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Congressional Insiders Poll

December 8, 2011

What grade (A+ through F) would you give the first year of the 112th Congress?

Democrats (29 votes)

Average grade: F

A: 0%
B: 0%
C: 0%
D: 24%
F: 66%
Other: 10%


D (House); C- (Senate). “The administration and Congress are collectively failing the American people.”

D+. “Congress inexplicably created no less than two wholly manufactur-ed crises that almost derailed the fragile economic recovery, which were purely motivated by Republican disdain for President Obama.”

D-. “I guess you get something for just showing up, no matter how seldom.”

D-. “And that’s a generous D-.”

F. “Got nothing done this year and instilled no confidence that it can next year.”

F. “We have lurched from artificially created crisis to crisis, with only red-meat Republican bills on the floor in between.”

F. “Instead of focusing on creating jobs, the tea party took over Congress with a single goal of making President Obama a one-term president. They have failed spectacularly in addressing the No. 1 issue for my constituents.”

F. “We haven’t passed any job-creating legislation. Because the speaker is a prisoner to the tea party, bipartisanship is the worst it’s ever been. Approval numbers for Congress are now at 9 percent. How can it be anything more than an F?”

F. “There’s a reason congressional approval ratings are at 9 percent—nearly defaulting on our debt, endlessly threatening government shutdowns, and accomplishing almost nothing.”

F. “Republicans should get an F from the American people: R’s did nothing, almost took the government down, and deliberately ignored every opportunity to work with Dems to improve the economy.”

F. “Well, there were all those jobs bills … oh, wait.”

F. “We shook the economy with a manufactured ‘debt-ceiling crisis’ and threatened government shutdowns, did nothing for jobs, ignored the unemployed, and coddled the top percent. What’s to like here?”

F. “This Congress has been the biggest setback in decades for the idea that, through government, we can help people.”

F-. “Can one go lower than F?”

Inc. “I’d assign a grade of ‘I’ for Incomplete. The first year of the 112th is not over and won’t be over until almost Christmas. A lot can happen between now and Christmas Eve.”


What grade (A+ through F) would you give the first year of the 112th Congress?

Republicans (18 votes)

Average grade: C+

A: 6%
B: 39%
C: 28%
D: 11%
F: 6%
Other: 11%

A. “Senate Democrats need to act on bills that are being presented to them to help American families get back to work.”

A (House); F (Senate). “We [in the House] have done everything we’ve promised, including passing a responsible budget and repealing ‘Obamacare.’ [Majority Leader Harry] Reid has made the Senate more dysfunctional than ever. He is protecting his colleagues from tough votes and has not shown any willingness to work with Republicans.”

C+. “This year was a landmark shift from a Congress that spends to a Congress that saves, but the mechanisms to deal with future cuts and revenues remain broken.”

C. “Frustrated over lack of work by Senate.”

C. “We just couldn’t get things done. Neither side could move. Presidential politics began on Day One and will continue until the election. Very frustrating.”

C. “Tough to win playing defense with only 47 votes in the Senate—even a turnover doesn’t result in a score.”

C. “This Congress has made a down payment on cutting government spending, but clearly more—much more—must be done to help our economy and control our debt.”

D. “The House gets a B+ for all the things it passed. The Senate gets an F for passing virtually nothing. Thanks to Harry Reid and Senate Democrats, Congress overall gets a D.”

D. “House Republicans successfully shifted the debate to spending cuts from spending increases, but Senate/White House blocked most progress.”


Do you think a deal will be reached so that both the payroll-tax break and extended jobless benefits are continued in 2012?

Democrats (29 votes)

Yes: 79%
No: 17%
Other: 3%


“There will be a stopgap to get us through the next election.”

“It’s a bad message at Christmastime to be fighting for millionaires and not the majority of American families.”

“The Republicans will not give Democrats an early Christmas present by being so stupid.”

“Otherwise the GOP is driving a nail in its own coffin.”

“Republicans are seeing their political lives flash before them. This will be necessary but not sufficient to save them.”

“No deal is raising taxes by Republicans and deserting the needy by Democrats.”

“Far from a sure thing, however, given widespread Republican opposition to breaks for the non-rich or for pay-fors that require shared sacrifice.”

“I believe that consensus will continue to grow and that the payroll-tax cut and [unemployment insurance] will be extended, but probably not as proposed by the president in his jobs bill.”

“The only real question is how bad everyone looks before the deal is cut.”


“I think we’ll pass a payroll-tax break for 2012. I am not as confident about extending unemployment-insurance benefits.”


Do you think a deal will be reached so that both the payroll-tax break and extended jobless benefits are continued in 2012?

Republicans (18 votes)

Yes: 100%


“Ultimately, Congress will get a deal done. It won’t come easy, but it will get done.”

“We need to get this done. [Unemployment insurance] needs reform. Incredible that R’s are arguing against a tax cut—what in the world?”

“Better be consistent. How does not extending tax cuts wash for the ‘Big Daddy’ next year?”

“Yes, but not in their current form.”

“They will be extended, but they will be offset fully with spending cuts, [unemployment insurance] reforms, and GOP jobs measures in return.”

“Yes, but they both must be paid for.”

“Yes, but it must be paid for and it cannot include any increase in tax rates. If the Democrats insist on anything that violates those two conditions, no deal can pass the House.”

“Yes—it will be a stinker, though.”


Democratic Congressional Insiders Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Christopher A. Coons, Mark Pryor, Tom Udall; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Tammy Baldwin, Karen Bass, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, James Clyburn, Gerry Connolly, Joseph Crowley, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Marcy Kaptur, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Ed Markey, Jim McGovern, Jim Moran, Gary Peters, Collin Peterson, David Price, Linda Sanchez, Allyson Schwartz, Jose Serrano, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, Peter Welch, and Frederica Wilson.

GOP Congressional Insiders Sens. Johnny Isakson, Richard Lugar, David Vitter; Reps. John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, Jeff Denham, David Dreier, Sean Duffy, Jo Ann Emerson, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Trey Gowdy, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Nan Hayworth, Mike Kelly, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Adam Kinzinger, John Kline, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Tom Price, Dave Reichert, Phil Roe, Paul Ryan, Aaron Schock, Adrian Smith, Steve Stivers, Lee Terry, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, Daniel Webster, and Joe Wilson.

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