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Posts tagged ‘113th United States Congress’

Poll: Americans Say 113th Congress is Worst Ever.


Image: Poll: Americans Say 113th Congress is Worst EverSpeaker of the House John Boehner swears in members of the 113th U.S. House of Representatives during the opening session at the U.S. Capitol on January 3, 2013.

By Lisa Barron

An overwhelming majority of Americans say the 113th Congress is the worst in their lifetime, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday.

While nearly three quarters of the respondents said this has been a “do-nothing” Congress, two thirds of those surveyed said the current Congress is the worst in their lifetime, with 28 percent disagreeing.

Editor’s Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll 

“That sentiment exists among all demographic and political subgroups. Men, women, rich, poor, young old — all think this year’s Congress has been the worst they can remember,” Keating Holland, CNN polling director, said.

“Older Americans — who have lived through more congresses — hold more negative views of the 113th Congress than younger Americans. Republicans, Democrats and independents also agree that this has been the worst session of Congress in their lifetimes.”

The telephone poll of 1,035 adults nationwide showed that 73 percent say Congress has done nothing to solve the country’s problems, with roughly 25 percent disagreeing.

Indeed, less than 60 bills have been passed and signed into law during the past year, according to CNN, and there is not much optimism that next year will be much better.

Fifty-two percent believe the policies of Democratic leaders in Congress would move the country in the wrong direction, and 54 percent think the policies of the Republican leaders would do the same, the survey found. The poll, conducted Dec. 16-19, had a sampling error of plus or minus three percent.

One of the first tests of where Congress is headed in 2014 will be the fight over the debt ceiling, and analysts are somewhat divided about the prospects, reports The Washington Times.

“I don’t think there’s any political reason why they’ll fight over this, at least not to the degree that they have in the past,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said Wednesday on CNN.

But others maintain that could still be gridlock, despite the bipartisan budget dealreached earlier this month.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

“I believe we very quickly began to move away from ‘Kumbaya’ a couple weeks ago,” Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, said Tuesday on MSNBC.

“I’m afraid we’re not going to see a lot [of cooperation], but we’ll see some,” he added.

Related stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Nearly 40 percent of House members don’t represent their birth state, study finds.


Thirty-eight percent of members of the U.S. House represent a state in which they weren’t born, according to findings released Tuesday from Smart Politics.

In Alaska, Vermont and Montana— which are each apportioned one At-Large House member apiece– the representative was not born in the state. And just 18 percent of the delegation in Virginia (2 out of 11 members) was born in the state, 25 percent in Minnesota, and 37.5 percent in Maryland.

One might surmise that today’s transitive society has contributed to this statistic, but Smart Politics’ Eric Ostermeier writes “it is the younger U.S. Representatives serving in the 113th Congress who are most likely to represent a district in the state of their birth.”

The number of lawmakers representing the state of their birth has actually increased over time.

Smart Politics noticed no difference in rates of representation of birth states when members were divided by party affiliation.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By  | The Ticket

Republican Party seems as divided, angry as ever.


RELATED CONTENT

BOSTON (AP) — The Republican Party seems as divided and angry as ever.

Infighting has penetrated the highest levels of the House GOP leadership. Long-standing geographic tensions have increased, pitting endangered Northeastern Republicans against their colleagues from other parts of the country. Enraged tea party leaders are threatening to knock off dozens of Republicans who supported a measure that raised taxes on the nation’s highest earners.

“People are mad as hell. I’m right there with them,” Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express, said late last week, declaring that she has “no confidence” in the party her members typically support. Her remarks came after GOP lawmakers agreed to higher taxes but no broad spending cuts as part of a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff.”

“Anybody that voted ‘yes’ in the House should be concerned” about primary challenges in 2014, she said.

At the same time, one of the GOP’s most popular voices, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, blasted his party’s “toxic internal politics” after House Republicans initially declined to approve disaster relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy. He said it was “disgusting to watch” their actions and he faulted theGOP’s most powerful elected official, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

The GOP’s internal struggles to figure out what it wants to be were painfully exposed after Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama on Nov. 6, but they have exploded in recent days. The fallout could extend well beyond the party’s ability to win policy battles on Capitol Hill. It could hamper Republicans as they examine how to regroup and attract new voters after a disheartening election season.

