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CONGRESS IS UNABLE TO MEET THE CRITICAL NEEDS OF OUR COUNTRY


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The New York TimesJuly 26, 2020, 9:20 AM
 

Congress Was Already Broken. The Coronavirus Could Make it Worse.

The U.S. Capitol Building before a storm in Washington, July 22, 2020. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)
The U.S. Capitol Building before a storm in Washington, July 22, 2020. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)

WASHINGTON — A conservative Republican House member profanely accosts a Democratic congresswoman as she strides up the Capitol steps to do her job during multiple national calamities.

With expanded jobless benefits supporting tens of millions of fearful Americans about to expire and a pandemic raging, Senate Republicans and the Trump White House cannot agree among themselves about how to respond, let alone begin to bargain with Democrats.

In a private party session, archconservative Republicans ambush their top female leader and demand her ouster over political and policy differences.

And that’s just the past few days.

By nearly any measure, Congress is a toxic mess seemingly incapable of rising to the occasion even at a time of existential threats. No one knows that better than those who, until recently, served there.

“Congress has largely become a dysfunctional institution unable to meet the critical needs of our country,” said a new report, “Congress at a Crossroads,” produced by the Association of Former Members of Congress. Scheduled to be issued publicly next week, it is a damning indictment of the steady deterioration of a congressional culture that today rewards power over progress and conflict over consensus.

And it warns that, while recent moves to allow Congress to function safely during the pandemic may be necessary, they could make things worse.

Based on 40 hours of interviews with 30 House members and a senator who left Congress after the 2018 elections after serving a combined 275 years, the report offers some hope, asserting that most lawmakers arrive on Washington yearning to be constructive.

But overall, it paints a grim portrait of an institution that has ceased to work as it should. A course correction may be more critical now than ever before, the report said, as the nation faces “outsize challenges” that place congressional shortcomings in stark relief.

“The pandemic alone is a call to our elected officials for the type of leadership and vision we expect at a moment of crisis,” said the report, which grew out of interviews conducted by Leonard Steinhorn, a professor of communication at American University, and Mark Sobol, an author and expert on organizational development and executive leadership. “But we are also facing another reckoning, one over our nation’s original sin and the racial inequities that have beset our country since its founding.”

The study ticks through familiar themes when it comes to assessing the sorry state of Congress: the lack of any real across-the-aisle relationships, a schedule that limits opportunities for interaction, too much power concentrated in leadership, constant fundraising demands, discouragement of bipartisanship, the negative influence of round-the-clock media, the fact that the most important election for lawmakers is often their primary, and the shutting out of minority-party voices.

It also warns that the shifts toward a more virtual Congress as a result of the pandemic, such as a new system of proxy voting in the House that allows lawmakers to cast their votes without traveling to Washington, could exacerbate the existing problems. If the idea of a remote Congress takes hold, the report suggests, it would be a serious setback to efforts to enhance bipartisan interaction.

“Because of the pandemic, Congress was forced to conduct much of its business virtually, and we certainly understand why,” the report said. “But as much as that may have been a necessity, it should not be interpreted as a virtue.”

The document said Congress needs “more and not less in-person interaction among members of Congress. They need to learn more about each other’s districts, hold civil conversations aimed at finding common ground, build relationships of trust that can lead understanding and solutions.”

In a week when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was verbally assaulted without provocation by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.; and fellow Republicans ganged up on Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., in a hostile confrontation, the call for civility rang especially true.   THE DIRTY WHORE DESERVED IT!

At its core, the report said that the most important thing lawmakers and leaders of both parties could do was to find ways to promote more communication and understanding across the aisle.

It is a long-standing complaint about Congress that with time spent in Washington now deemed a negative, lawmakers just do not interact socially and consequently find it much easier to dismiss the other side. The disconnect has been exacerbated in recent years as the polarization intensified and Republicans and Democrats now have little contact with one another. The authors said that situation must change if there is any chance for Congress to become more functional.

“Those relationships are the secret sauce for getting things done, understanding each other and building bridges across geography and ideology,” said Steinhorn.

One lawmaker who took part in the study, former Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., said he had been struck by the concerted effort by leaders of both parties to keep the sides separated from the start, intentionally discouraging any cross-party bonding.

“I didn’t come into Congress as a novice, and the concept of partisanship was not new to me,” said Capuano, who was first elected in 1998. “But the concept of not even talking to the other side was new to me. All day long there was an intention to split you up. There was not one iota of an attempt to bring us together.”

