Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul, and 8 others shaking up the new Congress

With the Republican takeover of the House, the shortlist of lawmakers on the rise in both houses of Congress flips, too. Notable is the number of younger members to watch, especially those swept into prominence by the tea party surge. Because this House freshman class - 96 strong, including 87 Republicans - is the largest since 1992, those who speak for them, or claim to, have a leg up. So do those Democrats nimble enough to engage them. Here are ten to watch.

Charlie Neibergall/AP

1. Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California

Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California

The high-energy chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee calls himself “the House GOP’s chief watchdog.”

A former businessman with a mandate to investigate any aspect of government, he is preparing a blizzard of hearings on issues ranging from government regulations that stifle job creation to bailouts, food safety, the housing crisis, waste, fraud, and abuse. But he insists that he will not preside over a witch hunt.

Democrats opted for a new ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) of Maryland, to lead the minority on the panel. Already, Representatives Issa and Cummings have clashed over minority powers. Issa pledges to “consult” Democrats before issuing subpoenas, but not necessarily to take the issue to a committee vote.

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