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(Washington Post)   Jon Huntsman and Joe Manchin revive group for congressmen to join to actually, you know, govern. Expectations are that all three congressmen that want to govern will join   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 70
    More: Spiffy, Jon Huntsman, Joe Manchin, No Labels, Manchin revive, Mark McKinnon, Member of Congress, expectations  
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1835 clicks; posted to Politics » on 14 Jan 2013 at 10:18 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-14 08:35:05 AM
Liberals like me use the word "Teatard" for a reason. Just saying.
 
2013-01-14 10:07:09 AM
FTFA: "No Labels... formed in 2010 to try to encourage collaboration across the political spectrum."

How's that been working out so far? Oh. Right.

I'm not even cautiously hopeful about their chances, I'll believe it when I see it.
 
2013-01-14 10:12:18 AM
They truly do have No Labels. I've never seen anyone ever label them "effective" or "useful" or "productive".
 
2013-01-14 10:21:22 AM
Bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisanship is not necessarily a good thing
 
2013-01-14 10:24:17 AM
As a freshman congressman I'm just using this term to get me a high paying lobbyist job. As the tea party candidate I got elected promising to do nothing since government is bad and never helped no one. So here I am on Fark.
 
2013-01-14 10:24:40 AM
Wow. A conservative and a conservative can find common ground? Not exactly the speech at the end of Rocky IV, is it?
 
2013-01-14 10:33:54 AM
Jon Huntsman and Joe Manchin revive group for congressmen to join to actually, you know, govern. Expectations are that all three congressmen that want to govern will join are useful idiots for monied interests
 
2013-01-14 10:34:29 AM
You know, as a socially liberal "fark if I know" party from MA, I don't mind giving credit where credit it due. The two are trying to encourage people to govern, to actually do their jobs, and we have a shockingly little amount of people decrying such a thing. We have people that'll complain about how Congress sucks and will do nothing but no one actually wants to tackle the real issue, the fact that we don't have people in congress that *want* to actually do their jobs to govern.

It may be a naive take on life and our roles in government, but I at least applaud these guys for trying to get people to govern and work on something that doesn't just give them cash or cushy jobs.

/Huntsman ran on term limits for Congress
//among other reforms
 
2013-01-14 10:35:16 AM
Hey I have a job, but I don't like doing it. My boss thinks I'm a total slacker, but I've got a nifty idea - I'll form a coalition among my other lacky colleages and maybe give it a catchy name like, 'Working, not Farking'. I'm sure it will catch on...
 
2013-01-14 10:38:03 AM
It's sort of sad that anyone has to try to create a group for Congress that says "how about we try to actually do the jobs we were elected to do?" but I give them credit for at least trying.  Unfortunately, the obstructionists in Congress won't do a damned thing no matter how hard they try to get them to, and the country is so ridiculously divided, I don't think we can come together.
 
2013-01-14 10:41:07 AM
Huntsman is dead to me after appearing in that Snow White movie.
 
2013-01-14 10:41:53 AM
Every self-proclaimed "centrist" group is organized around the principle that BSABSVR.
 
2013-01-14 10:43:31 AM

somedude210: The two are trying to encourage people to govern, to actually do their jobs, and we have a shockingly little amount of people decrying such a thing.


This is not true, and you're simply buying into the game. The reality is that 95% of Democrats do want to do this, as do 75% (lets be generous here) or Republicans. The problem is that (i) that's not enough people to do things by themselves and (ii) they don't agree with each other! They really don't agree with each other. It's stupid to say "do your jobs" when the two sides have fundamental disagreements about what that job consists of.
 
2013-01-14 10:44:42 AM
As long as they fly Republican colors and the Republicans remain the party of comprehensively fighting any and all progress on a procedural level, I can't take them seriously. The GOP is unredeemable after the last few years. Go Independent, break ranks, or get off the pot.
 
2013-01-14 10:45:05 AM

LarryDan43: As a freshman congressman I'm just using this term to get me a high paying lobbyist job. As the tea party candidate I got elected promising to do nothing since government is bad and never helped no one. So here I am on Fark.


It would not shock me if there were a very similar post on FreeRepublic or FoxNation by an actual Tea Partier, probably followed by a supportive comment section.
 