And with the most serious challenge to a sitting lawmaker coming chiefly from a primary these days, the incentive to find common ground is vastly reduced, inhibiting the search for compromise, which has become a dirty word, politically speaking.

“The political reward too often is to tack hard to the base, not to seek consensus,” said former Rep. Charlie Dent, a centrist Republican from Pennsylvania who saw his ranks shrink considerably during his 14 years in the House. “Until that reward is there, I don’t see things changing. Now, if you are in the middle of the road, it is likely you are going to get hit.”

The report notes that even the most partisan members of Congress typically arrive with good intentions and a desire to be productive for their communities. But they are quickly subsumed into a system where exposure goes to those most willing to spar.

Recognizing the need for more communication, the report offers multiple recommendations, including encouraging lawmakers to travel as part of congressional delegations as well as for field hearings, visits to districts of lawmakers from the other party and bipartisan retreats. It also recommended more social functions and even scheduled weekend sessions of Congress to give lawmakers more time to interact.

“There is going to be no substitute for connecting with people, building relationships and staying connected,” said Sobol. “Forging relationships in action is what we are advocating.”

Given the media’s role in modern politics, the study even raises the prospect of a press operation run jointly by the parties to highlight bipartisanship and promote efforts across the aisle — an idea that would seem highly unlikely to anyone spending significant time on Capitol Hill these days.

The authors and the lawmakers they interviewed acknowledged that they did not have the answers or a magic wand to make the polarization that promotes gridlock and conflict disappear.

“This condition that we find ourselves in has been decades in the making,” Sobol said. “There is no quick fix.”

Yet the authors and the former lawmakers who informed them said the time to make institutional changes is now. Otherwise, they warn, Congress risks continuing the downward spiral that is depleting the trust of the public and the capability to serve the nation at a time when a functioning legislature is vital.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

© 2020 The New York Times Company

 

 

ROUND UP ALL DEMOCRATS AND BOOT THEM OUT!

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4 minutes ago, ScottMon said:

Congress can't fix all our problems.  It's gone farther than a R or D can handle.  

When the smoke clears, it all boils down to money. Gotta be a way to cut corners. Hold on. The mainstream media, predictably, started lamenting on how the price of avocados for American consumers may potentially increase a few cents, and completely ignored the $200 billion American taxpayers pay each year in illegal immigration costs. Not to mention the cost of illegal drugs on our youth, and the cost to education and health care on American taxpayers.

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2 minutes ago, AnotherJim said:

When the smoke clears, it all boils down to money. Gotta be a way to cut corners. Hold on. The mainstream media, predictably, started lamenting on how the price of avocados for American consumers may potentially increase a few cents, and completely ignored the $200 billion American taxpayers pay each year in illegal immigration costs. Not to mention the cost of illegal drugs on our youth, and the cost to education and health care on American taxpayers.

Yeah, I'm not seeing that as so much I see our government wasting money on corporation bailouts.

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I had a meeting with the family; and we all agree we can survived without avocados & artichokes. Oh, and we can also do without drunken illegals injuring & killing American citizens every single day.

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1 minute ago, AnotherJim said:

I had a meeting with the family; and we all agree we can survived without avocados & artichokes. Oh, and we can also do without drunken illegals injuring & killing American citizens every single day.

You're much more likely to be killed by a drunk American.  

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7 minutes ago, ScottMon said:

You're much more likely to be killed by a drunk American.  

Good point; we have enough home grown monsters to sort out; so why would anyone in their right mind wish to allow the importation of more? None of these deaths were caused by an American citizen. You figure it's an acceptable risk? All these humans would be alive, if not for the illegal aliens who took their lives. NOW RATIONALIZE IT; it's what liberals do best. Only a liberal can rationalize insanity.

  1. Victims of Illegal Aliens Memorial - OJJPAC.org

     

     

  2. Victims of Illegal Aliens Memorial page 2

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18 minutes ago, ScottMon said:

Congress can't fix all our problems.  It's gone farther than a R or D can handle.  

So, what is the answer to fixing problems? There is very little illegal immigration now, because of Covid an the lack of jobs. Trump's poor handling of the Covid crisis has ended illegal immigration problems more than any of the lamebrained proposals that he actually accomplished. His incompetence has poisoned our economy.

 

 And why was that? So he could a-golfing go six weeks before he could have actually taken useful measures.

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3 minutes ago, XavierOnassis said:

So, what is the answer to fixing problems? There is very little illegal immigration now, because of Covid an the lack of jobs. Trump's poor handling of the Covid crisis has ended illegal immigration problems more than any of the lamebrained proposals that he actually accomplished. His incompetence has poisoned our economy.