To a greater degree than the Democrats, the Republican Party has struggled with internal divisions for the past few years. But these latest clashes have seemed especially public and vicious.

“It’s disappointing to see infighting in the party,” said Ryan Williams, a Republican operative and former Romney aide. “It doesn’t make us look like we’re in a position to challenge the president and hold him accountable to the promises he made.”

What’s largely causing the dissension? A lack of a clear GOP leader with a single vision for the party.

Republicans haven’t had a consistent standard-bearer since President George W. Bush left office in 2008 with the nation on the edge of a financial collapse. His departure, along with widespread economic concerns, gave rise to a tea party movement that infused the GOP’s conservative base with energy. The tea party is credited with broad Republican gains in the 2010 congressional elections, but it’s also blamed for the rising tension between the pragmatic and ideological wings of the party — discord that festers still.

It was much the same for Democrats in the late 1980s before Bill Clinton emerged to win the White House and shift his party to the political center.

2012 presidential nominee Romney never fully captured the hearts of his party’s most passionate voters. But his tenure atop the party was short-lived; since Election Day, he’s disappeared from the political world.

Those Republican leaders who remain engaged — Christie, Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus — are showing little sign of coming together.

Those on the GOP’s deep bench of potential 2016 presidential contenders, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have begun staking out their own, sometimes conflicting ideas for the party.

Over the short term at least, the party’s divisions probably will continue to be exposed.

Obama has outlined a second-term agenda focused on immigration and gun control; those are issues that would test Republican solidarity even in good times. Deep splits already exist between Republican pragmatists and the conservative base, who oppose any restrictions on guns or allowances for illegal immigrants.

It’s unclear whether Obama can exploit the GOP fissures or whether the Republican dysfunction will hamper him. With Boehner unable to control his fractured caucus, the White House is left wondering how to deal with the House on any divisive issue.

Fiscal issues aren’t going away, with lawmakers were agree on a broad deficit-reduction package. The federal government reached its borrowing limit last week, so Congress has about two months or three months to raise the debt ceiling or risk a default on federal debt. Massive defense and domestic spending cuts are set to take effect in late February. By late March, the current spending plan will end, raising the possibility of a government shutdown.

Frustrated conservative activists and GOP insiders hope that the continued focus on fiscal matters will help unite the factions as the party pushes for deep spending cuts. That fight also may highlight Democratic divisions because the party’s liberal wing vehemently opposes any changes to Social Security or Medicare

“Whenever you lose the White House, the party’s going to have ups and downs,” said Republican strategist Ron Kaufman. “My guess is when the spending issues come up again, the Democrats’ warts will start to show as well.”

The GOP’s fissures go beyond positions on issues. They also are geographical.

Once a strong voice in the party, moderate Republicans across the Northeast are nearly extinct. Many of those who remain were frustrated in recent days when Boehner temporarily blocked a vote on a disaster relief bill.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said campaign donors in the Northeast who give the GOP after the slight “should have their head examined.”

Boehner, who just won a second term as speaker, quickly scheduled a vote on a narrower measure for Friday after the new Congress convened, and it rushed out a $9.7 billion measure to help pay flood insurance claims.

Weary Republican strategists are trying to be hopeful about the GOP’s path ahead, and liken the current situation to party’s struggles after Obama’s 2008 election. At the time, some pundits questioned the viability of the Republican Party. But it came roaring back two years later, thanks largely to the tea party.

“If we have learned anything from the fiscal cliff fiasco, conservatives discovered we need to stand firm, and stand together, on our principles from beginning to end,” said Republican strategist Alice Stewart. “It’s frustrating to see the GOP drop the ball and turn a position of true compromise into total surrender. The Democrats succeeded in their strategy of divide and conquer.”

___

Associated Press writers Ken Thomas and Ben Feller in Washington contributed to this report.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By STEVE PEOPLES | Associated Press

Republican Party seems as divided, angry as ever.


RELATED CONTENT

BOSTON (AP) — The Republican Party seems as divided and angry as ever.

Infighting has penetrated the highest levels of the House GOP leadership. Long-standing geographic tensions have increased, pitting endangered Northeastern Republicans against their colleagues from other parts of the country. Enraged tea party leaders are threatening to knock off dozens of Republicans who supported a measure that raised taxes on the nation’s highest earners.

