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Congress (not) working
January 11th, 2013
06:30 AM ET

Congress (not) working

By Lisa Desjardins, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

Capitol Hill (CNN) – It’s not just quiet at the U.S. Capitol this week, it is nearly silent. Both the House and Senate are gone. And the House plans to be in session just six more days for the rest of the month, including the Presidential Inauguration ceremony on January 21st.

Mickey Edwards, former congressman, R-OK, and co-founder of No Labels:

[:58] “The way it's done now, you're never in Washington consecutively for more then two to three days. It's hard to get work done.”

The bipartisan organization No Labels is pushing a list of reforms to “Make Congress Work”: from attaching Congressional pay to passage of a budget to making Congress work five-day work weeks the majority of the time.

But not all in Washington think more Congressional work is the solution. Libertarians believe gridlock and low productivity are good, preventing Congress from passing more government powers and regulations.

Dan Mitchell, senior fellow, Cato Institute says:

[4:37] "I would triple their pay if they would stay home all but one month out of the year."

The 112th Congress was one of the least productive in modern history, passing the lowest number of bills in at least 40 years.

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soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Jill-IN

    I agree. How about no pension for no representation.

    January 14, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. boomer in Mo

    They would still be working two days a week less than me and most of the people I know.

    January 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Leonard

    Here is a question?
    Why does a person running for office spend millions of dollars for a job that pay less than two hundred thousand dollars a year. Something is wrong with this picture. This has become a big scam, congressmen & women enjoy the setting the rules for others but, when it affect them they change them.

    January 13, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jill-IN

      I agree. If their argument is that they can only work 2 days a week in Congress because they have to be back home in their district, well then where the hell is our Congressman. He rarely visits our city which is the 2nd largest city in Indiana. One of our Indiana Senators who actually has lived in NC for a decade never comes to northern Indiana either, except for a couple very expensive fund raising dinners. What kind of representation is that.

      January 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Change

    Everyone, please spread this petition stating that a law should be passed on Congress not being paid until they are able to pass a budget for the next fiscal year.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/pass-legislation-withhold-pay-members-congress-until-they-have-passed-budget-next-fiscal-year/CN4qwvcx?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

    January 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • batjones

      Actually Congress has a budget that was enacted three years ago. Since that time, it has passed successive continuing resolutions that the same budget from three years ago be sustained. Therefore, Congress, in all of its disfunctionality, has actually cut or kept spending stable.

      January 13, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Still

      Congress must be held accountable for failing to pass a budget. In addition to No Labels' proposal for a 5-day workweek including working 3 weeks out of each month in Washington DC, we support the No Budget No Pay bill that has receiived a Senate hearing and has the support of 90 current congresspeople. Learn more at http://www.nolabels.org.

      January 15, 2013 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Anne Hutchinson

    It is about time that Americans understand that Congresspeople meet only 48 hours when they do show up at the Capital-
    I would like CNN Radio to explore the cost of travel to send 535 Congresspeople back and forth to their widespread districts for a puny 48 hours appearance in Washington. I would also like to know how much of their time in DC is spent on fundraising.
    In other word, Congress is not congressing but is regressing from genuine meeting and dialogue. No wonder we have disfunction
    Again, CNN Radio...How much does it cost our slim indebted national resources to send the 535 members of Congress back and forth from their homes all over the USA so that they can come to DC and raise money and disfunction big time.
    Thanks.

    January 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. facts hurt if you are a republican

    The Speaker of the House gets to set the schedule for the Entire House of Representatives. In 2012 Jon Boehner Scheduled 103 work days. He needed the rest to keep his 7.8 handicap and deepen his orangeness. He scheduled 106 Working days, 124 vacation days, and 136 "constituent work" (recess days where the members are supposed to be doing work in their districts but have no accountability) days for 2013

    January 12, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logical Independent

      Saying that this congress is lazy due to vacation time is simply idiotic. The only thing that should be reduced is constituent work time (which seems excessive, 60 days or 1 week a month seems reasonable). Their vacation time is based on a 365 day work year which INCLUDES WEEKENDS. Do the math and you get 52 weekends (104 days) leaves you with 20 days or 4 weeks personal time. Most full-time desk jobs give you 2-3 weeks so maybe shave 5 or 10 days off that but in the end it's pretty similar to anyone else.

