November 22, 2013
Lee H. Hamilton
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The most important function Congress serves is to debate and pass the federal budget.
Before the ins and outs of the 2016 presidential contest become a preoccupation for many of us, it seems a good time to step back and look at the office of the presidency for which so many candidates are vying.
The presidential election is 16 months away, but already we’re smack in the middle of the usual media scrum of campaign coverage, prognostication, and strategizing by many of us who have nothing much to do with the real campaigns. I’ve been following the rhetoric of both parties, and there are a few points that stand out enough to tell us something about what we have to look forward to.
After Congress came within a hair’s breadth from shutting down the Department of Homeland Security a few weeks ago, members of the leadership tried to reassure the American people.
The question usually comes toward the end of a public meeting. Some knotty problem is being discussed, and someone in the audience will raise his or her hand and ask, “Okay, so what can I do about it?”
With the 114th Congress just underway, the political world is focused intently on the road ahead.
We are one glum country.
Given all the words and images devoted to the recent midterm elections, you’d think the results had told us something vital about the future of the country.
As election season approaches, I’ve been pondering a crucial issue about the role of government in our society. It’s that our government often fails - and that we need to address this.
It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its approval rating.
These days, the scandal involving long wait times at VA hospitals can feel like some made-in-Washington D.C. spectacle generated by politicians looking for headlines.
It’s depressing to read poll after poll highlighting Americans’ utter disdain for Congress.
These are hard times for Congress.
Let’s start with the obvious: a democracy needs intelligence agencies.