Why Americans hate Congress

Taegan Goddard
The Week
Members of Congress leave the Capital after the House went on recess for Thanksgiving.

With piles of unfinished business, lawmakers head out for a 10-day vacation

Congress justified its absurdly low approval rating this week as Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary.

Hagel, who is perfectly qualified for the post, made the unforgivable mistake of disagreeing with his former colleagues while he was still in the Senate.

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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) candidly told Fox News that Hagel had committed the sin of saying President Bush was "the worst president since Herbert Hoover" and that the escalation in Iraq "was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War."

But Hagel's biggest mistake was that he was very "anti his own party, and people don't forget that."

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Democrats then postured for political purposes, and according to the New York Times, "decided to press ahead and require Republicans to record a vote against Mr. Hagel, allowing Democrats to accuse them of a new level of obstructionism."

To end the pitiful week, lawmakers then left for a 10-day recess.

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As Ron Fournier points out, "In addition to an empty seat at the Pentagon, the unfinished business in Washington is staggering: Billions of dollars of haphazard cuts due to automatically take effect, immigration reform, gun control, climate change, and millions of Americans left behind in a wrenching economic transition. If you took 10 days off with this much work undone, you'd be fired."

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