2013-01-14 10:46:48 AM

DamnYankees: somedude210: The two are trying to encourage people to govern, to actually do their jobs, and we have a shockingly little amount of people decrying such a thing.

This is not true, and you're simply buying into the game. The reality is that 95% of Democrats do want to do this, as do 75% (lets be generous here) or Republicans. The problem is that (i) that's not enough people to do things by themselves and (ii) they don't agree with each other! They really don't agree with each other. It's stupid to say "do your jobs" when the two sides have fundamental disagreements about what that job consists of.


but being obstructionist douchenozzles for the sake of being obstructionist douchenozzels does little to help us as a country and needs to be stopped. I'm not suggesting that we all need to just be bi-partisan "happy dance" boys. But we need to stop the obstructionist crap and actually debate the issues and maybe, just maybe, find a common ground from which we can build a worthwhile bill. We haven't done a whole lot of that in the last 30 years when we haven't had a supermajority in one or both houses for a party
 
2013-01-14 10:49:38 AM

somedude210: But we need to stop the obstructionist crap and actually debate the issues and maybe, just maybe, find a common ground from which we can build a worthwhile bill.


1) These people do debate the issues. All day long. What do you think the fiscal cliff thing was about? You may not like the answers these people give, but they do debate the issues. In fact, one of the main reasons our government has become so obstructions is that Congressmen care about issues more than ever! In the olden days, you could get your caucus to vote for stuff by promising them goodies and just enforcing the whip. You can't do that anymore, because many more congressmen really, really, really do care about these issues.

And the reality is, the Congressmen who care about their issues the most loudly are the ones who are most hated. This is what the Tea Party caucus is.

I don't think you know what you're asking for. You can't simultaneously ask people to care about issues more and simultaneously ask them to vote against those issues by compromising.
 
2013-01-14 11:02:38 AM
I can't wait until someone thinks up a way to create a democracy such that creating parties is actively bad due to the way the system is constructed, so that each representative votes the way they, or the people they represent, want, rather than the way they are told by a single party leadership.

Of course even if such a system came about and it worked miraculously well, it won't help in the US because it isn't in the constitution, so therefore the political system there will have to suck forever.
 
2013-01-14 11:22:35 AM

Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: Liberals Moderates like me use the word "Teatard" for a reason. Just saying.

 
2013-01-14 11:32:46 AM

xria: I can't wait until someone thinks up a way to create a democracy such that creating parties is actively bad due to the way the system is constructed, so that each representative votes the way they, or the people they represent, want, rather than the way they are told by a single party leadership.

Of course even if such a system came about and it worked miraculously well, it won't help in the US because it isn't in the constitution, so therefore the political system there will have to suck forever.


Getting rid of the districting system is the solution at this point.  Gerrymandered districts + Tea party activism = A Confederacy of Dunces.
 
2013-01-14 11:44:09 AM

utharda: xria: I can't wait until someone thinks up a way to create a democracy such that creating parties is actively bad due to the way the system is constructed, so that each representative votes the way they, or the people they represent, want, rather than the way they are told by a single party leadership.

Of course even if such a system came about and it worked miraculously well, it won't help in the US because it isn't in the constitution, so therefore the political system there will have to suck forever.

Getting rid of the districting system is the solution at this point.  Gerrymandered districts + Tea party activism = A Confederacy of Dunces.


Reform is needed at the state level to ensure that members of congress come from multi-member districts, such that the 1st, 2nd and maybe even 3rd place candidates in each large district each get seats in Congress. In most states, We the People can do this via petition and referendum. But not enough of us understand how farked we are and how this is truly the only solution for such a petition to ever really get off the ground.
 
2013-01-14 11:56:02 AM

DamnYankees: somedude210: The two are trying to encourage people to govern, to actually do their jobs, and we have a shockingly little amount of people decrying such a thing.

This is not true, and you're simply buying into the game. The reality is that 95% of Democrats do want to do this, as do 75% (lets be generous here) or Republicans. The problem is that (i) that's not enough people to do things by themselves and (ii) they don't agree with each other! They really don't agree with each other. It's stupid to say "do your jobs" when the two sides have fundamental disagreements about what that job consists of.


But instead, we get "Congress sucks and is broken!" thrown at us 24/7. Which ideology is that promoting?
 