“People are mad as hell. I’m right there with them,” Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express, said late last week, declaring that she has “no confidence” in the party her members typically support. Her remarks came after GOP lawmakers agreed to higher taxes but no broad spending cuts as part of a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff.”

“Anybody that voted ‘yes’ in the House should be concerned” about primary challenges in 2014, she said.

At the same time, one of the GOP’s most popular voices, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, blasted his party’s “toxic internal politics” after House Republicans initially declined to approve disaster relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy. He said it was “disgusting to watch” their actions and he faulted theGOP’s most powerful elected official, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

The GOP’s internal struggles to figure out what it wants to be were painfully exposed after Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama on Nov. 6, but they have exploded in recent days. The fallout could extend well beyond the party’s ability to win policy battles on Capitol Hill. It could hamper Republicans as they examine how to regroup and attract new voters after a disheartening election season.

To a greater degree than the Democrats, the Republican Party has struggled with internal divisions for the past few years. But these latest clashes have seemed especially public and vicious.

“It’s disappointing to see infighting in the party,” said Ryan Williams, a Republican operative and former Romney aide. “It doesn’t make us look like we’re in a position to challenge the president and hold him accountable to the promises he made.”

What’s largely causing the dissension? A lack of a clear GOP leader with a single vision for the party.

Republicans haven’t had a consistent standard-bearer since President George W. Bush left office in 2008 with the nation on the edge of a financial collapse. His departure, along with widespread economic concerns, gave rise to a tea party movement that infused the GOP’s conservative base with energy. The tea party is credited with broad Republican gains in the 2010 congressional elections, but it’s also blamed for the rising tension between the pragmatic and ideological wings of the party — discord that festers still.

It was much the same for Democrats in the late 1980s before Bill Clinton emerged to win the White House and shift his party to the political center.

2012 presidential nominee Romney never fully captured the hearts of his party’s most passionate voters. But his tenure atop the party was short-lived; since Election Day, he’s disappeared from the political world.

Those Republican leaders who remain engaged — Christie, Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus — are showing little sign of coming together.

Those on the GOP’s deep bench of potential 2016 presidential contenders, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have begun staking out their own, sometimes conflicting ideas for the party.

Over the short term at least, the party’s divisions probably will continue to be exposed.

Obama has outlined a second-term agenda focused on immigration and gun control; those are issues that would test Republican solidarity even in good times. Deep splits already exist between Republican pragmatists and the conservative base, who oppose any restrictions on guns or allowances for illegal immigrants.

It’s unclear whether Obama can exploit the GOP fissures or whether the Republican dysfunction will hamper him. With Boehner unable to control his fractured caucus, the White House is left wondering how to deal with the House on any divisive issue.

Fiscal issues aren’t going away, with lawmakers were agree on a broad deficit-reduction package. The federal government reached its borrowing limit last week, so Congress has about two months or three months to raise the debt ceiling or risk a default on federal debt. Massive defense and domestic spending cuts are set to take effect in late February. By late March, the current spending plan will end, raising the possibility of a government shutdown.

Frustrated conservative activists and GOP insiders hope that the continued focus on fiscal matters will help unite the factions as the party pushes for deep spending cuts. That fight also may highlight Democratic divisions because the party’s liberal wing vehemently opposes any changes to Social Security or Medicare

“Whenever you lose the White House, the party’s going to have ups and downs,” said Republican strategist Ron Kaufman. “My guess is when the spending issues come up again, the Democrats’ warts will start to show as well.”

The GOP’s fissures go beyond positions on issues. They also are geographical.

Once a strong voice in the party, moderate Republicans across the Northeast are nearly extinct. Many of those who remain were frustrated in recent days when Boehner temporarily blocked a vote on a disaster relief bill.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said campaign donors in the Northeast who give the GOP after the slight “should have their head examined.”

Boehner, who just won a second term as speaker, quickly scheduled a vote on a narrower measure for Friday after the new Congress convened, and it rushed out a $9.7 billion measure to help pay flood insurance claims.

Weary Republican strategists are trying to be hopeful about the GOP’s path ahead, and liken the current situation to party’s struggles after Obama’s 2008 election. At the time, some pundits questioned the viability of the Republican Party. But it came roaring back two years later, thanks largely to the tea party.

