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Congressional Insiders Poll

June 21, 2012

How much harder is it for Congress to legislate effectively in an election year?

DEMOCRATS (26 votes)

Way, way harder: 46%
A little harder: 35%
About the same: 15%
Easier: 0%
Other (volunteered): 4%

Way, way harder


“It’s usually only a little harder, but this year, too many Republicans seem proud of doing nothing.”

“Republican leaders have evidently decided their best chance to beat President Obama is to refuse to pass jobs legislation to put America back to work.”

“The 112th Congress will be known as a ‘Do-Nothing’ Congress devoted to defeating the president by hurting our national economy.”

“Not surprisingly, since January 2009, Republicans have been doing everything they can to undermine the president and obstruct any meaningful work from being accomplished for the American people.”

“When you have a Republican Party saying that their main goal is the failure of the president, it becomes way harder to agree on anything.”

“Republicans are willing to harm our country if they think it will help them win elections this fall. So even historically bipartisan bills, like the transportation bill, are stuck.”

A little harder

“Bills that were formerly largely bipartisan—transportation, defense authorization, education, many appropriations bills—are now plagued by partisan divisions, and the effects are not limited to the election season.”

“A little harder, but made particularly hard by this crop of Republicans in Congress who only care about winning an election. As a result, compromise is a dirty word to them.”

About the same

“Once Speaker Boehner walked away from a bipartisan agreement with the president on the debt ceiling last August, he gave over control to the radical wing of the Republican Conference—and ended any chance of doing more serious legislation this session. Boehner chose keeping his speakership over getting things done for the American people.”


How much harder is it for Congress to legislate effectively in an election year?

REPUBLICANS (21 votes)

Way, way harder: 76%
A little harder: 14%
About the same: 5%
Easier: 0%
Other (volunteered): 5%

Way, way harder

“Few people care about solving the serious problems our country faces—they are only worried about getting reelected.”

“We’ve had zero leadership from the president; he’s focused on running for reelection.”

“Obama has chosen to run against Congress in contrast to [Bill] Clinton’s decision to work with Congress in ’96. As usual, Clinton made the more politically astute decision.”

“Although the country needs to make up its mind this fall about which direction it wants to go, or they can expect more gridlock next cycle.”

“At the end of the day, we’ll see one huge enchilada package, as the Senate can’t get anything done.”

“Senate Democrats refuse to do anything without the complications of an upcoming election. This year, they just want to run out the clock until the president is elected. The American people continue to suffer. The Senate: where good bills go to die.”

“This is especially true when one party expects to lose control of a chamber of Congress or the White House.”

About the same

“It is always hard for Congress to legislate effectively these days.”


“Effectively is not the real measure here. Doing the right thing is. Congress is more likely to do the right thing closer to an election, especially before the election.”


Does Congress spend too much time away from the Capitol in an election year?

DEMOCRATS (27 votes)

Too much time away: 48%
About right: 26%
Too little time away: 11%
Other (volunteered): 15%

Too much time away

“Important work is being put off until the lame duck because the current Republican majority lacks the leadership to stand up to the tea party’s extreme agenda of ending the Medicare guarantee of earned benefits and giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few.”

“The situation is compounded by the absurdly misaligned House calendar.”

“We should all be talking to constituents more, but [House Majority Leader] Eric Cantor’s schedule severely limits Congress’s ability to address the big issues facing most Americans.”

“You should ask: Does this Congress spend too much time away? Having all of October in recess is unheard of in recent years.”

“Critical unfinished business lies unaddressed. But when we are in session, it is not much better. Serious business is forgone for red-meat partisan proposals.”

About right

“With the Republicans lacking any desire to work on anything that could help the president, there’s not much going on to keep us in D.C.”

“The Republican schedule would be fine if the Republican leadership wanted to produce legislation that would be conferenced and pass.”

Too little time away

“Republicans have adopted the ‘hardly working’ schedule in hopes that their vulnerable members can use the time to campaign for reelection. If the American public has good sense, seeing more of these members will make them less likely to be reelected, instead of more likely.”


“It isn’t the time away; it’s the shallow agenda when in D.C. Are there any post offices left to name?”

“Until we get members who want to talk to each other, nothing important will happen regardless of how much time we spend in D.C.”


Does Congress spend too much time away from the Capitol in an election year?

REPUBLICANS (21 votes)

Too much time away: 14%
About right: 67%
Too little time away: 19%

Too much time away

“We are not getting anything done. The Senate has opposite weeks in session, so it is taking forever to move anything through committee, then to the House floor, then to the Senate.”

About right

“There is no reason to hang around D.C. when everyone knows the big decisions won’t be made until the American people decide who is going to make them.”

“When D’s controlled everything, they worked five days a week, and most of the time was fillers just for show. No wonder the wave washed them out in historic numbers. They never wanted to go home and talk to their constituents.”

“Cantor’s schedule of events has really allowed for me to hear what’s going on in my district. I’ve been able to meet with more constituents, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Too little time away

“The House handles its business efficiently. The same cannot be said for the Senate.”

“We need to spend time with the people we represent.”

“We could spend every day in Washington in 2012 and it wouldn’t change a thing in terms of getting bills across the finish line.”

“Nothing good happens when Congress is in session, regardless of who holds the gavel…. When the [Republicans] hold it, what Congress does is just less bad.”


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, Elliot Engel, 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, Kurt Schrader, 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, Tim Griffin, Doc Hastings, Nan Hayworth, Tim Huelskamp, Mike Kelly, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Adam Kinzinger, John Kline, Doug Lamborn, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Tom Price, Dave Reichert, Reed Ribble, Phil Roe, Paul Ryan, Aaron Schock, David Schweikert, Austin Scott, Adrian Smith, Steve Stivers, Lee Terry, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, Daniel Webster, and Joe Wilson.

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