As congressmen’s guilty pleasures are revealed in instant messenger conversations, rumors of interparty favoritism create headlines and senators view friends as competitors, is Congress really that different than high school?

Welcome to Congressional High, where a girl presides over lunchroom fights, a Connecticut transfer maintains the delicate social balance and several classmates are gearing up for the ultimate power grab .

Class President: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif)

The first female Speaker of the House, Pelosi is expected to bring a new and decidedly more liberal presence to the post. Pelosi will champion Democratic initiatives while attempting to square congressional interests with stubborn Executive Branch demands. Although Republicans often characterize her as too liberal to represent the general population, she is a shrewd politician with the ability to adapt her persona to fit a leadership role.

Big Man On Campus: Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.)

Byrd holds the title of longest serving senator in U.S. history, as well as the oldest current member of Congress. His position as President Pro Tempore makes him second in power only to the vice president, presiding over the Senate whenever Vice President Dick Cheney is out. A conservative Democrat with friends on both sides of the aisle and a sharp critic of the president, Byrd’s aggressiveness will help the Democrats in ’07.

Debate Captain: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

Durbin’s rise in the Democratic Party can be attributed to his honed speaking skills and ability to effectively defend the party agenda. These qualities garnered him the title of Senate Majority Whip, making him the party-line vote enforcer. The fact that he refuses to discuss higher political office makes him especially effective in a prestige-obsessed Senate. He avoids the scrutiny given to presidential hopefuls.

Class Treasurer: Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.)

Rangel is best known as the Congressman who proposed reinstating the draft, but his official title is chairman of the influential Ways and Means Committee, which holds congress’s infamous power of the purse. Respected within the party like few others, he is also the chairman of Democratic Congressional Campaign Caucus, which funds the party’s House races. Democrats seeking re-election best stay on Rangel’s good side.

Rebel Without A Cause: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)

Lieberman happily occupies the position of senatorial wildcard. After backing Ned Lamont in November, the Democratic Party spent December in damage control mode; it highlighted the prestige of Lieberman’s title, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. His decision to caucus with the Democrats gives them control of the Senate, but he is quick to mention that his alliance is conditional.

Super Senior: Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.)

Dingell was first elected to the House in 1955, making him its current longest-serving member. As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, he will have authority in areas ranging from alternative energy to regulation of businesses. Environmental issues will receive a great deal of attention, but his well-known connection to Detroit’s auto industry could influence policy in areas like greenhouse emissions standards.

Security Intern: Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.)

Levin is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, meaning he’ll play a key role in forming policy regarding the wars in Iraq, in Afghanistan and against terrorism. With a debate over American involvement in Iraq looming, Levin is likely to be a prominent figure in the coming months. Maybe his likeness to Benjamin Franklin will help him gain the credibility necessary to navigate this politically-loaded issue.

Best Facial Hair: Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)

Miller is a 30-year Congressional veteran and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. He will oversee changes to the No Child Left Behind Act as well as spearhead issues like increasing the minimum wage and securing healthcare coverage for children. Since his focus is education, he can expect hate mail from both corporate conglomerates and small business owners alike.

Hall Monitor: Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)

Conyers is the second longest-serving member in the House and dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, which he also helped found. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, expect Conyers to take a leading role in investigating Republican abuses of power, corruption and spending. He’s been vocal about the possibility of impeaching President Bush and may push his fellow Democrats in that direction.

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