      January 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Morgan

    it seems to me a major cut in pay is long overdue.

    January 12, 2013 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. Wilberforce

    So the number of bills passed is the benchmark by which to judge their productivity? I would like to think that it's the quality of the legislation that they did pass (or veto) that would matter. But hey, liberals look at more regulation no matter what is better and this is a very liberal media outlet.

    January 12, 2013 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. Celisti

    the job at Congress should be considered as a part time or temp job, which shouldn't be awarded with pension and lavish benefits.

    the problem is that they are already overpaid for what they do, and we tax payers cannot add 1 more cent to their pay, but instead, they all should get pay cut, including president/vice president. those guys in DC already becomes elite and enjoyed more than they deserve, plus getting paid also by many lobbyists.

    we tax payers should demand they cut their own pay first before getting a budget done.

    January 12, 2013 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. ChangeOfGovernment

    THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS:

    Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:
    "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

    The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

    Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

    *Congressional Reform Act of 2011*
    1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

    2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

    3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

    7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work. If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.

    If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete. Please don’t reply to me. You are one of my 20+. Please keep it going.

    January 12, 2013 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Celisti

      very good ideas!

      January 12, 2013 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
    • boomer in Mo

      Ditto.

      January 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • kurtinco

      This is all well and fine except that congress does participate, and by participate I mean pay into, Social Security at the same rates that everyone else does. They can also choose their own retirement plans, like everyone else and do not automatically collect a pension, as some bogus chain email and blog posts suggest. Finally, congress is mandated to participate in the Affordable Care Act just like the rest of us. So good try, but don't fall for the bloggers rants and raves about congressional equality for SS, pensions and healthcare. Most of it just isn't true.

      January 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rudy Moore

    Any other job, they would have all been fired long ago. These people are the laziest most arrogant I have ever seen.

    January 11, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karla

      They live off our money, speak of everyone and are the more lazy that exist in the world... .... Oppose all, block all, clear as they don't know what is spend a day without eating or do not have money to pay the Bills

      January 12, 2013 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. JoeB

    OK, they have a month and a half to work something out with the budget deficit and haven't heard anything regarding positions, issues, any back and forth for a couple weeks. They could actually get this done long before any deadline if they were WORKING! WHY DOES THE COUNTRY HAVE TO BE SUFFERING because our so called leaders are acting like spoiled children?? I agree – GET BUSY KNUCKLEHEADS!!

    January 11, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GLK20c

    Too many politicians trying to unconstitutionally disarm the American people to work on silly issues like preventing a global economic collapse.

    January 11, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Lets not change the subject to gun control. That is a completely separate topic, The issue here is the laziness of our congress. Stay on point.

      January 12, 2013 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. GloSeattle

    How do we change this? All of us taxpayers – their employers – work 5 or more days a week 40 or more hours per week at our jobs and are NOT making 6 figures. Please, someone post how the average American voter, middle class worker who pays these people can make them work? This is government welfare! How dare they dizz the poor, unempolyed, disabled, or veteran! They are disgraceful!

    January 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MashaSobaka

    1. Get rid of the electoral college. It was conceived to keep power in the hands of the status-quo ruling class and is an insult to what we claim as our ideology. Get rid of it now.