2013-01-14 12:07:37 PM
The will of the American people is clear. They voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in the House, Senate, and for president because they want both sides to come together, hand Social Security to Goldman Sachs, and govern like Rockefeller Republicans.
 
2013-01-14 12:08:38 PM
Being elected to congress is apparently not enough incentive to actually do any governing. Apparently you now have to join a special committee of "people doing the job they should be doing in the first place."

great
 
2013-01-14 12:19:38 PM

somedude210: /Huntsman ran on term limits for Congress
//among other reforms


He found the right group to join. No Labels has plenty of similar non-solutions.

Step 1: Term limits
Step 2: ????
Step 3: Prosperity

Step 1: Cut congressional pay
Step 2: ????
Step 3: Prosperity

Step 1: Force granny back into the job market
Step 2: ????
Step 3: Prosperity
 
2013-01-14 12:20:49 PM
FTFA: "We realize this is not going to be easy. There are real philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans that can't be papered over with mere pledges of civility," said Jonathan Miller, a No Labels co-founder and former Kentucky state treasurer. He quipped that Congress' approval ratings was "somewhere below Brussels sprouts and Lindsay Lohan although it is slightly above root canals and Duke basketball."

In other words, Congress sucks, but not as badly as Duke.

/I wonder if Mr. Miller is a Farker...
 
2013-01-14 12:22:11 PM

Lost Thought 00: Bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisanship is not necessarily a good thing


Intransigence is no substitute for governance either.
 
2013-01-14 12:23:56 PM
The Gridlock is a symptom of our current system, not a cause.

You know if they were serious about bipartisanship they would do the following:
(1) Have gerrymandering declared unconstitutional.
(2) Double (or Triple) the size of the house of representatives
(3) Double (or Triple) the size of the Senate.
(4) Ban all primary elections, all general elections victors would need 51% of the vote.
 
2013-01-14 12:25:48 PM

Komplex: (2) Double (or Triple) the size of the house of representatives
(3) Double (or Triple) the size of the Senate.


I fail to see what problems these are supposed to be solutions to.
 
2013-01-14 12:39:07 PM

DamnYankees: I fail to see what problems these are supposed to be solutions to.


The first may alleviate some gerrymandering issues (fewer people per rep means fewer people ignored). It would also make it easier for third parties to get representatives elected.The second? I'm not sure. That's just twice as many assholes to filibuster something they don't care for.
 
2013-01-14 01:00:20 PM

Komplex: The Gridlock is a symptom of our current system, not a cause.

You know if they were serious about bipartisanship they would do the following:

(1) Have gerrymandering declared unconstitutional.

Subjective. If you have districts you can gerrymander. You could accuse a map of being gerrymandered, propose a less gerrymandered alternative, and hope a court accepts your reasoning and math that it is less gerrymandered. But once a court accepts that logic, anyone with a computer algorithm could make an even 'better' map and the courts will rule that computers have to do it from the beginning. If that's the outcome you want, great. If it's not, don't try to ban gerrymandering.

(2) Double (or Triple) the size of the house of representatives
Not a bad idea, as long as the committees stay the same size and committee assignments are random.

(3) Double (or Triple) the size of the Senate.
Probably a bad idea. Might be a good idea if Senate elections were held with the same frequency, and the two seats up for consideration at any given time were filled from a single pool of candidates, with the first and second place candidates in that single pool getting seats in the Senate. But way too complicated. Bad idea, doesn't achieve much.

(4) Ban all primary elections, all general elections victors would need 51% of the vote.
I think you meant to say you want open primaries. That is basically a good idea. Closed primaries concentrate the voting power with the activists even more than it would be normally. Have an open primary before the election where everyone can vote for anyone, and the top two candidates move on to the general. Since there are only two candidates on the ballot at that point, a 51% win is assured. Some places already do this. It is not as effective empowering the middle of the electorate as multi-member districts might be.
 
2013-01-14 01:05:41 PM
SO much hate in this thread.

Thanks to everyone that actually read the article. To the rest of you arguing that this is useless or a waste of time (especially the idiot that posted they should just do their frigging jobs instead of spending time on this project).

Huntsman is a FORMER Governor who currently does not hold elected office.

This group have a defined list of priorities. Most of these are things many of us across the spectrum have been advocating for years. Every single item on the list is reasonable and, while certainly not likely to happen, is at least possible).

