This chart shows the share of U.S. respondents rating the honesty/ethical standards of the following professions as high/low.
Every year it happens with textbook repetition: Washington politicians procrastinate in releasing a colossal expense prospectus for the following year which unfailingly runs thousands of pages, requests billions of dollars, and is granted mere hours of scrutiny before being thrust to a congressional vote. The process is riddled with partisan intimidations and shrewd slandering. Democratic politicians trot out folksy pleas about supporting struggling Americans, to which, naturally, passing the bill is postured to achieve. Most Republicans cave to its smothering inevitability; a minority bitterly protest. The omnibus bill earns its name from its practice of absorbing a collection of smaller bills into one vote. You might be tempted to call this government efficiency, but think again. In reality, it’s the gateway of legislative sloppiness and profligacy. And you might be tempted to believe Washington’s Christmas tradition is paternal benevolence for the common man but this too is a smokescreen. If our political overlords actually cared for our future in the manner of responsible stewards they would not bankrupt the nation. They would not smuggle dozens of silly congressional pet projects into our legislative initiatives. They would not make a mockery of the political process by demanding decisions on bills scarcely proffered hours of review. They would not egregiously spend money we did not have. They would not thoughtlessly shovel funds to any hungry bureaucratic mouth in the country. They would not insult American taxpayers by destroying our currency, snowballing our debt, and wrapping it all in a veneer of charity and Progress. Grim and apocalyptic though this indictment may be, it is nevertheless the bitter truth.
At the conclusion of the longest and most contentious Speaker election in House history, the House elected Representative Nathaniel Banks of Massachusetts as its presiding officer for the 34th Congress (1855–1857). Sectional conflict over slavery and a rising anti-immigrant mood in the nation contributed to a poisoned and deteriorating political climate. As a sign of the factionalism then existing in the House, more than 21 individuals initially vied for the Speaker’s post when the Members first gathered in December, 1855. After two months and 133 ballots, the House finally chose Representative Banks by a vote of 103 to 100 over Representative William Aiken of South Carolina. Banks, a member of both the nativist American (or “Know-Nothing”) Party and the Free Soil Party, served a term as Speaker before Democrats won control of the chamber in the 35th Congress (1857–1859). Banks retired from the House to serve as governor of Massachusetts.
Tuesday's swearing in and reorganization of the new Pennsylvania General Assembly was unlike any other in recent memory. When all was said and done, nearly 60 new lawmakers had taken office and moderate Democrat State Rep. Mark Rozzi, on no one's radar for Speaker, had been elected in bipartisan fashion. He then promptly left the party and declared himself an independent. All before 5 p.m.No lawsuits, no malingering procedurals. Cautiously creeping cooperation may yet pierce the prevailing pall of partisanship immemorially shrouding the Capitol. Systemically broken but symbolically rebooted, Harrisburg now has the veneer of moving on from the pandemic's age of vitriol and vicious gamesmanship.