Moments before he walked on to the U.S. House floor to be sworn in, Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent picked up a packet of manila envelopes marked “146.”
What was it last year, one staffer asked another. “183.”
“That’s out of the whole Congress?” Dent asked them.
The lower the number, the higher the seniority in a 435-member body run on rules and tradition. As the 114th Congress gets underway, one signal of Dent’s rising status is the 37-spot drop in the number adorning his official license plates.