    2. Campaign reform. And I don't just mean campaign *finance* reform, though that'll be a big step. We'll need to overturn Citizens United and ban contributions to any and all political campaigns. Each candidate will have a predetermined campaign spending limit that will be taxpayer-funded. They cannot go over their limit because no other money can legally be spent on campaigns, even the candidate's own. Also impose reform in other areas. For example, if you tell a lie – such as "Well over 90% of Planned Parenthood's services are abortion-related" or "Rapes rarely result in pregnancy" (those are just the two off the top of my head) – you pay a fine that will be taken from your current or next campaign's budget. You tell too many lies, sorry. Your campaign is over. You will have 48 hours to provide evidence for the factual accuracy of a disputed claim. If you can't come up with the facts in time, you pay the price. All of this will help remind our politicians that they work *for the people,* not the special interest groups, PACs, and corporations that currently pay for campaigns. It will also introduce for the first time the idea that you should be required to tell the truth while campaigning, and that being elected to office should not be an extended game of "Who can tell the most convincing lies." We can apply these rules to ballot measures as well. (If such measures had been in place during the Prop 8 campaign, Prop 8 would have died two days out of the gate.)

    3. These people have it way too easy. Time to trim down their pensions, salaries, and benefits. Remind them that they are not celebrities, not heroes, and not gods. They don't deserve to be treated as such.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      I agree 500 %. Excellent post! Fire the whole lot of them.

      January 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • steam roller

      I also concurr with your statement. Unfortunately, the highest court in the land supports their right to get public funds from wealthy donors and corporations. I don't know how we can get around that hurdle.
      Their dismal performance in acting on behalf of Americans to pass legislation in a timely manner, keeping costs in check is abhorrent to say the least. Keep the heat on our elected officials and hopefully we can turn the corner.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChangeOfGovernment

      Get rid of these monkeys. Once elected they are set for life, and that's all they care about.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Celisti

      the first thing should be done in Congress is to strip their voting right to raise their own salary, which is absurd and no employee in private sector ever has such a privilege, to award him/herself a high salary, generous health care and life time retirement benefits even if serving just 1 term.

      Congress job should be a temp job, without retirement benefit what so ever. once you're in Congress, you get paid, and once you leave Congress you're done, and no after Congress pay or benefits. that's we in private sector get, and so should they.

      January 12, 2013 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • kurtinco

      I think we remove contribution limits altogether. That is to say, individuals may contribute as much as they like to a campaign provided it is public knowledge and not secret. That saves us the free speech argument. More importantly, ban all contributions from corporations, unions and special interests. They are not individuals and do not deserve rights guarenteed to individuals and the many states. Heck, we stop treating corporations like they are somehow entitled to all the individual rights but none of the individual responsibilities of citizens, most of our other problems become much more managable.

      January 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  16. insi10

    THE COMMENTARY IS A COMPLETE AND VIRULENT LIE.

    VIRTUALLY EVERY COMMENT MADE ABOUT THIS "STORY" IS UTTERLY IGNORANT.

    DO I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION NOW?

    Unlike most of you, I actually WORKED THERE. Spent six years working on the U.S. Senate staff and several more years watching them closely as a news reporter and then as a lobbyist (ugh–hated that!).

    Unless things have changed, here is what really happens and what the real problems are:

    1. Most members of Congress work six to seven days a week, year 'round. If the freaking idiot Lisa Desjardins had bothered to look at the schedule of ANY member of the House or Senate before wiriting these stupid lies, she could have seen that.

    2. They are working much of the time doing the wrong job: raising money to run again. DON'T BLAME THEM FOR THAT. If they didn't raise money, they would not get re-elected.

    3. They also spend a LOT of time face-to-face with constituents. Remember where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was when she was shot? Was she in the House chamber? NO. Was she working? YES.

    4. The real problem is that MONEY RUNS CONGRESS, SO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS HAVE TO SPEND A HUGE AMOUNT OF TIME CHASING MONEY.

    5. If you want Congress to do its job right, then YOU NEED TO PAY FOR CAMPAIGNS. PUBLIC FINANCING - GETTING THE FATCATS OUT OF THE BUSINESS OF BUYING MEMBERS OF CONGRESS - THAT IS THE ANSWER.

    6. Under present political conditions, if they did spend more time in the House, they would not get one more iota of work done. The failure is due to the fact that the majority of the House is owned by the people who don't want anything done.

