“There are 435 of us, and on any given day, you know, some of them are out doing things they probably shouldn’t be doing.”

–House Speaker John Boehner, responding to a question at a Christian Science Monitor event in Tampa about how he could get American to view Congress more favorably

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AlistairCookie
AlistairCookie

I'm pretty sure the things they are out there doing that they shouldn't, and that are mostly making them unpopular, are actual planks in the GOP's platform.

Perhaps instead of being a perpetual campaign cycle, pandering to the lowest common denominator, and deciding what to do and how to vote based on blind hatred of our president, (among blind hatred of other things as well), they could try working in the best interest of their constituents and our country as a whole.

United we stand, divided we fall, and all that.  Is that not patriotic anymore? 

ERenger
ERenger

The problem is not so much that on any given day they are out doing things they should not be doing. The problem is that they are never doing any of the things that they should be doing, like paying attention to the nation's business and taking care of problems. 

Dan5404
Dan5404

You mean like participating in a pre-inauguration agreement of GOP leaders to do nothing Obama wants, not participate in any kind of compromise and to filibuster and obstruct until election day?  Then he's right, they are doing something they shouldn't be doing and violating their oath of office to truly represent the American people.

ARTraveler
ARTraveler

Maybe they just ought to do their job and quit all of the show-boating and game-playing.  Over 30 votes on healthcare when they haven't offered any fix for a major problem that scares a lot of people.  Leaving 40% of America out in the cold and dependent on the ER for a doctor is both a non-Christian attitude as well as a national security issue as a disease that starts in the non-insured my well spread nation-wide before it is obvious that there is a major issue but since the same idiots cut CDC funding, we will just let it run its course and bury the losers.  We couldn't be so lucky as to have half the House also disappear. 

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

Try the 230 that refuse to work with the sitting President or the Senate.  Those are the ones that, on any given day, are probably doing something they probably shouldn't be doing....

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

I sure hope that there is someone in the Senate that is electable in 2016, as there is nobody in the house that rises above the gridlock.  Repubs only say "No" and Dems just say "See, I told you so".  I would much rather see a member of the house doing something that they shouldn't be, than seeing them do nothing.  There is nothing admirable about our house of representatives anymore.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

The problem is that "any given day" is like everyday.  All of them, especially Republicans spend their time pushing worthless legislation in order to please the base, but nothing which is constructive to help the country with its problems.  In addition, Congress spends too much time trying to raise money and continually passes temporary legislation, so the same people who got favors the first time, keep coming back to give more money in order to have the favorable legislation extended.

Our Democracy is broken.  We have legalized bribery, and the Citizen's United decision only makes it more obvious.  It would be nice to actually have a Congress which does the people's business, instead of the donors business.

MrObvious
MrObvious

So the speaker of the house that sets the schedule and have this year set perhaps the least amount of legislative time and more time set to 'run around' reflects over people running around?

Is there a party in this nation who comes with a 'push to unaware here' button?

harvey_conn
harvey_conn

Yes, like you Mr. Speaker, puting your party agenda first and allowing your party to obstruct every single idea except your own. I guess that is why you call yourselves the "right" wing.

outsider2011
outsider2011

Term limits. 

sacredh
sacredh

I'm completely against term limits. I think that if there were term limits that they'd just rip and tear all the much more and peddle their influence to the highest bidder like it was going out of style.

ERenger
ERenger

This is exactly what happened in CA when term limits were imposed on our state legislature and state senate. I'm totally against term limits. It's a feel-good, throw-the-bums-out solution that backfires. 

outsider2011
outsider2011

 But without term limits, they become the ruling class the US was founded to avoid..

outsider2011
outsider2011

 Good point.

So then what is the solution?

More oversight on spending? By whom? Themselves? We've seen how that turned out.

sacredh
sacredh

What we were founded to avoid and what we quickly became are two entirely different things. In the beginning of our country, women and blacks couldn't vote and were basically property. It was never the ideal that we read about in the history books. I'll take what we've become now compared to what it was then.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

Here's the problem I have with term limits: if membership of the House and Senate is constantly changing, more power devolves to the Congressional staff, who more and more become unelected representatives because they have the continuity. It's a dilemma. That said, filmnoia's suggestion of 5 terms/10 years (I would make it 6 terms/12 years, so that House and Senate are equal) and 2 terms in the Senate has a lot going for it. 

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

S_Deemer,

I agree with your dilemma regarding term limits.  We already have term limits:  They are called elections.  If we wanted, we can always vote out someone who has been in Washington too long.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

Also: House and Senate committee assignments and chairmanships are usually based on seniority. Thus, the interests of the voters become better served by reelecting fossils rather than bringing on new blood.

Opening up or rotating the opportunity for membership/leadership of congressional committees is integral to effective term limit regulation.

*************************************************

As an aside: Michigan is currently wrestling with state legislature Term Limits that are way too short. State house members may serve a maximum of 3, 2-year terms;  state senators may serve a maximum of 2, 4-year terms. 

Effective deal-making, especially about the annual budget, has broken down. This has resulted in 

(1) many more state referendums (heck, we can't figure this out, give it to the voters), and

(2) the Governor becoming much more powerful (especially when the legislature abdicates power and agrees to allow the governor to hire non-elected "emergency managers" to run the cities.)

Dan5404
Dan5404

Not with gerrymandering of districts to eliminate competition.

ARTraveler
ARTraveler

We should also cut the Congresional staff and let them do more of their own work and maybe, some of their own thinking.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

Unfortunately, once someone lands in congress, it seems almost impossible to get rid of them.  The Citizen's United debacle ended any illusion that there is a level playing field between incumbants and challengers.  

filmnoia
filmnoia

Technically you are correct, but let's stop being naive. Most people don't pay attention to politics. All they do is look for the D or R next to someone's name or the (Inc.) after the name and that is who they put the X by. Term limits in conjunction with public financing of elections, with strict (like $200 max) donor limits would get us on the road towards a citizen legislature, but it's not going to happen. There is just too much dough involved into keeping things as they are.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

Except that most states have gerrymandered voting districts to minimize that option by eliminating fair competition. And, once elected, pork directed back to home districts for Congressmen, or states for Senators buys votes and loyalty.

filmnoia
filmnoia

I'm in with that -

5 terms for Congress and 2 terms for Senate max. However, term limits won't do much good without public financing of elections, with strict limits upon campaign donations. That would necessitate a major paradigm shift that will only happen in our dreams.