Withholding congressional pay if no budget is passed - How can ANYONE (not in congress) take issue with this? How can ANYONE not see the potential for this to reduce gridlock?

Forcing and up-or-down vote on presidential appointments within 90 days of a nomination - What's the problem with this one? Can't you see how this could move things along? These appointments are sometimes used in political gamesmanship for YEARS.

Changing the filibuster rules to make it more difficult to stall bills that have fewer than 60 votes - This one is a little more esoteric, but if you follow congressional politics you can see this is a no-brainer. The filibuster is a powerful and important tool that has been twisted and misused in recent times and should be updated (not eliminated)

Requiring Congress to work five days a week - On average, over the last 9 years, Congress has met about 140 days a year. So far this congress has worked 23 days, out of a possible 46 days, or 50% of the time. Does anyone really have an issue with this idea? How on earth could this possibly be a bad thing? Maybe, just maybe, if they have to work a few more days a year they might get more done? (I'm not holding my breath, but it's a step in the right direction)

Demanding an annual address to Congress on the fiscal condition of the nation - This is the only one in the article that I'm a little unsure of. It's frightening, actually. The fact that they feel like this is needed implies to me that Congress is quite happily uneducated and uninformed on the state of the economy. They hold the purse strings but this seems a tacit admission from actual members of Congress that they don't even know what's going on with our nation's fiscal condition. Ugh. If this is the case, requiring an annual address seems woefully inadequate, and if it's not the case it's hard to see the justification for this.

From everything I can find or read, this is the first political movement that I could theoretically get behind. I'm an independent, though socially conservative voter. I am well informed on the issues and have voted for Bush and Obama at the presidential level (though I elected to abstain this year as I couldn't get behind any of the presidential candidates).

Occupy Wall Street seemed a joke at best and a corporate-corrupted sham at worst. The Tea Party to me just looks like another bunch of extremists.

Given the nature of recent movements I guess I can understand the automatic skepticism, but all this organization seems to be about is actually making the Congress work like they're supposed to. I'm all for an inefficient government to prevent too many bad things happening, but right now both sides are cutting off their noses to spite their face, and normal citizens like me are the ones that get to pay the price.
 
2013-01-14 01:14:54 PM

Bloody William: As long as they fly Republican colors and the Republicans remain the party of comprehensively fighting any and all progress on a procedural level, I can't take them seriously. The GOP is unredeemable after the last few years. Go Independent, break ranks, or get off the pot.


This.  The Republican Party is now so unreasonable and off the rails that even if "compromise" with them is possible -- and I'm not sure that it is -- I don't think that that would be the best thing for the nation anyway.
 
2013-01-14 01:14:55 PM

push3r: SO much hate in this thread.

Thanks to everyone that actually read the article. To the rest of you arguing that this is useless or a waste of time (especially the idiot that posted they should just do their frigging jobs instead of spending time on this project).

Huntsman is a FORMER Governor who currently does not hold elected office.

This group have a defined list of priorities. Most of these are things many of us across the spectrum have been advocating for years. Every single item on the list is reasonable and, while certainly not likely to happen, is at least possible).

Withholding congressional pay if no budget is passed - How can ANYONE (not in congress) take issue with this? How can ANYONE not see the potential for this to reduce gridlock?

Forcing and up-or-down vote on presidential appointments within 90 days of a nomination - What's the problem with this one? Can't you see how this could move things along? These appointments are sometimes used in political gamesmanship for YEARS.

Changing the filibuster rules to make it more difficult to stall bills that have fewer than 60 votes - This one is a little more esoteric, but if you follow congressional politics you can see this is a no-brainer. The filibuster is a powerful and important tool that has been twisted and misused in recent times and should be updated (not eliminated)

Requiring Congress to work five days a week - On average, over the last 9 years, Congress has met about 140 days a year. So far this congress has worked 23 days, out of a possible 46 days, or 50% of the time. Does anyone really have an issue with this idea? How on earth could this possibly be a bad thing? Maybe, just maybe, if they have to work a few more days a year they might get more done? (I'm not holding my breath, but it's a step in the right direction)

Demanding an annual address to Congress on the fiscal condition of the nation - This is the only one in the article that I'm a little unsure of. It's frightening, actually ...


1) Congress is not constitutionally required to pass a budget. Only to authorize spending. And if they don't authorize spending, they don't get paid (duh.)

