Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why Is Congress So Dysfunctional?

by Lois Beckett - ProPublica, Nov. 23, 2011

Congress’ approval ratings are abysmal, and the failure of the congressional “super committee” to find a compromise on reducing the national debt has set off a new round of recriminations.

One senator on the super committee, Democrat Max Baucus of Montana, told the Washington Post, “We’re at a time in American history where everybody's afraid — afraid of losing their job — to move toward the center. A deadline is insufficient. You’ve got to have people who are willing to move.”

Decrying partisanship is almost as old as the republic itself. But long-time observers of Congress say that Congress has actually taken a turn for the worse—more gridlock, more grandstanding, less compromise to get things done.

Old rules are being used in newly aggressive, partisan ways, and routine Congressional activities have become politicized—most notably, the vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Once a nonissue, the debt ceiling vote brought the nation to the brink of default.

Read the full story @ ProPublica

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