has mellowed somewhat, a key leader of the erstwhile revolutionaries said this week.

"When you first get in, you have to kick the system to get it moving," Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., vice president of the 1994 Republican freshmen, said in an interview. Souder said that between 1992 and 1994, President Clinton's positions on a variety of issues -- ranging from gays in the military to education reform -- energized conservatives.

"We were yelling 'Stop!' " Souder said. "He went across every conservative hot button and ignited a conservative group." Now, Clinton has moved rightward, Souder contended -- adding that if the president "is talking our language," the sophomores will hold their fire.

In addition, Souder said, the closer Republican-Democratic split in the House will allow fewer freshmen to rebel against the leadership; while their ranks were thinned somewhat by the 1996 election, there are still 58 Republicans remaining from the Class of '94, down from the original 73. "We can see that we don't have as big a margin," he said, adding that if a handful of Republicans "go south," the GOP can lose a bill.

"We didn't get here by being lousy politicians," he declared.

Souder also said that with new-found seniority, the sophomores will not be as close-knit as they once were. "We won't be as unified," he said, contending the GOP's new emphasis on committee work and the sophomores' new seniority on panels will result in less bloodshed on the floor and more work being done quietly in committees.

Souder warned, however, that if issues go "in the wrong direction, you will see the old freshman class." Already, the legislators are warning GOP leaders that House Republicans must deal with the new sophomores' position that the Social Security trust fund be taken off-budget if party leaders want those House members to vote in favor of the balanced budget constitutional amendment.

But, by and large, the new sophomores will try to strike a positive tone, Souder explained. "We stopped the liberal trend," he said. "We have to articulate what we want to replace it with."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.