Advice from House GOP leadership to incoming freshman Republicans

“Read and re-read the U.S. Constitution.”

“Don’t be afraid to say no.”

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“Don’t try to learn everything on day one.”

“There are no assigned seats on the House floor … But you are more likely to find your fellow Republicans on the right side of the chamber.”

“A member of Congress cannot order a federal agency to do something or decide a matter a certain way … You may not directly or indirectly threaten reprisal against any federal agency officials, or promise favoritism or benefit.”

“Certain members of the media will be looking to ‘ambush’ unsuspecting freshmen as they walk to the Capitol to vote. If it’s a contentious issue and you don’t wish to be interviewed, then take the tunnel. The odds are better this way that you won’t be caught off guard.” (Advice from Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss.)

“Always assume you’re on camera when you are in the chamber. Even if you are simply looking at your cell phone, you might appear to be asleep. It’s happened to other members.” (Advice from Harper)

“You’ve got talent. Just because you aren’t on that dream committee for the time being, it doesn’t mean that you have to sideline your personal talents.” (Advice from Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas)

“The first thing you need to do when setting your goals is to think of any campaign promises you made. … Needless to say, it is essential that you do everything in your power to fulfill your campaign promises.”

“Hiring a chief of staff is the most important decision you will make as a new member of Congress … In this environment, hiring the wrong COS, even for a short time, can have tremendously negative effects.”

“Don’t talk to the press about committee assignments or be overconfident about what committee assignments you will receive.”

“Don’t tolerate or enable ethical missteps. They are one of the easiest ways to short-circuit a congressional career.”

“If you don’t want to see an activity or event reported on the front page of the local newspaper, don’t do it.”

“Members are allowed to escort children, aged 12 or younger, onto the House floor while the House is in session. This is a privilege for you only; it is not afforded to the spouse, unfortunately.”

“Discuss with your spouse and COS what the official and political role of the spouse will be.”

“Don’t completely disappear from the public. Even though you don’t take office until January, many of your constituents will view you as their member of Congress immediately after Election Day.”

“The Speaker’s Lobby is just off the House floor … Here members can relax, make phone calls and get some fresh air on the balcony. Like the floor, be mindful that this area is being watched by others — namely reporters.”

“Members should dress properly when on the House floor. Men must always wear a coat and tie and women must dress ‘appropriately.’ Hats, overcoats or any item to be deemed a ‘costume’ are prohibited.”

“If your legislation creates a new program, or increases spending, stop and ask yourself [if] it’s worth borrowing 40 cents on every dollar spent.”

“This should go without saying, but remember that the majority of us came to Washington to shrink the size of government, not expand it. Whenever proposing a new program, look for a duplicative program that can be cut.”