    Wake up, America! You have met then enemy. It is your own stupidity. Term limits are idiotic. They are a way of electing ignoramuses who are even more beholden to MONEY MONEY MONEY than those who have been there.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • MashaSobaka

      I agree that public financing is a huge step towards making these people more efficient, but please do not call their money-chasing "work." Self-preservation, maybe, but not "work." Not work they were hired to do, anyway, which is the de facto assumption in this case.

      January 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      So Congress "working" 6 days this month is a lie? I decided to look it up, and found the staggering statistic that even factoring in the fact that there are only 260 days in a “work year” instead of 365 in a full year, Congress only works 52.6% of the time.
      Lobbyists from different corporations and organizations do also undermine the legislative process, bribery seems to be legal, I see it as treason, against the lobbyist and the politician. But then I'm just
      the lowly tax payer that they only care about around election time. I'm no expert, but I'm far from blind.

      January 11, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      Nope! You still don't have my attention.

      January 11, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pamela Woodward

      As to your #6, about the House not wanting to get anything done, you are wrong. Harry Reid has pocketed any and all legislation sent to the Senate, denying the voices of the other members of the Senate from the other 49 states to have any say at all.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff smith

      Simple fix, limit any political post campaine fund. So we can vote on the content of what they say, not by the money they have!

      January 11, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Celisti

      this is why people are angry at Congress, because of people like you thinking this is how Congress works. NOPE!

      January 12, 2013 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  17. gary

    congress is incompetent .. as impotent as a boiled banana ... they are letting USA die

    January 11, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Dale

    Both parties Congress and Senate they do not like each other, you can see the contempt oozing out of them.

    Narcissistic Congress and Senate, they say a lot but say nothing they are windbags they are protecting their own special interests pork.

    Only way to solve this problem term limits

    January 11, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Agreed, two four year terms, then go home. Plus ban special interest/lobbyists.

      January 11, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Celisti

      term limit, or just no consecutive term Congress. their pay and benefits should be changed to temp job category, which means no pension, no generous healthcare benefits.

      January 12, 2013 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  19. clarke

    guess they have the last laugh, they get paid from our pockets no matter what, plus perks from our pockets. we just keep throwing money at them. They get it all and we get empty pockets. They get retirement, health care, to name a few. We have gotten what from paying them. Priceless!

    January 11, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  20. PEM

    We have to vote these do-nothings out of office, people. Stay mad and keep notes if you're going to fall for any more campaign promises.

    January 11, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Ari for Peace

    Uh, yu amerikan so stoopid...
    Yu dont kno wut you do...
    And wook, it so easy...
    A cave man can do it...

    Ha ha ha ha ha... Can yu?

    Look! So easy, a Cave Man can do it!

    [Read the Facts and Answer the Question.]
    Fact 1: Group A is one side the country
    Fact 2: Group B is the other side of the country
    Fact 3: Group A decides to take all the money
    Fact 4: Group B has no more money

    Group B has no more money to buy Group A's products and services,

    What happens to Group A?
    A. Group A will make more money because it really grows on trees
    B. Group A will make more money if Group A splits in two
    C. Group B has no more money to buy Group A's products and services causing sudden economic crash, economic suicide.
    D. Group A gives Group B some money so Group B can give it right back.

    What's your answer?

    January 11, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  22. steve

    What a wonderful job. You get a good salary. Work 2 days per week. Great healthare. Great retirement. You don't have to be productive. I think we need to put all the congressmen in a dormitory for a few months. This could be a new reality show where they have to solve problems with each other or get kicked out. Unfortunately it will get worse before it gets better.

    January 11, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  23. larry5

    Work 5 days a week. That's for suckers, not legislators.

    January 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Anonymous

    Work? They're working alright. Working to get re-elected, spend money and raise taxes. Whoppee...

    January 11, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Jane

    I'm just tired of them threatening our economy and stressing us all out – can we sue for pain and suffering or get some sort of restraining order?