2) Members of Congress have jobs besides being on the floor debating and voting. They are also supposed to be in their districts talking to their constituents (though most do not). Having them spend more than half of their time in Washington should be enough already.

3) The stuff about filibusters and up-down votes makes sense. If you don't like the bill or the appointee, vote no. Be brave enough to make that vote on the public record. Don't just block it through esoteric means.
 
2013-01-14 01:29:31 PM

DamnYankees: Komplex: (2) Double (or Triple) the size of the house of representatives
(3) Double (or Triple) the size of the Senate.

I fail to see what problems these are supposed to be solutions to.


There are so many lobbyists, the Congress is overwhelmed!  Some poor K-Streeters are having difficulty accessing the wheel of pow-, err...the House of the People, or something. We need more Senators and Representatives so all the lobbyists have adequate access to the politicians.
 
2013-01-14 01:35:46 PM
www.novatownhall.com

Wow, these guys think that people get into politics to "govern", that is hilarious!
 
2013-01-14 01:37:05 PM

Komplex: The Gridlock is a symptom of our current system, not a cause.

You know if they were serious about bipartisanship they would do the following:
(1) Have gerrymandering declared unconstitutional.
(2) Double (or Triple) the size of the house of representatives
(3) Double (or Triple) the size of the Senate.
(4) Ban all primary elections, all general elections victors would need 51% of the vote.


More and bigger hogs at the trough.  Yep, that'll do it.
 
2013-01-14 01:38:30 PM
As critical as I am of most conservatives these days, Huntsman has always seemed both reasonable and consistent.

He won't get anywhere with this for that very reason, but It's nice to know he still out there.
 
2013-01-14 01:42:11 PM

GentDirkly: push3r: SO much hate in this thread.

Thanks to everyone that actually read the article. To the rest of you arguing that this is useless or a waste of time (especially the idiot that posted they should just do their frigging jobs instead of spending time on this project).

Huntsman is a FORMER Governor who currently does not hold elected office.

This group have a defined list of priorities. Most of these are things many of us across the spectrum have been advocating for years. Every single item on the list is reasonable and, while certainly not likely to happen, is at least possible).

Withholding congressional pay if no budget is passed - How can ANYONE (not in congress) take issue with this? How can ANYONE not see the potential for this to reduce gridlock?

Forcing and up-or-down vote on presidential appointments within 90 days of a nomination - What's the problem with this one? Can't you see how this could move things along? These appointments are sometimes used in political gamesmanship for YEARS.

Changing the filibuster rules to make it more difficult to stall bills that have fewer than 60 votes - This one is a little more esoteric, but if you follow congressional politics you can see this is a no-brainer. The filibuster is a powerful and important tool that has been twisted and misused in recent times and should be updated (not eliminated)

Requiring Congress to work five days a week - On average, over the last 9 years, Congress has met about 140 days a year. So far this congress has worked 23 days, out of a possible 46 days, or 50% of the time. Does anyone really have an issue with this idea? How on earth could this possibly be a bad thing? Maybe, just maybe, if they have to work a few more days a year they might get more done? (I'm not holding my breath, but it's a step in the right direction)

Demanding an annual address to Congress on the fiscal condition of the nation - This is the only one in the article that I'm a little unsure of. It's frightening, ...


And people have issues with these things, why? It's movements like this that gets real change enacted. So lets do it. Let us try and force our representatives to represent us.

Go be cynical and pessimistic in your own time, you want to be that way? Then don't be in politics. Go into politics if you're willing to uphold your sworn duty to the welfare of the people and the country.
 
2013-01-14 01:46:34 PM
Also, this is really what you need to do to fix things:

1) Global term limits. A maximum of 12 to 24 years in any Federal position (so 16 years in congress and 8 as president, for example). You can't be congressman for life of your tiny district, nor can you remain in Washington forever. The exact total is up to argument, but I'm more for 24 so some folks with experience can last if they make an effort to govern.

2) You cannot run for a federal office while holding another federal office. If you are a senator you have to resign before you can run for president.

3) No paychecks after retirement. Once you leave congress or the presidency, you need to raise your own capitol. The only exception is for security services offered to the former presidents.

4) Computer regulate all districts down by as contiguous as possible based upon population (look at Iowa for a good example). Use the same model for all states.

