US Congress

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Joseph Kennedy III Running for Barney Frank's Seat

Bobby Kennedy's prosecutor grandson aims for Congress

(Newser) - There could be another Kennedy in DC soon. Joseph P. Kennedy III, Bobby Kennedy's grandson, has announced he's running for the Massachusetts congressional seat currently held by retiring Rep. Barney Frank . "I believe this country was founded on a simple idea: that every person deserves to be... More »

Lawmakers Shuffled Millions to Relatives' Causes

'Washington Post' finds 16 members of Congress engaging in practice

(Newser) - A Washington Post investigation finds that 16 members of Congress have sent tax dollars, sometimes in the millions, to companies or other organizations with links to their family trees. Through direct funding or earmarking, these lawmakers have boosted the budgets of Pentagon programs, environmental groups, schools, and other places where... More »

84% Unhappy With Congress

That's another new record...

(Newser) - For once, a poll finds a new high for Congress rather than a new low. Of course, that high—84%—is the percentage of Americans who disapprove of the job Congress is doing. And many Americans aren't just moderately unhappy: Almost two-thirds of that group "disapprove strongly."... More »

Obama Signs Defense Bill Despite 'Reservations'

President questions provisions about treatment of suspected terrorists

(Newser) - President Barack Obama signed a wide-ranging defense bill into law today despite having "serious reservations" about provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists. The bill also applies penalties against Iran's central bank in an effort to hamper Tehran's ability to fund its nuclear... More »

Lobbyists More Ethical Than Congress

A record 64% rate Congress members' honesty as 'low' or 'very low'

(Newser) - A whopping 64% of Americans think Congress members have "low" or "very low" levels of honesty and ethical standards, a number that could not be matched even by lobbyists, car salespeople, or telemarketers. In fact, only one other group has ever received a score that high for the... More »

Another New Low for Congress

Not many want to see members reelected: Gallup poll

(Newser) - Another day, another record low for Congress: Just 20% of respondents in the latest Gallup poll believe most members should be reelected. And a record high, too: The poll also finds that 76% don't believe most representatives should be reelected. That's the highest number since Gallup started asking... More »

Congress' Productivity Plunges

Hill approving fewer bills, fewer laws being signed

(Newser) - Non-election years are typically productive times for Congress, but not this year. As of last week, the House had passed 326 bills, its fewest in the last 10 non-election years, while the Senate had green-lit 368, its lowest total since 1995, the Washington Post observes. (For comparison, the House passed... More »

Next Dogfight for Congress: Payroll Taxes

And this time, the outcome could cost you about $1K

(Newser) - Now that the super committee lies in ruins, Congress has another scramble on its hands—what to do about the current payroll tax holiday, which is up Dec. 31, and unemployment benefits, which expire for 2 million people soon after. Failing to extend either could put a serious dent in... More »

New Book: Insider Trading Rampant in Congress

Members reap benefits of policy knowledge on Wall Street

(Newser) - In Congress, it’s easy to do the kind of stock trading that “would send the rest of us to prison,” writes Peter Schweizer in a new book on the Hill’s upside-down ethics. Members of Congress are, of course, equipped with insider knowledge about upcoming policy, and... More »

GOP Debt Co-Chair: No Deal in Sight

Super committee talks 'like a roller coaster ride'

(Newser) - The Republican co-chair of a committee in charge of slashing the nation's deficit on today called deliberations a "roller coaster ride" and gave no indication that a deal could be struck before the panel's Thanksgiving deadline. Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling said the panel will fail unless Democrats... More »

How Many House Members Skip Out on Votes?

More than you might think, according to 'NYT' analysis

(Newser) - If Congress was graded like school, some House members wouldn't be getting As: Almost 20 of them have missed more than 10% of this year’s votes, according to a New York Times analysis. Though 10% may not seem very significant at first glance, the Times notes that most... More »

Congress' New Approval Rating Low: 9%

Just when you thought 11% rating couldn't go lower...

(Newser) - Congress’ approval ratings have sunk to their lowest since CBS and the New York Times started keeping track in 1977: Just 9% of Americans now approve of the job Congress is doing, down from 11% last month. Only a tenth of Americans trust the government to make generally sound decisions,... More »

Congress Isn't Ready for Massive Terrorist Hit: Critics

What would happen if majority of members killed, incapacitated?

(Newser) - The Washington Post points to an important question that failed to get asked after the FBI arrested Rezwan Ferdaus for allegedly planning an attack on the US Capitol: Is Congress prepared for a catastrophic terrorist strike? If more than half of the members of the House or the Senate were... More »

Boehner to Obama: Speak on Another Night

He asks president to postpone address to joint session of Congress

(Newser) - This might not bode well for President Obama's chances of getting Republicans to go along with his jobs plan: The two sides can't even agree on when he should unveil it. In response to Obama's request to address a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7, John... More »

Obama Asks to Unveil Jobs Plan to Congress

He wants to address joint session on Sept. 7

(Newser) - Congress will hear about President Obama's plan to create jobs directly from the source: He has asked to address a joint session at 8pm EST on Sept. 7, reports the Hill . His plan would be delivered on the same night and the same time as a GOP presidential debate... More »

Lawmakers Skip Town Halls, Hold Job Fairs

More than half of lawmakers holding no town hall meetings

(Newser) - Think politicians are just a wee bit spooked by the town hall rebellion of 2009? Leery of facing angry voters, lawmakers are eschewing those events this year, the Christian Science Monitor reports, with half of Republicans and two-thirds of Democrats opting not to hold any during this month's Congressional... More »

78% of Congress Didn't Study Business, Economics

Yet they're handling the recession

(Newser) - As Congress debates the weighty economic issues of our times, you can rest easy knowing that almost 80% of them didn’t major in business, economics, accounting, or any related field, according to a new study from the Employment Policies Institute. Just 8.4% of legislators studied economics, with another... More »

Congress' Ever-Dismal Approval Rating: 13%

And, in a record high, 84% disapprove

(Newser) - Just when you thought Americans couldn't hate Congress any more than they already did ... the approval rating drops to 13% in the latest Gallup poll. That's a tie for the record low; the other time approval dropped to 13% was during the lame duck session in December 2010,... More »

Feds Can't Fix Economy: Poll

New survey shows many of us agree with S&P

(Newser) - Another day, another poll about how much we hate Congress . This latest poll shows, in particular, that just one in four of us believes the federal government can fix the economy. That's down 21 points from October, notes the Washington Post . And a whopping 71% of respondents believe S&... More »

What’s Less Popular Than Congress? Not Much...

And it's not like Congress can change its mission statement

(Newser) - How unpopular is Congress today? With approval ratings as low as 14%, the current Congress ranks below human cloning, caning vandals, and—gulp—banks and HMOs, reports the Washington Post . Congress is even liked less than George W. Bush at the lowest ebb of his presidency in 2008. “It’... More »

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