    January 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Got that right. In the last thirty years, Congress has destroyed the housing market, destroyed the financial markets, created huge inflation, got us into two wars, spent the country into oblivion, driven our industries out of the country, and created the conditions for an extended period of recession. Work? Please...tell Congress to stay home!

      January 11, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  26. asdljlk2lkjlkslk

    Our government is just a joke at this point.

    Anyone who votes for any incumbent is THE problem. If you stop voting these fools in over and over, maybe just maybe, something would change.

    Anyone who votes for a party, instead of a person is THE problem. Stop voting D or R and start voting for the people who you believe in. Even if they "cant win". The only reason they "cant win" is because you idiots keep voting for the incumbent or the party.

    Why should they change anything when they currently get massive sums of money for doing nothing. The official salary is just a tiny tip of the iceberg of wealth they receive.

    January 11, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Celisti

      we really need to change this 2 party system first, or no third party can dominate in Congress.

      January 12, 2013 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  27. Dave

    This is our fault. When Rick Santorum got elected by talking about the "strange house" where the incumbent lived outside of the district (in D.C.) Congressman stopped staying in D.C. and instead started spending the majority of their time in their home districts. This has lead to them being virtual strangers, especially across the aisle. If they spent the majority of their time in Washington they would actually interact with one another outside of work and maybe learn to work together instead of spending their time demonizing the other party.

    January 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Good-for-nothing Congress

    Eric Cantor is the one responsible for making the work schedule. He gave them more time off last year than every before – and he is giving them even more time off this year.

    January 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  29. james mccray

    Let's throw them all out. We then set up congress like jury duty. When your name is called you serve a term. The terms should be short six months to a year. That would truly be a government of the people by the people!

    January 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric C

      It is a great idea, but I would shudder in fear everytime they filled congress with the worst of the extremists. It would work at a county level but not any larger.

      January 12, 2013 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  30. empresstrudy

    The don't do anything when they DO work so what's the difference.

    January 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  31. G

    What are we paying these clowns for again?? They can't get anything done because they can't work together, they can't get anything done because they are never in Washington, they simply cant get anything done. I really think we the people need to start holding the Senate and Congress accountable for their LACK OF ACTION. GET TO WORK AND DO WHAT WE ELECTED YOU AND ARE PAYING YOU TO DO!!!!!!! YOU ARE LETTING THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY DOWN

    January 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Coflyboy

    Not only do they hardly show up for work, but you should know about their Healthcare they have!!
    ...and the pensions!! ...and their pay!! ...and their paid vacation time off!!! ...and their tax perks!! It is an outrage!!! It is no wonder they are out of touch with REAL life of the working middle class. If anything needs reform in this country it is their outrageous compensation plan.
    But hey.... this is America, where fleecing the middle-class tax payer is perfectly OK.

    January 11, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      Thank you Coflyboy! Unfortunately, I believe our congressmen are working to stuff their campaign warchests for the next round of elections. Yeah, $1,000.00 a plate dinners which 99.9% of Americans can't afford or would rather lock in their retirement safes if we had it. Poor, Poor overworked Congresspeople. I do set my own term limits when voting from the "starter in the politial gravytrain" to top dog. Goverment service is service, not a career to make one a multimillionaire.

      January 11, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  33. legmom

    The same government requires OTHER gov't offices to work 5 days a week...

    January 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Jon

    The only people getting their moneys worth from the "work" Congress does is the special interest groups that own them. As we pay them $174,000 per year($223,500 for John Boehner) and they receive their own retirement and health benefits. They'll "work" 6 days this month while some of us will work 6 days this week, to keep them going.

    January 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Unrepresented Ann

    Start back with the basics of democracy......and let the people's vote count. Not more electoral college, which lets politicians play a game with electoral votes and not represent the citizens of the states. Also, a Congressman or Senator would 'serve' their country............not be made millionaires by their self- serving votes. Their service is not a guarantee of forever health care, pension, police protection, etc... Seriously, none of them have contributed that much to earn the benefits they do !!! Our military has to fight for even medical care and they risked their lives but, these 'bloated' by greed senators and representatives can't even work a 40 hr week !!!