5) Recalculate the house based upon population as it was intended.

6) And most importantly, require all funding for political advertisements to be secured in and provided by only those persons or corporations that have resided within the district in question (with the requirement for persons funding to have lived there for a year previously, and for corporations 10 years). Define resided in such a fashion to prevent corporate shenanigans unless they are willing to stay and employ the locals/pay taxes in the district to influence the election.
 
2013-01-14 01:51:03 PM

serpent_sky: It's sort of sad that anyone has to try to create a group for Congress that says "how about we try to actually do the jobs we were elected to do?" but I give them credit for at least trying.  Unfortunately, the obstructionists in Congress won't do a damned thing no matter how hard they try to get them to, and the country is so ridiculously divided, I don't think we can come together.


The problem is that most of the obstructionists were elected specifically to obstruct the government from doing anything. That is, they live in bright red areas where the voters want the government drowned in the bathtub.

Gridlock isn't a side effect of what the Tea Party types want; it's exactly what they actually want.
 
2013-01-14 01:54:21 PM

JollyMagistrate: Also, this is really what you need to do to fix things:

1) Global term limits. A maximum of 12 to 24 years in any Federal position (so 16 years in congress and 8 as president, for example). You can't be congressman for life of your tiny district, nor can you remain in Washington forever. The exact total is up to argument, but I'm more for 24 so some folks with experience can last if they make an effort to govern.

2) You cannot run for a federal office while holding another federal office. If you are a senator you have to resign before you can run for president.

3) No paychecks after retirement. Once you leave congress or the presidency, you need to raise your own capitol. The only exception is for security services offered to the former presidents.

4) Computer regulate all districts down by as contiguous as possible based upon population (look at Iowa for a good example). Use the same model for all states.

5) Recalculate the house based upon population as it was intended.

6) And most importantly, require all funding for political advertisements to be secured in and provided by only those persons or corporations that have resided within the district in question (with the requirement for persons funding to have lived there for a year previously, and for corporations 10 years). Define resided in such a fashion to prevent corporate shenanigans unless they are willing to stay and employ the locals/pay taxes in the district to influence the election.


Geotpf's Law:

If your solution for a problem requires a constitutional amendment, you don't actaully have a solution to said problem.


#1, #2, and #6 on your list, at a minimum, are blatantly unconstituional. Passing new constitutional amendments on anything even mildly contraversal is a practical impossibility in the modern political era.
 
2013-01-14 01:58:31 PM
I'm pretty sure all six would require amendments in some fashion. They are, however, what would need to happen for any possibility of other reforms to actually be put into place.

Which is to say: not likely and things are only going to get worse.
 
2013-01-14 02:15:12 PM

JollyMagistrate: I'm pretty sure all six would require amendments in some fashion. They are, however, what would need to happen for any possibility of other reforms to actually be put into place.

Which is to say: not likely and things are only going to get worse.


(4) requires action at the state level only, unless you actually want the computer program used in each state to be the same. The problem is the party in control of one state does not want to yield the power they have over drawing districts, but they might be willing if the opposite party in a similarly-sized state was doing so at the same time.

(3) and (5) could in theory be passed, but only at the Federal level. (3) would never be passed because no one votes to lower their own pay. (5) might be passed if Congress were to behave as a labor union and say "more jobs for politicians is a good thing," but they are more likely to say "more members means my vote doesn't matter as much" and oppose this. Plus it's been 435 for as long as anyone can remember and loyalty to tradition in this country has never been stronger.
 
2013-01-14 02:20:01 PM

Citrate1007: Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: Liberals Moderates thinking people like me use the word "Teatard" for a reason. Just saying.


ftfboy
 
2013-01-14 02:35:10 PM
1) Congress is not constitutionally required to pass a budget. Only to authorize spending. And if they don't authorize spending, they don't get paid (duh.)

There's a HUGE difference between passing continuing resolutions and individual budget bills and actually passing a BUDGET RESOLUTION.

When Congress adopted the current budget law in 1974, the intent was that each year Congress would agree on a big-picture budget framework before it considered new revenue or spending bills.In theory, the budget resolution ought to be adopted by Congress in April, six months before the start of the fiscal year.

The budget resolution is the plan for spending and revenues for the coming year. It also sets spending and revenue goals for the next five years. Congress has not passed a budget resolution since 2009.

