Rep. Steny Hoyer | WYPR

Rep. Steny Hoyer

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Congress returns to Washington this week after a holiday break marred by a partial government shutdown.  But not all is doom and gloom with the new House majority leader. In fact, Maryland’s longest serving member seems clearly a happy man.

Steny Hoyer says his chief cause for celebration is that his Democratic colleagues have regained majority control of the House of Representatives after eight years on the sidelines.

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Maryland Democrats in Washington are proposing competing bills with the same purpose; overhauling how the nation’s congressional districts are drawn.

Freshman Congressman Jamie Raskin has introduced a bill that would set up independent commissions to draw congressional districts.

"You know if your car isn’t working right, you don’t need a new message, you need a new car," he says. "And if your engine’s not working, you don’t need a new message you need a new engine. And American democracy needs a new engine."

Karen Hosler

Ben Cardin and Steny Hoyer have been close friends and allies since they were boy wonders of Maryland politics a half century ago. But now they may be facing their greatest challenge ever: protecting the country from what they call the missteps--or worse—of President Trump.