 

 And why was that? So he could a-golfing go six weeks before he could have actually taken useful measures.

 

Voluntary Separation.

 

We split.              Peacefully.             Without a shot being fired.

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24 minutes ago, XavierOnassis said:

So, what is the answer to fixing problems? There is very little illegal immigration now, because of Covid an the lack of jobs. Trump's poor handling of the Covid crisis has ended illegal immigration problems more than any of the lamebrained proposals that he actually accomplished. His incompetence has poisoned our economy.

 

 And why was that? So he could a-golfing go six weeks before he could have actually taken useful measures.

I don't know.  But I do know that Trump isn't thinking the problems through like we need him to.

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1 hour ago, tunafish said:
The New York TimesJuly 26, 2020, 9:20 AM
 

Congress Was Already Broken. The Coronavirus Could Make it Worse.

The U.S. Capitol Building before a storm in Washington, July 22, 2020. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)
The U.S. Capitol Building before a storm in Washington, July 22, 2020. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)

WASHINGTON — A conservative Republican House member profanely accosts a Democratic congresswoman as she strides up the Capitol steps to do her job during multiple national calamities.

With expanded jobless benefits supporting tens of millions of fearful Americans about to expire and a pandemic raging, Senate Republicans and the Trump White House cannot agree among themselves about how to respond, let alone begin to bargain with Democrats.

In a private party session, archconservative Republicans ambush their top female leader and demand her ouster over political and policy differences.

And that’s just the past few days.

By nearly any measure, Congress is a toxic mess seemingly incapable of rising to the occasion even at a time of existential threats. No one knows that better than those who, until recently, served there.

“Congress has largely become a dysfunctional institution unable to meet the critical needs of our country,” said a new report, “Congress at a Crossroads,” produced by the Association of Former Members of Congress. Scheduled to be issued publicly next week, it is a damning indictment of the steady deterioration of a congressional culture that today rewards power over progress and conflict over consensus.

And it warns that, while recent moves to allow Congress to function safely during the pandemic may be necessary, they could make things worse.

Based on 40 hours of interviews with 30 House members and a senator who left Congress after the 2018 elections after serving a combined 275 years, the report offers some hope, asserting that most lawmakers arrive on Washington yearning to be constructive.

But overall, it paints a grim portrait of an institution that has ceased to work as it should. A course correction may be more critical now than ever before, the report said, as the nation faces “outsize challenges” that place congressional shortcomings in stark relief.

“The pandemic alone is a call to our elected officials for the type of leadership and vision we expect at a moment of crisis,” said the report, which grew out of interviews conducted by Leonard Steinhorn, a professor of communication at American University, and Mark Sobol, an author and expert on organizational development and executive leadership. “But we are also facing another reckoning, one over our nation’s original sin and the racial inequities that have beset our country since its founding.”

The study ticks through familiar themes when it comes to assessing the sorry state of Congress: the lack of any real across-the-aisle relationships, a schedule that limits opportunities for interaction, too much power concentrated in leadership, constant fundraising demands, discouragement of bipartisanship, the negative influence of round-the-clock media, the fact that the most important election for lawmakers is often their primary, and the shutting out of minority-party voices.

It also warns that the shifts toward a more virtual Congress as a result of the pandemic, such as a new system of proxy voting in the House that allows lawmakers to cast their votes without traveling to Washington, could exacerbate the existing problems. If the idea of a remote Congress takes hold, the report suggests, it would be a serious setback to efforts to enhance bipartisan interaction.

“Because of the pandemic, Congress was forced to conduct much of its business virtually, and we certainly understand why,” the report said. “But as much as that may have been a necessity, it should not be interpreted as a virtue.”

The document said Congress needs “more and not less in-person interaction among members of Congress. They need to learn more about each other’s districts, hold civil conversations aimed at finding common ground, build relationships of trust that can lead understanding and solutions.”

In a week when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was verbally assaulted without provocation by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.; and fellow Republicans ganged up on Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., in a hostile confrontation, the call for civility rang especially true.   THE DIRTY WHORE DESERVED IT!

At its core, the report said that the most important thing lawmakers and leaders of both parties could do was to find ways to promote more communication and understanding across the aisle.

It is a long-standing complaint about Congress that with time spent in Washington now deemed a negative, lawmakers just do not interact socially and consequently find it much easier to dismiss the other side. The disconnect has been exacerbated in recent years as the polarization intensified and Republicans and Democrats now have little contact with one another. The authors said that situation must change if there is any chance for Congress to become more functional.