This is like trying to balance your checkbook by keeping all the numbers in your head. It essentially reduces congressional accountability and impedes proper budget planning, something we are in desperate need of.

It has also been proposed by some lawmakers that financial markets have taken notice and the inability of the Congress to pass a budget resolution was a factor in last year's downgrading of U.S. Treasury bonds.

One of the biggest reasons for not passing the budget resolution, especially in election years, is that votes on it can expose rank and file lawmakers to political risk. They don't have to go on the record up front on things like Medicare etc.

There is no defensible reason not to pass an annual budget resolution. None.

2) Members of Congress have jobs besides being on the floor debating and voting. They are also supposed to be in their districts talking to their constituents (though most do not). Having them spend more than half of their time in Washington should be enough already.

If Congress used their time as you have laid out, not a single person would be advocating for change. It's telling that the people advocating for this change are members of the Congress who would themselves be affected.

Even including fund-raising and campaigning the average member of congress is estimated to work 200 days a year. In a given session the average congress passes around 350 bills in a two year session. This is not unreasonable since many of them are inconsequential, and some days many bills will be passed. During the last Congress a total of 132 bills were passed, 20% of which were for naming of individual post offices. So we're looking at a situation where this past congress worked nearly the exact same number of days over the last 2 years and accomplished 30% less (less even if you only count meaningful bills).

In 2010 Congress' schedule looked like this:

Full working days - 137
Travel days - 25
Half days - 29
RECESS DAYS - 90

"Travel Days" are days theoretically set aside for Congress to complete weekend travel to/from their districts though that is not enforced. No voting is allowed on "Travel Days". "Half Days" do not allow voting until 6:30pm.

In 2012 there were 602 votes. Bob Filner (D CA) was present for only 249 of them. That means he missed 60% of the votes. During that same time he was a candidate for Mayor. While Congress was in session he spent time in San Diego dancing in Zumba classes, riding on bike tours through the city, and had photo ops with longshoremen at the ports. The good news is that his candidacy was successful and he is now Mayor of San Diego.

In 2006 Congress was only in session for 103 days.

There are ~260 "work days" in a year excluding things like holidays and weekends.

In February 2007 Congress was in session for 9 days. Of those 9 days 3 sessions were less than 20 minutes and 1 was less than 40 minutes. In that same year the House took a day off during their first week in session because of the championship college football game between Oklahoma State and Florida State. I'm not kidding, that was the actual reason.

Over a 5 year period House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller took 150 days worth of trips (with his wife) to conferences in Naples, Fla., San Juan, Vancouver, Prague, Grand Cayman, Florence, Helsinki, Punta Mita, Mexico (three times) Scottsdale, China, Barcelona (two times), Montega Bay, Jamaica, Rome, Moscow, Cancun, Venice, Dublin, Istanbul (two times), Honolulu, Krakow, and Llubjana funded to the tune of approx. $200,000.00 by the Aspen Institute, a private organization. Only three of these were related to education. He also took 75 days of government funded trips to Mexico, Cambodia (two times), Vietnam (two times), South Africa, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Laos, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel (two times), Jordan, Iraq, Italy (two times), Sudan (two times), Ghana, Liberia, and Cape Verde. These trips cost taxpayers approx. $65,000.00. He had NO responsibilities (committees etc.) relating to foreign affairs.

That's 225 days or 45 days per year on average that he was traveling.

Congressmen make a minimum of $165,000.00/year.

There is absolutely ZERO evidence to support the idea that their four day work week is inadequate, and mountains of evidence that they are accomplishing less and less each year.

I would be happy to adjust my position on this issue if they were actually accomplishing what they are supposed to do. I wouldn't have a problem if they authored, debated, and passed the necessary bills all in January and then took the rest of the year off. The fact of the matter is that they're simply not doing their job.

There is currently NO defensible reason for Congress not to have a 5-day work week.
 
2013-01-14 02:43:56 PM

push3r: 1) Congress is not constitutionally required to pass a budget. Only to authorize spending. And if they don't authorize spending, they don't get paid (duh.)

There's a HUGE difference between passing continuing resolutions and individual budget bills and actually passing a BUDGET RESOLUTION.