    January 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  36. blindbear

    What an incredibly naiive set of posts! Hell, we can't even get a budget passed, much less the type of Constitutional changes that most of these ideas call for. The only solution is to be found at the ballot box, and if people continue to make their decisions on single issues or on who had the best soundbite, we'll continue to have the same government we have now.

    January 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  37. TomGI

    NASCAR got a tax cut embedded into the recently enacted tax bill.

    January 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Dennis Fitzpatrick

    They do not work much and seem to wonder why they never get things done. Imagine if they had to work the schedules most ordinary Americans do. If you ever watch C_Span they are never in the chamber when in session any way. When I was young, Congress had to meet in session with all members.They actually had to talk to each other!!! And You wonder why we are in the shape we are in now? I want their job and time off. They get sweet retirement, salary, and health beneits as well. It is a disservice to all American people no matter what your party.

    January 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Unrepresented Ann

    Is there an attorney somewhere within these United States that would initiate a Class action suite to dismiss any congressional/senatorial laws and bills during a timeframe of less than 50% of approval ratings? If we the people acknowledge they don't represent us..............how are these laws legal???

    January 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • legmom

      Great idea!

      January 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  40. drained tax payer

    The voters have spoken. We get the government we vote for...

    January 11, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Founding Father Rolling Over in Grave

    All of the critical issues facing the country were created by these fools in the first place. Fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, etc. were all manufactured because of their failure to do their jobs. No doubt they realize the mess which has been created is almost too much for them to deal with.

    Hopeless, whining spineless, spoiled brats that need to taken to the wood shed.

    January 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • rplat

      Well said.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Ratt

    First thing we need to do is remove the ability for Congress to approve their own pay raises. But it is unfair and biased to say the Republican majority congress has done nothing. They did pass a Budget back in May 2012 and Reid refused to bring it to the floor of the Senate.

    January 11, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • domill

      If you remember your civics class congress is composed of both Senate and House of Rep's.

      January 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • harel weinstein

      WELL, THIS IS JUST NOT TRUE. What was voted on was a blueprint for a budget. A budget has specific items and allocations – none of this was proposed or agreed to in the corresponding committees. What was voted on and sent to the Senate was the Ryan budget outline, which does not constitute a budget. This is one of the reasons Reid did not take it up. So, please let us stop disseminating misinformation – the situation is very bad as it is.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • mike g

        ..and what YOU might want to learn someday is that it is the sole responsibility of the SENATE to pass a budget. That is the LAW, something Reid has been in violation of for over 3 years. He could be impeached from his job for that lack of action.

        January 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Jim

    The biggest things we need to do is cut their staffs, cut their travel funds, and require they be in the halls of Congress at least 20 hours a week (they DO do some work in their offices). Congress is cutting military spending to the point that almost all business trips are being cancelled and we have to show that every trip would be impossible by VTC or telephone meeting. Congress could do townhalls that way or do "site visits" that way - they just wouldn't get as many freebies.
    We also need to change procedures so, if they're not there there is NO way their name can be put down as a vote. Also, we need to end the practice of them allowing to talk to an empty room and then add it to the Congressional record so they can claim they "talked to Congress" about something.

    January 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Margo

    Seriously, and when they are there all they are thinking about is how to get more money out of us who work all week and actually accomplish something in life. We need a" remove from office " box on ballot, I agree. How long would we keep our jobs if we didn't show up only but a couple of days a week. They apparently think they are better than us.

    January 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • DKDSD

      I agree with you – there should be a "Remove From Office" check box against each name – and by law any body getting 30% Checks on remove from office – boom there you go on the main street. Every elected member know that the congrees is not for the people they have their own agenda. Even Few governors have opeted to say so. Alos if the congress rateing is below 45% – every body goes to ballet box. Try this and see the efficiency.

      January 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Cindy

        Ever notice we get "write in vote" for every office and some laws and ammenments to laws. How about next election we all write in"None of the above?"