“Those relationships are the secret sauce for getting things done, understanding each other and building bridges across geography and ideology,” said Steinhorn.

One lawmaker who took part in the study, former Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., said he had been struck by the concerted effort by leaders of both parties to keep the sides separated from the start, intentionally discouraging any cross-party bonding.

“I didn’t come into Congress as a novice, and the concept of partisanship was not new to me,” said Capuano, who was first elected in 1998. “But the concept of not even talking to the other side was new to me. All day long there was an intention to split you up. There was not one iota of an attempt to bring us together.”

And with the most serious challenge to a sitting lawmaker coming chiefly from a primary these days, the incentive to find common ground is vastly reduced, inhibiting the search for compromise, which has become a dirty word, politically speaking.

“The political reward too often is to tack hard to the base, not to seek consensus,” said former Rep. Charlie Dent, a centrist Republican from Pennsylvania who saw his ranks shrink considerably during his 14 years in the House. “Until that reward is there, I don’t see things changing. Now, if you are in the middle of the road, it is likely you are going to get hit.”

The report notes that even the most partisan members of Congress typically arrive with good intentions and a desire to be productive for their communities. But they are quickly subsumed into a system where exposure goes to those most willing to spar.

Recognizing the need for more communication, the report offers multiple recommendations, including encouraging lawmakers to travel as part of congressional delegations as well as for field hearings, visits to districts of lawmakers from the other party and bipartisan retreats. It also recommended more social functions and even scheduled weekend sessions of Congress to give lawmakers more time to interact.

“There is going to be no substitute for connecting with people, building relationships and staying connected,” said Sobol. “Forging relationships in action is what we are advocating.”

Given the media’s role in modern politics, the study even raises the prospect of a press operation run jointly by the parties to highlight bipartisanship and promote efforts across the aisle — an idea that would seem highly unlikely to anyone spending significant time on Capitol Hill these days.

The authors and the lawmakers they interviewed acknowledged that they did not have the answers or a magic wand to make the polarization that promotes gridlock and conflict disappear.

“This condition that we find ourselves in has been decades in the making,” Sobol said. “There is no quick fix.”

Yet the authors and the former lawmakers who informed them said the time to make institutional changes is now. Otherwise, they warn, Congress risks continuing the downward spiral that is depleting the trust of the public and the capability to serve the nation at a time when a functioning legislature is vital.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

© 2020 The New York Times Company

 

 

ROUND UP ALL DEMOCRATS AND BOOT THEM OUT!

 

Lock up the brain screwed anti self government socialist and make sure they get time for there gook glands to get calmed down.

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7 hours ago, AnotherJim said:

When the smoke clears, it all boils down to money. Gotta be a way to cut corners. Hold on. The mainstream media, predictably, started lamenting on how the price of avocados for American consumers may potentially increase a few cents, and completely ignored the $200 billion American taxpayers pay each year in illegal immigration costs. Not to mention the cost of illegal drugs on our youth, and the cost to education and health care on American taxpayers.

Avocados where I buy them are CHEAPER now, because they are in season. And immigration is lower than ever. The problem is that the Democrats want to pay $600 a week to all workers, and the Republicans want to penalize the more poorly paid workers (and reward some of the better paid ones) by paying everyone 70% of what they formerly earned. Of course, the problem there is that many workers were not paid the same every week. What we need to do is vote McCobbell OUT and electe a 60%+ majority to the Senate, as the Senate is dysfunctional.

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2 hours ago, XavierOnassis said:

Avocados where I buy them are CHEAPER now, because they are in season. And immigration is lower than ever. The problem is that the Democrats want to pay $600 a week to all workers, and the Republicans want to penalize the more poorly paid workers (and reward some of the better paid ones) by paying everyone 70% of what they formerly earned. Of course, the problem there is that many workers were not paid the same every week. What we need to do is vote McCobbell OUT and electe a 60%+ majority to the Senate, as the Senate is dysfunctional.

AGAIN, I REST MY CASE. DO NOT REPLY TO ANY OF THE THREADS I START. YOU CONTRIBUTE ZERO. YOU ARE A COMMUNIST.

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12 hours ago, ScottMon said:

Yeah, I'm not seeing that as so much I see our government wasting money on corporation bailouts.

Yep.  The neo cons will not own up to the billions in corporate bailouts. These neo cons have learned how to give sweet deals to corporations, knowing they will receive great rewards after they leave office.  

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5 minutes ago, pwkbirdie56 said:

I agree.  Smart investments in roads, bridges, railways, and solar and wind energy. 

Roads and bridges......so your niggers can block traffic on them, wow, you're an idiot.

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