WASHINGTON — When the next Congress cranks up in January, there will be more women, many new faces and 11 fewer tea party-backed House Republicans from the class of 2010 who sought a second term.

Overriding those changes, though, is a thinning of pragmatic, centrist veterans in both parties. Among those leaving are some of the Senate's most pragmatic lawmakers, nearly half the House's centrist Blue Dog Democrats and several moderate House Republicans.

That could leave the parties more polarized even as President Barack Obama and congressional leaders talk up the cooperation needed to tackle complex, vexing problems such as curbing deficits, revamping tax laws and culling savings from Medicare and other costly, popular programs.

"This movement away from the center, at a time when issues have to be resolved from the middle, makes it much more difficult to find solutions to major problems," said William Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a private group advocating compromise.

In the Senate, moderate Scott Brown, R-Mass., lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who will be one of the most liberal members. Another GOP moderate, Richard Lugar of Indiana, fell in the primary election. Two others, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Olympia Snowe of Maine, are retiring.

Moderate Democratic senators such as Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Jim Webb of Virginia are leaving, as is Democratic-leaning independent Joe Lieberman.

While about half the incoming 12 Senate freshmen of both parties are moderates, new arrivals include tea party Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, conservative Deb Fischer of Nebraska, and liberals such as Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Hawaii's Mazie Hirono.

There's a similar pattern in the House, where 10 of the 24 Democratic Blue Dogs lost, are retiring or, in the case of Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., are moving to the Senate. That will further slash a centrist group that just a few years ago had more than 50 members, though some new freshmen might join.

Among Republicans, moderates like Reps. Judy Biggert of Illinois and New Hampshire's Charles Bass were defeated while others such as Reps. Jerry Lewis of California and Steven LaTourette of Ohio decided to retire.

"Congress seems to be going in the opposite direction of the country, just as the country is screaming for solutions to gridlock," said Democratic strategist Phil Singer.

Whether the changes are good is often in the eye of the beholder.

Seventy-one of the 83 House GOP freshmen of 2010 were re-elected Nov. 6, but 11 lost, including one of the group's highest profile members, conservative Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. Another faces a runoff in December.

"Some of the people who are the anti-government ideologues, some of them are gone," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "And that message has been rejected by the American people."

Sal Russo, strategist for the Tea Party Express, said such departures would be balanced by newly elected conservatives, including the Senate's Cruz and GOP Reps.-elect Ted Yoho of Florida and Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

"Pretty much everybody that ran in 2012 was talking about the economic woes we face, stopping excessive spending, controlling unsustainable debt," he said.

Overall, the new House is on track for a 234-201 Republican majority, a narrowing of their 242-193 advantage today, which includes five vacancies. Democrats will control the Senate 55-45, up from 53-47.

A dozen of the 100 senators and at least 81 of the 435 House members, almost one-fifth, will be in their first term, slightly above historic averages. The Associated Press hasn't declared winners in two House races.

Many newcomers, in Washington for orientation sessions after their election, described a need to compromise. Some also made it clear there will be plenty of fuel for partisan clashes.

"I'm going in open-minded," said conservative Rep.-elect Roger Williams, R-Texas. "But I have certain core values like we all do and I'm not going to waver on that."

All together, there will be 73 women in the House and 20 in the Senate. Both are records.

For the first time, more than half of House Democrats – 105, in this case – will not be white males.

One white male will be Rep.-elect Joseph Kennedy III, a Massachusetts Democrat whose father was Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., and grandfather was New York Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy. When the newest Kennedy takes office, it will end the only two years since 1947 without a member of his family in Congress.

Those leaving include several who have been in the middle of recent years' policy battles.

Among them are Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the GOP's No. 2 Senate leader; Indiana's Lugar, a longtime GOP power on foreign policy; North Dakota's Conrad, the Senate Budget Committee chairman and one of his party's chief deficit foes; and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., who heads the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Gone from the House will be California Democratic Reps. Pete Stark, a major force on health issues, and Howard Berman, long influential in foreign affairs, plus liberal Massachusetts stalwart Barney Frank, whose name is on the new law overhauling the government's regulation of banks and other financial institutions.

Also leaving: House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif., and Ron Paul, 77, who charted his own libertarian course in Congress and long-shot campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012.

"The status quo will continue," Paul, who sees little difference between the two political parties, said of the new Congress. As for his own departure, he said, "Nobody will notice."