When Congress adopted the current budget law in 1974, the intent was that each year Congress would agree on a big-picture budget framework before it considered new revenue or spending bills.In theory, the budget resolution ought to be adopted by Congress in April, six months before the start of the fiscal year.

The budget resolution is the plan for spending and revenues for the coming year. It also sets spending and revenue goals for the next five years. Congress has not passed a budget resolution since 2009.

This is like trying to balance your checkbook by keeping all the numbers in your head. It essentially reduces congressional accountability and impedes proper budget planning, something we are in desperate need of.

It has also been proposed by some lawmakers that financial markets have taken notice and the inability of the Congress to pass a budget resolution was a factor in last year's downgrading of U.S. Treasury bonds.

One of the biggest reasons for not passing the budget resolution, especially in election years, is that votes on it can expose rank and file lawmakers to political risk. They don't have to go on the record up front on things like Medicare etc.

There is no defensible reason not to pass an annual budget resolution. None.

2) Members of Congress have jobs besides being on the floor debating and voting. They are also supposed to be in their districts talking to their constituents (though most do not). Having them spend more than half of their time in Washington should be enough already.

If Congress used their time as you have laid out, not a single person would be advocating for change. It's telling that the people advocating for this change are members o ...


1) Yes, our debt was downgraded. Yes, maybe not having a big-picture budget was part of the reason. However, our borrowing costs are very low and our inflation is moderate to low. There is no crisis in reality.

2) You've answered your own question. Big picture budgets only date back to 1974. Our country got along fine for nearly 200 years without them.

3) "Forcing them to meet more" doesn't mean "more gets done" and "more gets done" doesn't mean that those things are improvements to our situation. So long as they approve any emergency/disaster spending and confirm judges and secretaries in a reasonable amount of time, I have no problem. I see no need for them to be busily passing reams of new laws.
 
2013-01-14 02:56:34 PM
1) Yes, our debt was downgraded. Yes, maybe not having a big-picture budget was part of the reason. However, our borrowing costs are very low and our inflation is moderate to low. There is no crisis in reality.

2) You've answered your own question. Big picture budgets only date back to 1974. Our country got along fine for nearly 200 years without them.

3) "Forcing them to meet more" doesn't mean "more gets done" and "more gets done" doesn't mean that those things are improvements to our situation. So long as they approve any emergency/disaster spending and confirm judges and secretaries in a reasonable amount of time, I have no problem. I see no need for them to be busily passing reams of new laws.


Oh, I apologize. I had no idea you were trolling. You completely disarmed me by agreeing with one of my points and I took the rest of your post hook line and sinker. Nice work. You didn't do nearly as well here.

#1 - I give you 2/10. Completely avoiding the subject at hand and focusing your response on a marginally related topic is the definition of showing weakness and unlikely to provoke a response.

#2 - I give you 1/10. Statements that are clearly false, that demonstrate an extreme lack of understanding, or imply inferior intellect while simultaneously failing to address the response in any way gets you nothing. One point for effort.

#3 - 3/10. Restating my own arguments as if they were your point all along is a tried and true trolling tactic, though your use is somewhat sub-par. Also fails to address the rebuttal in any meaningful way. I think I'm being generous with my score here.
 
2013-01-14 03:00:17 PM

push3r: From everything I can find or read, this is the first political movement that I could theoretically get behind. I'm an independent, though socially conservative voter. I am well informed on the issues and have voted for Bush and Obama at the presidential level (though I elected to abstain this year as I couldn't get behind any of the presidential candidates).


Yes, you're a very rare breed of independent political creature indeed: A REPUBLICAN. Get off your high horse. Your voting for Bush demonstrates just how accurate your judgment skills are.
 
2013-01-14 03:02:20 PM

EyeballKid: push3r: From everything I can find or read, this is the first political movement that I could theoretically get behind. I'm an independent, though socially conservative voter. I am well informed on the issues and have voted for Bush and Obama at the presidential level (though I elected to abstain this year as I couldn't get behind any of the presidential candidates).

Yes, you're a very rare breed of independent political creature indeed: A REPUBLICAN. Get off your high horse. Your voting for Bush demonstrates just how accurate your judgment skills are.


Bush got a lot of independent voters then. No reason for name calling. Obama pulled a lot of independents this time. If he had voted for Obama twice and Bush once, would you call him a Democrat?
 
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