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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


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