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This Week in Congress: Friday, Nov. 19

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From Capitol News Connection:

This week in Congress was orientation week for its newly elected members. And even those whose races hadn't officially ended were in attendance (like Republican Randy Altschuler in New York's 1st Congressional District race, where ballots are still being counted).

Even as the newly-minted (if not necessarily wide-eyed) lawmakers got schooled in topics like "ethics" and "the rules of conduct," a kind of congressional cautionary tale was playing out this week, as well -- in the ethics trial of 80-year-old congressman and former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Charles Rangel.

The proceedings would end this week, with Rangel being found guilty on 11 counts of financial and fundraising wrongdoing.

It was a tough week for House Democrats in general. For those who survived the midterm drubbing, the second-largest in American history, a little gallows humor couldn't hurt.

Republicans had just finished electing their incoming leadership team with little resistance -- to be led by Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Republicans did make a point this week of papering over past differences -- on earmarks, for example.

Among Democrats, meanwhile, there was no shortage of drama in the leadership election process: Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced -- and ultimately survived -- the calls from within the ranks to step aside.


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