“If we have learned anything from the fiscal cliff fiasco, conservatives discovered we need to stand firm, and stand together, on our principles from beginning to end,” said Republican strategist Alice Stewart. “It’s frustrating to see the GOP drop the ball and turn a position of true compromise into total surrender. The Democrats succeeded in their strategy of divide and conquer.”

___

Associated Press writers Ken Thomas and Ben Feller in Washington contributed to this report.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By STEVE PEOPLES | Associated Press

7 inspiring firsts for the 113th Congress.


With rock-bottom approval ratings and plenty of unfinished business from the 112th Congress, the newly sworn-in 113th Congress kicked off with a fresh start on Thursday.

There are 82 new members of the House of Representatives — 35 Republicans and 47 Democrats. In the upper chamber, there are 13 new senators — eight Democrats, four Republicans, and one independent.

Sen. Mark Kirk‘s (R-Ill.) inspiring return to the Senate, nearly a full year after suffering a massive stroke, set an uplifting tone for the day, but there were also a number of noteworthy firsts:

1. The Senate has a record-breaking 20 female senators — 4 Republicans and 16 Democrats.

2. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), appointed to replace outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), became the first African American senator from the deep South since Reconstruction.

3. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hi.) is the first Buddhist senator.

4. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hi.) is the first Hindu in either chamber.

5. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is the first openly gay senator.

6. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is the first openly bisexual member of either chamber.

7. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is the first female combat veteran in either chamber.

The big question is how this new group of lawmakers can overcome the poor reputation of Congress among the American people. The good news is that with only about 10 percent of Americans approving of their lawmakers, there’s not much room left to go down.

Source: YAHOO NEWS/  THE WEEK.

By Taegan Goddard.

Vice President Joe Biden: GOP Had Immigration “Epiphany”.


PHOTO: Vice President Joe Biden leaves the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, after participating in mock swearing-in ceremonies for senators as the 113th Congress began.

Vice President Joe Biden leaves the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, after participating in mock swearing-in ceremonies for senators as the 113th Congress began. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Vice President Joe Biden expressed confidence on Thursday that comprehensive immigration reform could pass Congress, telling an audience of Latino elected officials and others that “it’s your time.”

See Also: Pelosi Urges Immigration Action

Biden appeared at a ceremonial swearing-in for Latino lawmakers sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) in Washington, D.C.record 36 Latino members will serve in the House and Senate in this upcoming Congress.

Despite potential impediments facing immigration reform, Biden claimed that a consensus has begun to build around the issue.

“In one sense, we have a long way to go, bringing 11 million Hispanics out of the shadows and into the light of day,” he said. “What’s different today is that the rest of the nation, the rest of America, recognizes it’s time. It’s your time.”

Biden also sought to reassure skeptics on the administration’s willingness to tackle a big issue like immigration after a bruising fight over the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

Partisan rancor defined fiscal cliff debate, and is likely to reemerge around pressing budget issues in the next few months. But Biden said that Republicans have begun to change their tune on immigration following an election in which more than seven in ten Latino voters backed Barack Obama over GOP candidate Mitt Romney.

“Have you ever seen a time when the Republicans had a more rapid epiphany about immigration than the one they had in this past election? All of the sudden — we’ve got a lot more work to do — but the point is the American people know what their leaders are only figuring out, the awesome potential [of the Latino community].”

Referencing the results of the election, the vice president said Latino voters are “the center of our nation’s future.”

“If you ignore the needs of the Hispanic people, you will not win,” Biden added.

Still, some advocates fear that impending showdowns over issues like the debt limit and the “sequester” spending cuts could take attention away from addressing immigration reform, a major Obama campaign promise dating from his first run for office. And far from all Republicans have signed on to a comprehensive immigration reform package that includes a pathway to citizenship, which the White House supports.

The White House was quick to tamp down concerns after a deal on the fiscal cliff was reached. White House officials told The Huffington Post on Wednesday that its plan to move ahead on immigration this month would proceed.

Speaking about immigration, gun control, and other second-term agenda items, Obama told reporters just after a deal was reached Tuesday that, “it’s not just possible to do these things; it’s an obligation to ourselves and future generations.”

Source. YAHOO NEWS.

By  (@Jordanfabian)

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