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  • Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2013 to present (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

  • Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2013 to present (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2013 to present (AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

  • Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2013 to present (AP Photo/Oskar Garcia)

  • Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2013 to present (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)

  • Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2011 to present Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2009 to present Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) attends the 25th annual Brooklyn tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on January 17, 2011. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

  • Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2009 to present Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) speaks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2009 to present Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) speaks at a luncheon to mark the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on January 27, 2009 in Washington. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

  • Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2007 to present Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) appears at a U.S. Travel Association press conference on May 12, 2011 (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2007 to present Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) holds a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 1, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2003-09 Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) attends hearings in Washington on Dec. 5, 2006. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2002 to present Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) questions witnesses during a hearing on March 29, 2011 in Washington. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Jean Carnahan (D-Mo.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2001-02 Sen. Jean Carnahan (D-Mo.) raises her right hand on January 3, 2001 during a swearing in ceremony in Washington. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Newsmakers)

  • Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2001 to present Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) attends the National Clean Energy Summit 2.0 on August 10, 2009 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2001 to present Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) speaks at a news conference on June 10, 2008 in Washington. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 2001-09 Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) speaks to reporters after casting her vote on November 4, 2008 in Chappaqua, New York. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

  • Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1999-2011 Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) participates in a news conference on Capitol Hill on April 20, 2010 in Washington. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • Susan Collins (R-Maine)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1997-present Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill February 1, 2011 in Washington. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Mary Landrieu (D-La.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1997-present Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) holds a list of jobs while talking with reporters at the U.S. Capitol on September 20, 2011 in Washington. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Sheila Frahm (R-Kan.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1996 Kansas Republican Senator-designate Sheila Frahm gestures during an interview on Capitol Hill Monday June 10, 1996. (AP Photo/John Duricka)

  • Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1995-present Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) speaks at the 32nd Annual Women's Campaign Fund Parties of Your Choice Gala on April 2, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Women's Campaign Fund)

  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1993-present Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) speaks to reporters on November 30, 2011 at Capitol Hill in Washington. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1993-present Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) speaks during day two of the Democratic National Convention on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1993-99 Carol Mosley Braun (D-Ill.), the first African-American woman U.S. senator, listens on Jan. 19, 1993 to Zoe Baird, U.S. President-elect Bill Clinton's nominee for U.S. Attorney General. (LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1993-present Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) speaks during a September 28, 2010 hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1992-present Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) takes the stage during day two of the Democratic National Convention on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Jocelyn Burdick (D-N.D.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1992 Sen. Jocelyn Burdick (D-N.D., far left), looks on as Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., re-enacts taking the Senatorial oath on Dec. 15, 1992. (AP Photo/John Duricka)

  • Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1987-present Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) speaks on day two of the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 5, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C. (STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Paula Hawkins (R-Fla.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1981-87 Florida Gov. Bob Graham, the Democratic challenger for the state's U.S. Senate seat, listens as incumbent Republican Sen. Paula Hawkins makes a point during their Oct. 20, 1986 debate. (AP Photo/Ray Fairall)

  • Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-Kan.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1978-97 Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-Kan.) photographed in her office in Wichita, Kansas on Dec. 18, 1978. (AP PhotoJohn P. Filo)

  • Maryon Allen (D-Ala.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1978 Sen. Maryon Allen (D-Ala.) pictured on June 23, 1978. (AP Photo/Croft)

  • Muriel Humphrey (D-Minn.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1978 Muriel Humphrey sits at a desk in the Senate Office Building, vacated by the death of her husband, Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey. She was named by Minnesota Gov. Rudy Perpich to fill his seat and sworn in February 1978. (AP Photo/Peter Bregg)

  • Elaine S. Edwards (D-La.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1972

  • Maurine Brown Neuberger (D-Ore.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1960-67 Sen. Maurine Neuberger (D-Ore.) poses on March 19, 1963 in Washington. (AP Photo/hlg)

  • Hazel Hempel Abel (R-Neb.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1954 A portrait of Sen. Hazel Hempel Abel (1888 - 1966). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Eva Kelley Bowring (R-Neb.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1954

  • Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1949-73 Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine) smiles on Jan., 5, 1949 in her Washington office. (AP Photo)

  • Vera Cahalan Bushfield (R-S.D.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1948

  • Gladys Pyle (R-S.D.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1938-39

  • Dixie Bibb Graves (D-Ala.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1937-1938

  • Rose McConnell Long (D-La.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1936-37 Rose McConnell Long walks to work with Sen. Hattie Caraway, right, in Washington, April 20, 1936. She filled the unexpired term of her late husband, Huey P. Long. (AP Photo)

  • Hattie Wyatt Caraway (D-Ark.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1931-45 Sen. Hattie Wyatt Caraway (D-Ark.), photographed in her Washington office on Oct. 22, 1942. She became the first female U.S. senator in 1933. (AP Photo/William J. Smith)

  • Rebecca Latimer Felton (D-Ga.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/women_senators.htm"><strong>Served from:</strong></a> 1922 Rebecca Latimer Felton was the first woman to ever serve in the U.S. Senate. She was appointed by the state of Georgia to fill Sen. Tom Watson's place after his death. (AP Photo)