        January 11, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  45. TJean

    Many in congress could get paid more in the private sector so I don't think their pay is too high, though the benefits are extraordinarily rich. I wholeheartedly agree their performance is waaaay too low.

    Why don't we give congress reasonable goals and if the goals are not met, those who were tasked with accomplishing any given unmet goal are fired. For example, when the Budget Reconciliation Act was created over two years ago, putting in place the fiscal cliff/sequestration as incentive to get 'er done, those responsible for getting it done should have been given a written warning in 2011 for lack of progress and letting them know their job was on the line. By October 1, 2012 at the beginning of the federal fiscal year, the pink slips would be flyin' because they failed to meet that goal. Gee, sounds like the real world, doesn't it.

    January 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      That would be reasonable - if Congress (or the President) fails to meet a few reasonable, clearly measurable goals, then none of them are eligible for re-election when their term is up (whether that's in 2, 4, or 6 years). One could argue that penalizes the (VERY) few who are working to do good things, but they all contribute to the problem.

      Perhaps even better, if they fail to meet their goals, cut their workforce - they immediately lose 20% of their staff AND we reduce the total number of Congressmen by 10%. So, if they screw up, the rules immediately change so we only have 391 Congressmen, then 352, etc. We cut other government workforces, why not them. Also, it's PROVABLY true that smaller meetings are generally more efficient than large ones and clearly 435 is WAY TOO many.

      January 11, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • PunchInTheace

      If anyone in Congress can get paid more in the private sector, then they should leave and go work in the private sector. I want people in Congress who are interested in serving their country, not their wallets. And it's not like that high pay is attracting the best-of-the-best here.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Unrepresented Ann

      The career politicians could not get paid as much as they do now in the civilian market. They are only worth the amount stated due to their 'influence' of being an elected politician.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  46. LinSea

    We should get to dock their pay.

    January 11, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Wake up STUPID

    What is wrong with the people of the United States? Have we turned off our common sense?? Why is this allowed, are we too stupid or lazy to unite and put an end this sort of thing? We need to UNITE we need to THINK when we vote as to just what are we voting in to run our country. These Senators and Congress people are doing a horrible job and being extremely well compensated for it and we are letting them do it!!! RISE UP use YOUR VOICE this has to change!! They should be working 5 days a week just like the average person does and they should be getting something done. And the idiot saying he would raise their wage to sit at home needs to put a cork in it, how ridiculous!! They need to GET TO WORK or we need to vote them OUT. Quit being stupid sheep people, quit blindly following a bunch of self important jerks that could care less about you.

    January 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evskie

      The supreme court took the peoples voice away permanately when they designated corporations as people.

      January 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tony

        Question? If corporations realy are people why did corporation not vote?

        January 11, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
        • Pamela Woodward

          The Supreme Court made an awful ruling when they judged corporations to have the same rights as people to contribute to campaigns. A corporation is not a person. It is comprised of people, each of whom have a single vote just and you and I have. That ruling definitely allows corporations final say on who is and is not elected. Money is power, and they have the money. That was a bad,bad, bad decision.

          January 12, 2013 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Character

      "‎"Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature … If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces."

      — James Garfield, address commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence,

      July 4, 1876"

      January 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • billy williams

      I agree if we allow it to continue then we can look in the mirror and blame ourselves. Politicians will continue to do what they are allowed to do. If the tax payers don't hold them accountable then who will. Once they get your vote you are history until the next election.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  48. John

    I like the idea of adding a "remove from office" check box on ballots. What we really need to do is institute a term limit policy on all Congressional leaders. Presidents can only serve 4 – 8 years; why can't we impose this on Congress as well?! When our Government was formed over 200 yrs ago, this was meant to be a civil service position, not make it into a career like many have made it. We also need to strip away some of their salaries, benefits, etc!!!!

    January 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wndy Citizern

      Do you EVER vote for an incumbent? If so, stop.

