Roll Call, July 10, 2006
When Senate Democrats vowed last month to block the Congressional pay raise until lawmakers increase the minimum wage, they were hitting on an issue that has resonated with voters since the adoption of the Constitution.
History shows Americans have rarely been fond of Congressional pay increases and over the past 200 years have shown themselves more than willing to toss out politicians who vote to boost their own salaries.
"It's always been a hot issue," said Deputy House Historian Fred Beuttler, ever since a constitutional vagary left Congress with the difficult job of determining the salaries of its own Members way back in 1789.
Click here to view the article in its entirety.
Granted, it would have been difficult to understand where each of your congressional representatives stood on raising their own pay a couple weeks back because ... ummm ... well ... apparently, so many of them simply didn't want you to bother with such minutia.
Gettin' All Procedural On Us.
In order to have an up or down vote on their salary increases, members would have first had to vote "no" on this Previous Question. And with a defeat of the Previous Question, Utah Congressman Jim Matheson would have then been able to offer an amendment suspending Congress's automatic pay increases - an amendment, btw, that Congressman Matheson has introduced for the past six years.
A quick look at how Brooklynites (by zip) are voting with their wallets in the race to replace Congressman Owens.
Did a little sniffing around ... and uncovered what each of your New York Congressional delegates' homes are worth - as well as the the median value of homes in their districts. Let's just say that some members live a bit phatter than their constituents (hence, the Phat Index, the difference between the two).
Also, for a kick in the ol' transparency ass, I put an asterisks next to each member of Congress who made me work extra hard for their home address. Not that I mind working, but these folks now list themselves at a post office box rather than their home address on FEC filings - thing is, when they first started in Congress that wasn't the case (with the exception of Rep. McHugh who apparently has always been living out of a PO Box). Not nice!
In the latest Harris poll Bush’s job approval drops to 29% positive, though it is fully at 67% positive among Republicans, it is only 19% among independents and 10% among Democrats and there is no gender gap. Only 24% feel the country is going in the right direction. Will this mean the Republicans will lose control of Congress?
Approval of the job Congress is doing is a paltry 18% positive with Republican respondents having a 3-point worse opinion of the job Congress is doing than the Democrats. When ask how Republican and Democratic members were doing in Congress those polled gave Republicans in Congress 20% positive and Democrats in Congress 23% positive.
Always good to know what your Congress Member is up to. So thought I'd shed a quick bit of light on who's been doing what...
Here are New York's top five congressional vote missers from January 2005 to the present (umm ... hmmm ... seems like someone has some explaining to do):
And kudos to New York's top five congressional vote casters...
Update: John Sweeney missed 60 out of 555 recorded votes in 2005, and 62 out of 107 votes in 2006.
In the latest Hotline ranking of the top twenty-five marginal House districts, the net change if the election were held today would have net one Democratic seat switch to the Republican side and six Republican seats would be up for grabs (all other races would result in each party holding its seat). If the Democrats took all six Republican seats there would be a net pickup of only five votes in the House for the Democratic side.
On their list of the top fifty contested races, however, Republican seats are moving up the list, spelling more trouble for the GOP. And in the second twenty-five races, the Democrats might pick up as many as an additional fifteen seats if you, include the independent in Vermont. The fly in the ointment is that except for the first Clinton mid-term election in 1994, when the Democrats lost 54 seats, all the mid-term elections since 1982 have only had single digit moves. This is largely the result of the historic Republican turnout advantages in non-presidential years, and the advantages that modern mapping and computerized reapportionment have given incumbents.
In case you had any lingering doubts, the reality on the ground is this: people have little faith in government. The level of distrust has risen to an all time high; so high, in fact, that work-arounds to government's opaqueness are popping up all over the place. And today, popped congresspedia.
Everything you ever wanted to know about your member of congress: their contributors, lobbyist reports, personal financial disclosures, travel records, government contracts, and more.