Jerry Seib on Congress
WSJ DC Bureau chief Jerry Seib on the new members of the Congress.
- Duration 5:34
- Date Jan 3, 2013
WSJ DC Bureau chief Jerry Seib on the new members of the Congress.
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-- with a pistol -- averted the 112 congress closed out its widely criticized turban just a few minutes.
The 113 congress will be sworn in but with impact but what impact will this have in Washington.
-- upcoming debate over the ceiling.
Let's fast jury side he's DC dirt cheap.
For the Wall Street Journal -- -- -- -- what it what is your take on the congress but just laughed.
Well let me see what -- began praying that they -- -- -- -- my Christmas and New Year's vacation how about that let's start there.
And they they set records for unpopularity.
Lowest job approval rating for any congress ever so -- probably not so great.
But look it's it's a tough time to run congress is it's a tough time to run the country the country's evenly divided.
Not just Washington it's polarizing and so is the congress and you know that's that that's the difficult part.
Of the -- the this task that John Boehner is gonna have if he's reelected speaker just now and then Harry Reid has running the senate same as President Obama that the thing about the new congress is it's not gonna look all that much different you know there was a big election it looks to me most is status quo election will be slightly more democratic will be.
Two more democratic senators and -- more democratic house members but those are pretty much changes in the margins.
Yeah you know pretty much same as the old one.
Jerry it was -- -- yet somehow we sort of sent the same slate of jokers -- back to Washington anyway so I don't now I mean we've only ourselves to blame there is one thing that I would give the 112 congress a lot of credit for.
They passed just 237 bills into Vermont.
Compared to 385.
In the proceeding to congress says so maybe half of what was done to congress is the -- -- say less is more.
So -- I give them credit for doing less.
It's and it's interesting point I've never thought that the numbers of bills pass is a very good indicator of anything you know.
That's that's a quantitative not qualitative measure as you suggest and the fact that not much happened suggests that it and it in the part of that people in the house would tell you that's because we did some things.
Senate over the senate in the senate -- a graveyard people in the senate would say we stop bad things from happening.
Beauties -- the -- of the -- when it comes to quantity I think the point is more problems solved and I don't think a lot of problems were solved in the last couple years.
But again I think that's because the country's divided on how to deal with things like tax rates in entitlement spending and those -- the two big ones.
I don't think there's gonna be much more of a clear path to solving those in the new congress.
No -- -- -- on the serious know when you look at the stats 95% of congressional members who made it to the ballot ended up retaining their seats.
Which I think this kind of amazing when you put that up against how unpopular they weren't -- wildly unpopular Gallup saying and we we put this number -- but it bears repeating.
That -- popularity peaked at 24%.
In 2011 but he -- as low as 12%.
Last -- how do you reconcile the fact that there.
No one approves of the job they're doing yet you we both for the same people over -- our target is -- -- like our own representative but we think as a body they're no good.
It's pretty much that not give you another statistic that helps prove that point a 145 members of this new congress won their of this in the house of this new congress won their districts.
With 70% of the vote or more so they think they're doing what their districts have told them to do.
That's because the country is very polarized is that for you a lot more really red districts for Republicans and a lot more really blue districts for Democrats they're sending their people back with instructions to stick to your guns not compromise and that's what's what you get.
And it's because the country is divided not just because congress is divided so you said at the outset we have only ourselves to blame -- you know that's pretty much -- Yeah yeah and you talk about it you know people not wanting to represented it to compromise right now we are watching -- the other side of the screen John Boehner trying and hold on to his speakership one of the main reasons why that is.
Perhaps in jeopardy although you know it's up for debate how much in jeopardy -- as.
Is because he didn't look like he was trying to compromising he did go meet with the president one -- one that be a lot of people angry so that that sort of proves your point.
Do you think by the way that he's going to survive this spoke that's going on right now.
I suspect he well I would be surprised if he didn't but you know you they have lots of things of surprise me in the last year with this congress but.
I don't think there's a clear alternative to John Boehner.
But also don't think it's necessarily a job that anybody else really wants to say it's not and it's not on the it's yeah it's not unbearable -- you're right.
Is a terrible job.
It's not as if somebody Eric Cantor somebody else could wave a magic wand and make make everybody in the Republican caucus line up.
And Democrats are not project the cooperative it's a difficult job then and again I don't think there's a logical alternative Eric Cantor the number two Republican in the house who would be the would be the next best guess.
But he's not he's not campaigning for the job as far as anybody can tell and I think there's -- respect for -- speaker Boehner even when there's some unhappiness with the.
We would note that it's in closing just cast a vote for herself.
That's modest yet it's minus but I guess politicians always say you don't vote for yourself -- no -- -- either right but I guess that's right I guess that's Geneva thought it out there about themselves -- side you know always a pleasure thank you for coming on.
Thanks a -- In doing that description of John Boehner -- -- -- wants the job.
Do you want that job that was a great he had to be at his -- He's the salty language since Harry Reid earlier this week because you know what he probably felt little I have to lives and they point yes -- -- swearing in where you can imagine how exhausted and frustrated they outwardly.
We're all angry with them very angry with each -- -- that's -- it's kind of nice to hear that there all impassioned and fired up and actually -- you know.
-- and human aren't -- consumer confidence.