      January 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • The System has Failed

        See, this is the major problem with our system as far as I'm concerned. I'm not Rep. or Dem. or for either, this is just an example. Let's say that your congressperson is a Republican and you typically vote Republican. However, you're extremely unsatisfied with the job he/she did this term, so you want to vote them out. You get to the ballot box and your choices are the incumbent or the Democrat. You really wanted to vote the incumbent out, but the Democrat is much more liberal and his/her views don't align with yours at all. Yeah, you could vote third-party or vote someone in, but that person isn't going to win. So you're stuck voting for the same incumbent that you were unsatisfied with last time. I think term limits for members of Congress is way overdue.

        January 11, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
        • Pamela Woodward

          Term limits would go a long way in preventing career politicians from staying long enough to build their own little fiefdom replete with power, influence, and corporate buddies to finance their reelection campaigns.

          January 11, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pamela Woodward

        Yes I have, but on a ballot, what choices are you given? It's either the encumbent or the other side, a third party candidate, or a write in. In all of these cases, when you don't like any of them, then what? I liked the suggestion on this blog by the person who suggested there by a "Remove from Office" on the ballot. I think that is a great idea. I think if that were a reality, we wouldn't have most of the people who are in congress today.

        January 11, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Ang

    We the people D or R we elected these Jokers. Maybe we learn soon with the coming elections. Maybe not! Lol!

    January 11, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aden Medina

      Why even vote for the worst people employed...There MUST be a clause-get elected in DC but if you don't show any significant contribution for the welfare of the people who elected you-the be FIRED...nobody must be paid for doing nothing...shame shame shame for our most dishonorable politicians who don't deserve one penny of people's money for doing absolutely NOTHING.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  50. realistic

    A check box for "Remove from office" needs to be added to the ballot.

    January 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Gramma Joy

    I say take away their special health plan and make them use medicare and social security like the rest of us normal folk.

    January 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Photonerd

    I like how their approval rating is 18%, according to an article from December, in public school that's so far below failing that the student will have to be held back a year. Why have we not kicked out congress and get new representatives that actually know what they are doing?

    January 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • realistic

      Because people keep electing them back into office. There is no check box for "Remove from office" on the ballot.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • domill

      I cannot remember who the commentator was but what they said; when it comes to elections is that it is not my bum who is the problem, it is the other bums. We quickly point fingers at others instead of ourselves.

      January 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  53. mike electrician

    And we pay these people to do this. We need our head examined.

    January 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    CONGRESS (NOT) WORKING

    The National Debt per household is $140,000
    NO !!! is work.
    But it's for the children...
    But it's for the green movement...
    But it's for more welfare...
    But it's for more abortions...
    But it's for more government regulations....

    Children... NO !!! We can NOT afford it.

    January 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ang

      And they were given what? A raise!!!

      January 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • wyogirl

      its also for "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq that lead to war, its for the longest war in american history in Afganistan, its for farm subsidies for farms – small, large and corporate, its for subsidies or "tax breaks" we give to wealthy people. BOTH parties are responsible for this mess. BOTH. Republicans had no problem raising the debt ceiling when there was a republican in the white house, and they had no problem getting us into a war that has cost 6 BILLION dollars. This isn't just about medicare and other government welfare programs, its about a system that has been taken over by parties that exist ONLY to serve themselves.

      January 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • blindbear

        Nowhere in the Constitution is there ANY mention of political parties. Parties are a holdover from a time with no mass communication, no 24-hour media, and when it took a month to get a message from one end of the country to another. They began as a means of easily identifying how you thought your candidate believed about issues when there was no easy way for them to tell you themselves. If anything, we should totally eliminate all political parties, provide taxpayer funding of all elections, and vote the candidate and not the Party.

        January 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  55. MoLeen

    With technology such as Sype and Webinar/ex to name a few, why can't they work a full 5 day work week? It should not matter where they are. Both private and Government are practing telework environments. Congress should get on board. It's a new work world and they need to catch up and adapt like the rest of us. Would hopefully get more work done while saving travel costs, reducing their carbon footprint, not to mention saving overall taxpayers dollars.

    January 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |